I was reading a great article on CNN Living the other day and one quote really struck a chord with me. The quote was from Diana Graber of Cyberwise, and in the article she was talking about teen social anxieties created by social media, FOMO, friend collecting, envy and what parents could do. The quote:
“I always say to parents: It’s not one conversation. It’s a thousand small conversations, and it is really starting young. Take an interest in what your children are doing online and have them show you why they like it.”
I had a conversation with Diana later that day (thanks to the awesome Sue Scheff for making the intro) and I told her that the quote really strikes home with us because all too often when we are talking with parents about thorny digital parenting issues – cyberbullying, sexting, online privacy and safety, age appropriate content – we tell parents that the solution begins and end with talking with your kids about what is safe and appropriate.
That can be a tough sell. Everyone wants quick answers and easy solutions but rarely is a big problem solved, or a crisis averted, with one conversation. And, importantly, if the first conversation about digital citizenship and safety happens after there’s already a problem, you’re already too late.
Go ahead and have a conversation with your kids today about what they’re doing online. Tomorrow, have another one. Rinse. Repeat.
A thousand small conversations.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.