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There are many different online platforms and different things are appropriate in each of them.  

We all know a religious service might not be the best time to start chatting about a favorite video game.  And bathroom humor might not fly at Thanksgiving dinner with extended family.  

Get your tween thinking about what things are or are not appropriate in different online spaces.

Help your child orient themselves to a space rather than just regulating that space for them.  When our tweens can think critically rather than just blindly follow rules, they are more likely to integrate the lessons they are being taught and develop the ability to start making thoughtful choices on their own. 

What does it mean to help orient someone to a digital space?  

It is about teaching them to pay attention to the social norms of the space as well as to make note of what that space is being used for by the community.  

For example, Discord is often used for gaming with others.  It is also used to find interest-driven communities as well as for voice chats.  

For some people, email is seen as a more formal means of communication.  It can be a good way to pass along detailed information, and there is generally not an expectation of an immediate response.  Texting, on the other hand, is generally seen as informal, with the expectation that information is flowing more quickly.  

TikTok is thought to be more performative, while Instagram is generally a space for highly curated posts.  Snapchat can be good for connecting one-on-one with others.

You and your tween can spend some time researching what different digital spaces are used for.  You may also want to consider joining some platforms together, so you can mutually observe the norms and expectations of the platform.

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