Have You Discussed “Obvious” Online Behavior with Your Kids?

When police in Oregon recently arrested a teenager for his Facebook post, it became a vivid reminder to teens everywhere, that every single thing posted on social media channels is public—and can have real consequences.

When the teen boasted about driving drunk and hitting a vehicle on New Year’s Eve, one of his Facebook friends sent police a private message. After a brief investigation, the teen was arrested.

Said police in a statement, “Astoria Police have an active social media presence,” the release said. “When you post … on Facebook, you have to figure that it is not going to stay private long.”


With the power of social media, so too, comes personal responsibility that is being tested with every post. In this digital age, many parenting opportunities daily present themselves through the “teachable moments” of social media. Using another teen’s poor decision making online, is the perfect opportunity to bring up some critical, albeit, often “assumed” behaviors that come attached to you teens’ online life.

We talk a lot about being intentional about online safety on this blog, still we rarely ask the question: Have you discussed the obvious with your kids?

A few topics include:

  • Reputation management
  • Criminal consequences of public posts
  • Texting and driving
  • Thinking before sharing thoughts and photos
  • Keeping location details private.
  • Never meeting with unknown online friends in person
  • Never accepting friend requests from strangers
  • Downloading applications only from trusted sources

When teens hit the news with their online behavior—bad or good—it’s the perfect opportunity to make your kids aware of good choices.

Be on the lookout for news stories that affect your teens’ digital understanding such as cyber bullying, online predators, Facebook faux paus, texting and driving, reputation management, and various security breeches that compromise your teens’ personal information.

Then, boldly have the conversations you need to have today.

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