Parents should be able to teach and guide their children how to protect themselves from online attackers. The good thing is, many parents are doing a good job in this. Children are able to keep themselves safe from predators as well as perverts. They are going better at keeping personal information secure. They also pay attention who is watching, listening, and talking to them online. However, there is more to existing in a digital world than just staying safe. Of course, avoiding stranger danger is not the only thing children should learn. They spend most of their time online and their socializing, entertainment, learning, and work will happen in cyberspace. Thus, parents should prepare them for the everyday challenges they will face.
There are online interactions that are not considered predatory or bullying but may still bring drama and negative impact to the mental health and wellbeing of children. They might receive offensive comments, hateful messages, and unhealthy advises. So, parents should not just focus on locking everything down to prevent the bad guys from getting in but also pay close attention to the sorts of interaction their kids are having with those around them. Parents should monitor the what their kids are doing as well as the mood when they get off their devices. Parents should be aware of the sense of self-esteem that their children have. It is not only the devices they should look after but also the activities of their kids.
Parents should also learn how to teach their children respond to negative comments, deal with hateful messages, and discern unhealthy advises. It may not be considered as bullying but it could still mess up with their kids’ heads. For instance, parents can role play actual responses to sarcasm, discuss information from a simple selfie, and talk about nonverbal cues that sometimes cause misinterpretation of meaning. Parents should discuss with their children the implications of liking or sharing something. How these activities come to be a representation of who they are and what they believe in. Parents should be able to talk about the digital footprint of their kids and the effect of putting something online.