A version of this article first appeared on Scary Mommy. Seems appropriate, yes? Even though our tweens are from scary, seeing their 'lil faces glowing from their phone screens while their thumbs fly across keypads ... yeah, that could definitely inspire some fear!
So while their typing fingers are faster than yours and mine and their selfie game is definitely spot on, there are a few things that us moms can teach our tweens before their posting habits get too deep. Here are 16 of them.
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1. First up: duck faces.
Meh. And yes, I know, one or two won’t hurt anyone. But maybe switch it up every once in awhile. Please.
2. I know the cool thing to do is to cull your Insta feed down to six pictures or less at all times.
But one of the best things about social media is that it lets us tell our story and look back on it. Stop deleting yours.
3. Love yourself — and I mean that.
Don’t try to make yourself seem like anything that you’re not. Just smart, strong, kind, funny, all day, everyday.
4. Respect yourself.
Every single thing you post, text, share, or DM can — quite literally — be seen by anyone. No love interest is worth a future college admissions officer or in-law (*or me!) seeing your body shots or sexts.
5. In that same vein ...
Any love interest who pressures you to send her or him things like that should be kicked to the curb. #seeyoubye
6. Your friends are all that is good in this world.
So act like you know this and always treat them like they matter. Give compliments, ask before posting pictures of them, and write kind comments on their posts, pictures, and videos.
7. If you have the chance to step in and help someone who is having a hard time, take it. Every time.
No likes on his picture? Be the first. No comments? Leave one. If someone else is making fun of them, step in. If you’re not sure how to do this, ask me. It’s that important. Be remembered for being a friend, not for being a scroller.
8. Asking to be “rated” or leaving rates on Instagram.
Just…why? Stop that.
9. Your voice is powerful — use it kindly.
Don’t purposefully exclude, untag, or hurt.
10. If your gut says that something doesn’t feel right, listen.
There is nothing more powerful or right than knowing how to listen to your own instincts. Trust yourself. Pause. Walk away. Ask for help.
11. You never have to participate in anything that you don’t want to online.
Not group texts. Not memes. Not anything.
12. If you need me, I’m here.
If you want me to give advice, step in, or just shut up and listen — that’s okay. Just tell me. As long as you’re safe, I’ll follow your lead.
You’re managing a lot right now (more than I ever had to) and I respect that; I respect you. But you don’t have to do any of this by yourself. I’m here.
13. You will never get in trouble for making a mistake, but you will for lying to me.
See above: I’m here, talk to me.
14. Quality over quantity, with everything.
Followers, posts, comments, friends.
15. You are not better than anybody else.
Does that sound harsh? It’s not meant to. You are important — and worthy and lovely and wonderful — and every single human being is equally so. Never act like anyone is beneath you; they’re not.
*If you do this, you’ll lose your phone privileges. Yes, really!
16. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
A little laughter can turn most things around.
This list is based on my bestselling book Kindness Wins, a simple guide to teaching your child to be kind online. Because a world filled with tweens who use the Internet even just a 'lil more kindly? Is a better one, as far as I'm concerned.
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Read the first chapter of Kindness Wins for free by clicking right here or on the button below.
AUTHOR: GALIT BREEN
Hi, I'm Galit. (*My name is pronounced guh-leet + means little waves, like in the ocean.) I give you the tools you need to let your kids benefit from the amazing things the online world has to offer them and create a popsicle dripping, chapter book reading (in one sitting!), leaf crunching childhood that they deserve. Welcome, I'm so glad you're here. What can you expect from me? I spill it all right here.