Monday, August 4, 2014

Your Kid's Future Depends On Their Online Behavior Now

Photo by Paul Hocksenar
Used Under a Creative Commons License
Whether you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, pastor, educator, or any other adult who has a vested interest in or cares about a child, teen, or young adult, I hope your care extends to what the young people in your life are doing online.

Do you understand how much of their future could be depending on the things they are posting right now on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Vine, or pick-whatever-social-media-tool is popular today? Do they understand it?

Based on what I see kids in my own community posting on Twitter, I think there's a huge lack of understanding out there.

I've read stories and talked about them over and over and over, but I don't think my retelling of such tales has any impact. At least, not as much as the original tales themselves should have.

So, I started collecting the stories, including direct interviews of and original Tweets posted by those who may hold the future opportunities of kids just like the ones you care for in their hands. You'll see many examples relating to athletes, but there are non-athlete examples as well.

Maybe seeing these stories will convince you as a caring adult to not bury your head in the sand and ignore the online behavior of the kids your care about. Or maybe showing these original examples to the kids you care about will help you educate them and get their attention. I don't know. But having this resource can't hurt.

I am using an online tool called Storify to curate these stories, and I will continue adding to the list. So feel free to bookmark or favorite or pin this post and revisit it on occasion.

And please, do more than just save it to your list of resources. Use the information here to educate yourself and others that the online actions of immature young people can slam shut doors of future opportunity for them. Use the information to convince yourself that you aren't being nosy or intrusive or overbearing when you take an interest in what the kids in your life are doing online and offer them advice and guidance. If you're an educator, come up with ways to integrate this topic into your classroom, even if it's just an occasional informal discussion. If you're a parent, use it as a reason to set clear expectations for online behavior early on with your tweens.

Here's hoping for a bright future for all of the kids we love and care for...

 All original work in this post by Sandy Kendell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please see specifics on my re-use policy in the right-hand column of my blog before re-posting/re-using any of my blog content.