While interacting with others in the digital age can be informative and entertaining, it’s important that children develop good habits while they’re online. Social media platforms, mobile applications, websites, and other devices change quickly, but these principles can help you build and maintain healthy habits in the digital world with your Little Leaguer:
Cultivating healthy habits should begin as soon as the child begins using smart devices, apps, social media, and the internet. Find opportunities to educate children on the value and potential risks of online life. Communicating with your Little Leaguer about online habits should be age-appropriate, and will likely change as your child matures.
Tell Them Your Expectations
Explain clearly what you expect from your Little Leaguer as they interact with others online. What types of behaviors are appropriate? Which platforms are acceptable to use? How should they balance online habits with “disconnected” habits, like exercise or reading?
Model Good Behavior Yourself
You can be a powerful example for good citizenship online by modeling these choices in your own life. Be sure to avoid unnecessary confrontations, limit your sharing appropriately, and protect private data such as personal identification or financial information.
Be sure to remind your Little Leaguer of their responsibilities often as they learn to interact with others online. Reward them for a job well done and offer guidance in areas of concern.
Educate Them On Bullying
An unfortunate reality of being online is the possibility of bullying others, or being bullied by someone else. As a caregiver, make sure your Little Leaguer treats others with respect online and avoids behaviors that can be classified as bullying. On the other side, ensure that your child is prepared to handle bullying from others effectively in an appropriate manner.