“The Talk”

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I just had “The Talk” with my kids.

It started like this:

“Boys, when I need to hire someone do you know what one of the first things is I do?”

Nope, they had no idea.

“I google them,” I said. “I see what they post on Facebook, Twitter, blogs. If they have posted anything that is calling someone else down, is sexually inappropriate, or if they’ve made blatantly disrespectful comments on other people’s postings, I would tend not to hire that person.”

Social media is a relatively new invention. Young kids now are posting things on the internet that will follow them into their adult life —>for the first time in history, creating a permanent personal digital identity. This is the first generation creating that type of history, and without being aware, kids can be damaging their future unintentionally.

So far, my boys only foray onto social media is Instagram. It is a starting point, and I am allowing them to learn as they go. So tonight, I asked my son to come sit with me and show me what he has posted so far (yes, I look at it regularly, but I wanted to encourage discussion.)

Among the mostly silly pictures, there were a few I would consider inappropriate (mostly for language). I asked him about them and he said, “Mom, I like to post things that make people laugh.”

Yup, that’s good, I said. So I asked him what kind of job he wanted to do when he grew up, and he said a musician. So, I told him to picture the future scenario of a man who had to choose between him and another musician to come entertain his guests. If the man googled Noah Oleksyn, what would he see? It would be terrible to not get that job, or the next one because of some dumb stuff you posted when you were a kid right? I repeated a similar conversation with my other son, substituting “Fifa Soccer player” for musician. What I heard from both of them is that they hadn’t thought of that at all.

I think as parents we need to do three things for our kids:

  • Be aware of what our children are doing on the internet
  • Be on sites with them and teach as they go.
  • Be examples with our own digital identity.

I love this post shared by Royan Lee. Great questions for all of us to keep in mind.

Kids using social media and posting content on the internet without any sort of direction is like dropping them off at a grocery store and saying, “Choose some food.”

Without some education on healthy eating and good choices, mine would definitely come out with a bag of chips and a case of pop.

We teach our children how to talk in a respectful manner, how to keep healthy, be kind, have manners and a myriad of other things throughout the time they are entrusted to our care. Today, becoming literate digitally is just as important as learning to read and write. We need to be alongside our children in this new area that encompasses so many aspects of their life. Social media and interaction on the internet is not going anywhere, and as with talking about sex or drugs, our conversations need to be continuous as they grow up in the digital world.

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8 comments on ““The Talk”

  1. Irene says:

    There are many high profile persons who wish that they had read this blog.
    Irene

    • coleksyn says:

      I’m sure that’s true. Adults need to follow the same guidelines on social media or there certainly can be steep consequences. Thanks for the comment Irene!

  2. I chuckled out loud when I read this because you would think that we had talked about this at hockey or something! I just joined Instagram last night so that I could monitor and discuss anything that Kobe is putting on there. He is so very excited to be “connected” and to “get followers”. Oh…My…Goodness… I was not expecting this so early. We will be having the same discussion that you just had, as well as clear expectations as to what we feel is appropriate and what the consequences will be if there is inappropriate material posted. Have you talked about that with your kids? What will you do if they post something REALLY offensive? I’d love to know what others are doing so that I am prepared. Thanks for the post Carlene!

    • coleksyn says:

      That’s great about Kobe! We have had discussions about what is appropriate and what isn’t. They can present their side of it if it comes down to a disagreement, but so far it’s going well. The few things Noah posted that I didn’t agree with he had to remove. I stressed that he is just learning about posting on-line and needs to have guidance and he agreed. I guess if it came down to disregarding the rules I would take the privilege away and we would “try again” at a later date when they were “ready” to be more responsible. I don’t foresee that with the discussions we have had so far, but you never know!

  3. Tammie Sarauer says:

    Love this Carlene, I will use this!!! Thank you!!!

  4. Ed Brazee says:

    A great post, “The Talk.” We need to have other parents do exactly the kind of educating/monitoring/nurturing you describe. Thanks for such an excellent model!

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