How do we make sure our kids respect OUR privacy?
1 expert and 1 parent have answered
It's summer time and devices in our house are ringing out to the sound of notifications and chat requests. I know - we should switch off - but the kids miss their school friends, and it's a connected world full of fibre optic wi-fi networks and devices with front facing cameras. While our kids can choose compromise their own privacy, they have to think of their family's confidentiality.
This week my 11-year-old daughter was walking through our house while talking into her iPod Touch. I had just come in from a run and was in a state of sweaty fluster when on the screen in her hand I saw the face of her school friend surveying my daughter's surroundings, which unfortunately included me. At the time, I could have been (I wasn't) in a state of undress on my way to the shower (I was heading out to walk the dog).
When we were kids, our parents were the gatekeepers. Most of what passed for family news was conveyed by them. Now it's less clear who controls the flow of information, or what your wider, digital social circle has a right to know.
My teenage son has Instagram and posts well meaning yet unflattering pictures of us on our birthdays, and with every advancing year I would argue for the rights of careful and complete image management.
We need to set boundaries for our kids and respect their privacy if we expect them to do the same for us. I regularly ask my 13-year-old son if he's comfortable with me posting pictures of home on mutual social networks. Increasingly he's not, by the way, but I can nod to plenty of parents who I'm fairly sure aren't asking their children the same question.
Sharing responsibly online is a part of good parenting and decent digital citizenship, and that courtesy begins with us.
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We abide by the "respect and privacy" rule at home. As humans we all have a right to be respected and a right to privacy and no-one is allowed to post a photo of any other family member without their permission. We have 2 dedicated study areas and use of devices, computers, printers etc are all restricted to this area. We do not allow these in the bedrooms (unless it is for reading purposes) or else it would just completely take over our lives. So far this is working very well for us but the eldest is also only 13 . . . . I suppose when Skyping boyfriends enter the domain, the situation will come under revision. Mind you, I know that having 2 studies also help significantly and well all warn one another when we take Skype calls.