Once your child begins their online journey, it’s on you, the parent/caregiver, to teach them about online empathy. Put simply, it’s letting them know that they are now part of a much wider community with the ability to chat and interact with people from all over the world on lots of different topics. It’s also vital that they are aware that, not only will they be consuming online content, but by sharing any pictures, posts or videos, they will be creating content as well. As a result, they now have responsibilities as digital citizens to act appropriately with those they meet online.
Here are the best ways your child can show empathy to others online:
- Always be kind to others and positive in their responses. Ask them how they’d feel if someone responded to them in a nasty way.
- Use respectful language and be mindful of terms or sayings that might be hurtful or triggering.
- Don’t call people names or make fun of them.
- Take a deep breath and think about their response to someone before pressing ‘send’.
- Accept that not everyone will agree with their point of view.
- Know that words can be taken out of context and what someone says online isn’t always in line with how they feel. If they’re unsure, they should check in with the person before blocking or muting them, if it is safe to do so.
- Get permission from people before posting pictures or information about them.
- Realise that being anonymous doesn’t give you licence to say or do whatever they want.
- Understand that there are consequences to their online behaviour