▶️ How to teach kids about lifelong impacts of their social media decisions


In today’s smartphone world, just about everyone has a camera in their pocket everywhere they go. Someone is always taking pictures or videos and posting them for the world to see. 

For people who may get caught on camera in a compromising situation — whether they post it to social media themselves or someone does it for them — that photo or video may lead to lifelong consequences. And that’s just as true for teens who may make a spur-of-the-moment decision that affects them for the rest of their lives.

Rachel Visser is Prevention Education Manager at the KIDS Center, a child abuse intervention center in Bend. She as some suggestions for parents to educate their kids.

“Let them know the actual consequences. Jobs are on the line. Careers are on the line. Someone’s livelihood is on the line,” said Visser.

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Because their brains are still forming, Visser says young people live in the moment and act impulsively without considering long-term consequences.

“They can ask themselves: Is this kind? Is this true? Is this necessary?,” Visser said.

“If they can say yes to those three things, then let’s go ahead and post it and it’s probably going to be fine. But having them think about consequences requires that self reflection and that internal thought process and stopping and thinking needs to be habit we train our kids to start thinking a little bit quicker.”

Visser encourages parents to have ongoing, age-appropriate conversations about consequences of social media with their children.

She says recent incidents, like a young person losing an internship at NASA or a student accepted to Harvard who was subsequently rejected because of ill-conceived social media postings, are messages that might resonate.

“The more we can have these conversations, from a young age, as young as possible. When they first get introduced to a device, the easier it’s going to be to make it a habit: Is this something I should do?” Visser said.

Visser says involving children and young people in problem solving activities — such as complex games, projects and sports — helps them develop long term perspective.


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