What do you do if your child posts, texts, or engages with something Disturbing, Disparaging, or Dangerous? At TDSU, we call these 3Ds – It’s Bigger Than Me, which means these posts or texts are serious enough that an adult needs to get involved.
Here are five steps you can take when your child has engaged with or posted a 3D:
- Regulate: You may be having a very strong reaction to something your child engaged with online or posted. Take the time you need to regulate yourself so that you are better able to approach the matter proactively (with curiosity) rather than reactively. Remember that most things do not rise to the level of an emergency requiring you to act urgently.*
“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”– Stephen R. Covey The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
- Touch Base: Is your Trusted Team in place? Or do you have a support network you turn to with parenting challenges? If so, you may want to touch base with them and get their perspective.
- Chat: Once you are calm and have given thought to why you view this post or text as a 3D, try to engage your child in a low-stakes chat. Let them know you saw the post and that you are curious to know more. Once it seems like they’ve fully shared their perspective, let them know why you are concerned.
- Take Action: Let your tween know what steps need to be taken in light of the fact that they posted or interacted with a 3D (for example, “unliking” a post, bringing a post to the attention of the school or the authorities, taking the post down, issuing an apology, posting something else that better communicates what your child was trying to say).
- Revisit: Give your tween the space and support they need to process this experience and learn from it. This is both a teachable moment and an opportunity to keep the lines of communication open with your child, so take advantage!
Don’t just follow your kids online. Lead them.