The Thumbs Down. Speak Up. (TDSU) approach is easy and collaborative.

Teaching children the skills they need to navigate their online lives without our constant oversight is about more than just telling them what to do. You can help your child master the skills they need by making them a partner in the process. Supportive social-emotional connections enhance learning.

By working together with your child, you are laying the groundwork for success!

Self-Guided & Straightforward

Getting Started With TDSU

If you haven’t already, familiarize yourself with the Thumbs Down skills and Speak Up teaching techniques. Once you’ve done that, you are ready to begin!

Thumbs Down

Our intuitive and teachable Thumbs Down skills help kids become independent and responsible users of social media.

Speak Up

Our time-tested teaching techniques and engaging activities help you Speak Up and support your kids as they learn.

Steps to a smarter conversation about social media:

  1. 1 Set a Social Media Goal With Your Child

    Some examples are: interacting with family members online, joining a group chat with friends, or joining a social media or gaming platform.  Make sure the goal is aligned with your child’s developmental readiness for engaging with social media.

    TDSU’s top three signs of developmental readiness are:

    • An increased ability to see things from the perspective of another
    • An increased ability to anticipate consequences
    • An increased capacity for impulse control
  2. 2 Build the Trusted Team

    The Team might include your child’s peers, family friends, or relatives. Let the Trusted Team know what role they can play in helping your child learn the skills they need to be responsible and eventually independent online. 

    You can ask the Team to do things like:

    • Interact with your child online
    • Be available if your child wants to run something by them before posting or sending
    • Point out if there are any Thumbs Down skills that need work
  3. 3 Teach the Thumbs Down skills

    Use our fun and engaging Activities and the Speak Up teaching techniques to help your child learn.

  4. 4 Increase Your Child’s Independence

    As your tween begins to exhibit more developmental maturity and demonstrates that they are integrating – and perhaps in some cases mastering – the Thumbs Down skills,  you can begin to increase their independence.

    For example, if you started your tween out texting in a group chat with family, you might find that they are now ready to start a group chat with one or two friends. Perhaps your child is prepared to join a social media platform and have their Trusted Team follow them. Or maybe your child is ready for their Trusted Team to be made up of peers, rather than trusted adults.

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