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Your Tone Sets the Stage

It's also true, that your response when your kid has these encounters can set the tone for the rest of their experience on the Net. If you get outraged or punish them, you may set up a “forbidden fruit” scenario that leads to more trouble. If you can talk reasonably and calmly about the incident, discuss why you think the site is inappropriate or ill-advised. You're more likely to keep your kid's confidence and that's the key to keeping kids from getting into too much trouble in any venue.

It's really important that you encourage your kid to come to you when he encounters anything online (or not) that makes him uncomfortable. If you can talk about your kid's experience, explain to your kid about the material or activity, and help your kid to understand how to deal with their discomfort, you have gone a long way in providing your kid with adequate protection. Obviously, explanations and discussions need to be appropriate for the age and understanding of your kid. Long philosophical discussions are usually not appropriate, but concise, factual responses to your kid's questions do not only help your kid with the material in question, but also give your kid armor for the next encounter. Unfortunately, recognizing danger is something we have to teach our kids because we can't be with them and protect them all the time.


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