When your child's friend posts inappropriate content

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When your child's friend posts inappropriate content

When a friend of your child posts something inappropriate, I think the first question you have to ask yourself is, "How inappropriate is this? Is this ruin-their-life inappropriate? Or is this uncomfortable-inappropriate?" If it's ruin-their-life inappropriate, then you need to ask yourself, "How well do I know the parent?" If you know the parent, then you can judge how to approach the parent. If it's ruin-their-life, you probably need to get an adult involved, and approaching the parent in the right way without shame. Approaching it and saying, "Look, you know, I'm a parent too. If my child had done this, I would want to know." If you don't know the parent, but you can find a friend of the parent, talk to the friend to have them approach it. This kind of information is really sensitive and delicate, but you need to make sure that an adult in the child's life knows. Often, research shows that what kids do online reflects their offline life - offline reflects online - so if there's a problem online, there maybe a problem offline as well, so the parent needs to know. Otherwise, a good way to go about it is to talk to your own child about it, again. Use it as a teachable moment, show your child the post, and talk to them about your perception of it. Talk to them about what their friends may think, talk to them about - if they are a boy - what a girl might think, and if they're a girl, what a boy might think, or what a teacher might think if they saw it. Make them aware that other people are looking at it with different lenses. Ideally, what you may want them to do, is possibly feel comfortable enough to say something to their friend, because if the child who posted the inappropriate content, learns about it and takes it down themselves, that's the best; that's a win : win for all, because they've learned.

See Yalda T. Uhls, MBA, PhD 's video on When your child's friend posts inappropriate content...


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Yalda T. Uhls, MBA, PhD

Regional Director, Common Sense Media

Yalda T. Uhls, MBA, PhD, is the Regional Director of Common Sense Media, the leading non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology. Yalda's own research with the Children's Digital Media at UCLA was written about in the New York Times, CNN, Time Magazine, The Huffington Post, and more. As an expert on media’s effects on children, Yalda has been featured on the BBC News, KPCC, the LA Times and many other news outlets. Her awards include UCLA's Psychology in Action Award for excellence in communicating psychological research to audiences beyond academia as well as honorable mention for the National Science Foundation's GSRF. Yalda's former career as a Senior VP at MGM, in film production, informs her perspective that media content has great power to socialize children, to inspire and teach as well as to be used inappropriately. In her talks, she brings her deep knowledge of the latest research about how children ages eight to 18 use media, as well as a realistic understanding of how digital natives use media from her experiences with her two children, ages 10 and 13.  Her newest book, Media Moms & Digital Dads: A Fact-Not-Fear Approach to Parenting in the Digital Age will be published in Fall 2015. 

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