The Front Door Rule

Published 12/13 2011 04:36PM

Updated 01/26 2012 04:45PM

I recently saw a young teenager during her well-check visit and we were discussing whether she had a cell phone or a computer, and if so, did she have rules for their use?  There was a giggle as she explained to me that she and her parents had discussed the rules prior to her getting a cell phone.

As for the computer?  It was a family computer that she shared with her younger sister so it sits in the family room at their house.  The teen told me that her parents monitored the computer use as well.  Good parenting!

Interestingly, her mother is involved in law enforcement and she informed me that she was an educator who went to schools in the area to teach cyber safety.  The course is called "Cyber Law 101".

Well, not only had she done a great job with educating her own girls, but she gave me some tips too!

She stressed that one of the most important points was teaching kids about the law and when online activities cross the line.

Many kids are tech savvy but they are equally nave when it comes to how information is shared over the internet, or on any digital device. I myself assume that once you delete something it is "gone", but in reality that is not the case.

Here's the bottom line and it applies to all of us.  The best way to explain cyber safety to your children is by discussing "The Front Door Rule".  If you are writing an email or a text or posting a picture on Facebook or tweeting, and you wouldn't be proud to see that same message or picture posted on your front door, then don't put it online!  Short, sweet and to the point, don't you think? 

In other words, think about your neighbor, delivery workers, or anyone that might come to your door and they see your text or a picture that you posted online. Don't want it on your front door?  Then you certainly don't want it to suddenly show up online.

The topic of cell phones and computer use are always part of my conversation with tweens/teens during their check- up.  Now, I'm also going to discuss The Front Door Rule and hope that this will remind all of us to think a second before pushing send.

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