Why kids must be taught digital manners

Digital Manners

It’s a different era. The digital world is molding children in a way that is completely different from their parents. Some may say that it’s always the case as technology, culture, and societal norms change, but this is different. It’s faster. This isn’t just a matter of, “I don’t understand the music you kids listen to these days.” It’s a major shift in the way that kids interact with the rest of the world.

It wasn’t but a couple of decades ago when talking on the phone and passing notes was still a major thing for teens. It had been that way for a long time. Today, kids aren’t talking to each other on the phone. They’re talking to each other digitally through Apple FaceTime, social media, and chat. They aren’t passing notes, a time-honored tradition for kids of the past. They’re texting. They aren’t reading books. They’re reading blogs or watching YouTube.

None of this is a surprise to those who have their eyes open, but when you step back and look at the way children today interact with both the world and the elements of their own lives, it’s clear that this truly is a completely digital generation that we’re building. There are plenty of positives from this. The speed in which information moves is exponentially faster than the previous generation. Communication is much more open and accessible. There is no “down time” now with smartphones and tablets. We’re almost always connected in some way.

There are plenty of potential problems with this, but one that is only starting to be addressed now is the need to learn digital manners. It’s not just about cyber bullying, though that is one of the extremes that is prevalent in and out of schools around the world. Even the basic concepts of sharing, privacy, and speaking one’s mind have changed dramatically.

The biggest problem with all of this is that the parent generation is not prepared. Those who have teen children did not have to go through the same things. Again, some will say this is always the case, but the parents of today’s parents weren’t nearly as far off from relating to their children as today’s parents are with their children. The next generation will likely be better prepared as children today become parents tomorrow. Though the world is changing so quickly, we’ve reached a point similar to the dawn of television in which we’re now moving onto variations of the theme rather than paradigm shifts in the way the world works.

The world is more different now compared to two decades ago than that world was compared to two decades before that.

As we progress as a society, this generation of parents must learn to operate better in the digital world while also teaching their children along the way. Parents today weren’t taught as children about social media, ever-connected digital devices, or instant communication techniques other than telephone. Parents today are learning about it on the fly and must then urn around and teach their children how to handle the various situations that arise.

This is a turning point generation. There is plenty of good and plenty of bad to be done with the tools in our hands today. Knowing how to translate all of it into teachable actions is one of our biggest challenges as the infographic below details.

Cyber Bullying Infographic

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Cyber Bully” image courtesy of Shutterstock. Infographic via Visually.

Written by JD Rucker

+JD Rucker is Editor at Soshable, a Social Media Marketing Blog. He is a Christian, a husband, a father, and founder of both Judeo Christian Church and Dealer Authority. He drinks a lot of coffee, usually in the form of a 5-shot espresso over ice. Find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
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