Attention Teens: “Think before Tweeting.” – Keeping Kids Safe Online

Attention all parents, coaches, teachers, and all other adults involved with educating teenagers– I’m calling a Twitter Life Meeting for our children!

I heard a disturbing story today about a very talented high school athlete who is being courted by some of the most popular coaches in college football.  The young man allegedly sent out a tweet on Twitter with his demands for the coaches, which in my opinion was very inappropriate and could cost him his scholarship.  Whatever happened to good old-fashioned face-to-face conversation?

Honestly, I love technology and the endless possibilities it offers us, and while I encourage young people to become engaged in the field of technology there are certainly some boundaries that need to be set when communicating online.

Educating our teens on social media protocol must span far beyond Facebook and posting inappropriate photos.  Words are just as powerful, and once they are loosed into cyberspace they cannot be taken back. Tweeting inappropriate messages on Twitter can also cause harm to our children. The words they share with the world will follow them and sometimes come back to haunt them.

Trust me, as a mom I understand we have so much to teach our children, but let’s go ahead and add this to our list.  I believe that my child is going to be a very successful musician, performer, baker (she changes her mind often), and I want her to know that the decisions she makes today will have an impact on her future.

As a speaker I often tell my audiences that I don’t have to walk around telling people that I am African-American, as you can look at me and tell.  The same is true for our teens that are out there making their mark, if they have talent and skills the world will see that.  There’s a difference between tweeting an accomplishment and making demands on a school that would like for you to play football at their institution.

There is a fine line between being self-confident and obnoxious.  Let’s educate our children on the differences and how they want to be perceived by the world.  Before their next Twittering session, remind them to think about it before they ‘tweet’ about it!

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