Skip to content

Thumbs Down. Speak Up. (TDSU) bridges the gap between merely monitoring our childrens’ online behaviors and supporting them on their journey towards independent and responsible social media use.

How It All Started

Like many of you, we were blindsided by the emergence of social media in our childrens’ lives. We found ourselves playing catch up. We looked for guidance from books, online, and from friends and family about how to teach our children to be responsible and independent users of social media. 

What we found from other parents was similar to our own experience – they were also looking for answers. The experts seemed to imply that monitoring online use and behavior was the only option. But we were looking for something more. We envisioned a different approach, one where we didn’t just turn on parental controls and try to follow our kids on social media.

Bridging the Gap

As we researched and talked about it, we came to realize that there is a set of teachable skills that go hand-in-hand with responsible, and eventually independent, social media use. We got excited about the prospect of using time-tested teaching techniques and child development research to give families the tools they need to have a smarter conversation about online behavior. 

We came up with Thumbs Down. Speak Up. in order to provide resources that:

  • Help parents teach their children when to disengage with social media;
  • Encourage families to build trusted teams to support children as they learn digital citizenry; and
  • Create a place where parents can share their experiences.

The TDSU approach is work, but it’s the work of parenting. It’s what we do everyday; set an example, create teachable moments, and help our children learn from their mistakes.


Don’t just follow your kids online.  Lead them.