For years, teenagers spent much of their free time talking to friends on the phone. Today’s teens aren’t so different. They just have more ways to communicate.
What’s my child doing on Scoutmessengers?
Just like adult Scouts, young Scouts are invited to use Scoutmessengers to connect with other scouts — through messages and sharing photos, videos, links and other kinds of information. They use Scoutmessengers to announce and share Scout related achievements, learn about other scout projects and connect with Scouts across the world.
Start a conversation
Parents don’t need to be social media experts in order to ask questions and begin an ongoing dialogue with their children. Have conversations about safety and technology early and often, in the same way that you talk to your kids about being safe at school, in the car, on public transportation or playing sport.
One of the best ways to begin a conversation is to ask your child why services like Scoutmessengers are important to them. You might also ask them to show you the Scoutmessengers website, so you know what it’s all about. Discuss what’s appropriate information to share online—and what isn’t.
Learn from your child
Today’s children have grown up with the internet, mobile phones and text messaging. Most don’t distinguish between being online or off. New technology has always been a part of their lives, so when we write it off as trivial or a waste of time, we criticise a big part of their social interaction. You probably know this already, but unless you’re really on top of social media, your child probably knows more about it than you do. That’s OK. Don’t be afraid to ask your child to show you the ropes!
It’s about respect
It's also important to talk about the Golden Rule: treating others the way you want to be treated. This also applies to using new technologies. Make sure your children know where to go for support if someone ever harasses them. Help them understand how to make responsible and safe choices about what they post—because anything they put online can be misinterpreted or taken out of context.
If you are signed up on Scoutmessengers timeline, try to respect the same boundaries you use offline. Let your relationship dictate how you interact. For example, whether you join a conversation among your child’s friends or if you post a comment on their content. Think of social media as a get-together at one of your child’s friends’ houses. You can give permission for your child to attend, and even though you won’t be there to monitor their behaviour, you trust your child to have good judgment around peers and other parents. It’s all about balancing your child’s growing independence and need for privacy with your safety concerns.
Tips for parents
- It can be tough to keep up with technology. Don’t be afraid to ask your kids to explain it to you.
- Teach your child the online safety basics so they can keep their online accounts private and safe.
- Talk about technology safety just like you talk about safety while driving and playing sports.
Start a Conversation with Your Teen
- Do you feel like you can tell me if you ever have a problem at school or online?
- Help me understand why Scoutmessengers is important to you.
- Can you show me how Scoutmessengers work?
- Who are do you connect with on Scoutmessengers?