What Your Teens Should Know About Digital Civility and Ownership Of Their Electronics

Teaching children how to responsibly use and maintain their electronics has never been a more important concern. With an every-growing number of school-age children being given their own smartphone and mobile apps designed with a younger demographic in mind, ensuring that your teens know about digital creativity, data ownership and other issues may no longer be a concern that you can afford to overlook.

Responsible Content Sharing

Teens who maintain an active presence on social media sites and services need to understand the potential risks that may arise should they elect to create or share content in an irresponsible manner. Commentary and digital media can cause long-term harm to an individual’s reputation, even content that was posted during their teenage years. Teaching teens and even children about online reputation management is no longer something that parents can afford put off until later.

Fake Accounts

Many teenagers keep secret Instagram accounts they call Finstas. They have the account they follow family with, but they have secondary accounts that are usually private. This sense of anonymity can give people of all ages a sense of invisibility that means no punitive action for their behavior.

Whether you are an adult or teenager, you should not say things online that you would not tell someone in person. The anonymous sense of these accounts can be used to post memes and random content. However, they can also be used with the intention of washing their hands of the conversations and comments that are left.

Teenagers like adults need to understand the difference and impact between swearing and hate speech. Minimizing slurs and inflammatory content is not only crass, but will haunt you into your adulthood when you realize the full weight of the impact your words have on others.

Cyber Bullying

Attitudes regarding bullying and other forms of abusive and harassing social behaviors have been evolving quite rapidly in recent years. Once seen as little more than harmless teenage pranks, bullying someone online is now treated far more seriously. Teaching teens about the potential consequences of cyber bullying or what to do should they find themselves the target of such harassment has quickly become a matter of great weight and importance.

Teens may be tempted to use their phone during the school. Sending snaps of teachers or other students in compromising positions or mocking them is still cyber bullying in school. Not only is this behavior disruptive in class, but by taking the bullying online it doesn’t meant that they can’t still get disciplinary action.

Posting and Sharing Nudes

Underage users who post, send or share nude selfies may be committing a criminal act such as distribution of childhood pornography. Ensuring that your teens understand the laws governing such activities may prove to be an issue of paramount importance.  They may think it’s just sharing a picture, but it can be a lot more complicated. You may want to consider ensuring that content sharing and other types of online behavior are touched upon when discussing sex education with your teen. Dating culture is legally different for adults than it is for teens. This is true even if it’s on snapchat or a dating app.

Maintaining and Caring for Electronic Devices

Even modestly-priced electronics often come with a hefty price tag. Instructing your teen on how to properly care for and maintain their smartphone, tablet or other mobile device will help to ensure that it is able to last as long as possible. Some teenagers don’t know the real price of their electronics. Some throw them around the room and act as if they were a toy. Do your teenagers know what their responsibility is with their devices? Do they have to keep them charged, who pays for what repairs,  what happens if they get lost?

Responsible guidelines can be used for your teen to keep their electronics privileges. They should know how much they will pay if they need to purchase replacement devices. They may need smartphone and ipad repairs help ensure that minor issues and cosmetic damage can be addressed more easily.

Teaching your teens about the potential dangers and issues they may encounter online is an important responsibility. Irresponsible content sharing or social-media posts can have far-reaching consequences. Teens how have been properly educated are far more likely to do what it takes in order to protect themselves, their device and their online reputation.