Skip to content

Thumbs Down is knowing when and how to disengage from social media, a skill children need in order to become independent online.

Tweens are uniquely primed to learn when and how to Thumbs Down because of their developing ability to delay gratification; their increased impulse control; and their ability to engage in self-reflection and to see things from another’s perspective.

When to Disengage

When and How to Thumbs Down:

Help your child learn when to Thumbs Down by having them ask: Is what I’m seeing or about to send Problematic, Bigger Than Me, or Complicated?

Help your child learn how to Thumbs Down by teaching them to Pause, Reach Out, or Move it Offline.

  1. 1 Problematic Posts

    Encourage your child to Pause before posting or engaging with texts or posts that:

    • Are mean-spirited
    • Include the use of photos without consent
    • Require context, knowledge of intention, and/or tone to make sense
    • Violate a school’s Code of Conduct or Digital Use Contract
  2. 2 3 Ds – It’s Bigger Than Me

    Teach your child to Reach Out to a trusted adult about texts or posts that are:

    • Disturbing –  anything that is troubling or confusing
    • Disparaging – content that demeans or humiliates a person or group of people based on things like: religion, ethnicity, race, culture, sexual orientation, gender identity, country of origin, political views, or special needs
    • Dangerous – these indicate harmful intent
  3. 3 Complicated Communication

    Sometimes you need to Move an interaction offline; for example, when conversations involve:

    • Sensitive subject matter 
    • Emotional content  
    • Anything that feels complex

Keep Reading

Speak Up

Learn more about how to teach and support your kids as they learn these Thumbs Down skills.

Get Started

Recommended steps for having a smarter conversation about social media.

Activities to Try