Digital Parenting: Helping Teens Make Good Decisions Online

​​​​​​​​If you're the parent of a teenager, you know how important it is to talk about their behavior -​ both on and off of social media. Below are some conversation starters to open the communication channels in your family.

Words Matter

Words can be uplifting or damaging. Words can tear down or build up.  Words can bring fear or build unity. In Rockwood, we teach students to be responsible with their words and to respect the rights of others. It is important for all children to understand there are consequences in our schools for using language that may threaten or be concerning to other students. View the student handbook that includes policies, regulations, procedures and consequences for our student code of conduct.

See Something? Say Something!

When someone spreads a rumor, especially a rumor about the safety of a school or student, it is important for teens to share this information with a trusted adult. Do not repost rumors on your own social media platforms. Reposting continues to share inaccurate information that could alarm students, staff and families. It is dangerous conduct, and there are discipline consequences for reposting unverified content on social media accounts.

Be Aware of the Overshare

Talk frequently about digital permanence. It's a fact that there is no privacy online, and whatever you post – images, selfies and content – may be freely shared on the world wide web. Choose carefully and watch how much time you spend on social media. In fact, a recent study showed a direct link to the amount of time teens spend on social media and their happiness in life. Less is more.

Develop Family Sharing Guidelines

Pause. Think twice before you post and send it into cyberspace. Develop some family guidelines, and press "delete" if any are violated.

  • Are you disclosing personal information?
  • Are you posting unverified content and rumors?
  • Does the post include an embarrassing photo?
  • Are you posting a photo of someone without his or her permission?
  • How would your friend/family/teacher/classmate react to this post?
  • How would you feel if this post were made about you?

Discuss legal consequences – for both parents and children

Online cruelty comes in many different shapes and forms. There is a difference between cyberbullying (behavior that is online, intentional and harassing) and digital drama (mean behavior that falls short of harassing). Talk about both! Missouri has laws that protect citizens from cyberbullying. It's important to contact your local police officers if you have any questions or concerns about your safety online.

The Art of Commenting

Commenting online is the opportunity for you to impress readers and showcase who you are. When you are quick to like images and comments, it's equal to endorsing them. Be careful what you're putting your name to. Remember your digital footprint follows you – from home to neighborhood to school to college to career.

Thank you to Parent Toolkit​, a one-stop resource produced by NBC News Education Nation and supported by Pearson, for their assistance in bringing our Rockwood parents this information. Healthy, successful children can excel in many areas – in the classroom, on the court, and in their relationships with peers and adults. ​​