Getting The Digital Message RITE!

Has one of these scenarios ever happened to you or one of your digital teens?

  • Someone sends you a text, email or Facebook message that riles you up a bit, good or bad, that you respond from a place of pure emotion…type the message, hit send and then a second later say to yourself “you know, perhaps that message was too much. I wish I had waited to send it or not sent it at all.”?
  • You were so angry you shot off a text, email or Facebook post unfiltered and regretted it immediately?
  • You sent an email or text intended to one person to another person by mistake…or to a group of people?

We’ve all been in these digital sending messes at some point in our lives and try and learn from them and not repeat history, if we can at all help it.

Our kids and teens, though, are still learning and struggling with this issue. For them, the faceless connection is a major hurdle for them.  In most situations, they’d handle the similar situation much more adeptly if face to face but behind the anonymous computer everything falls apart.

As I wrote in Chapter 17, page 176 of CyberSafe:

“As we’ve seen, many online issues with teens and tweens occur because of the power of anonymity. If they are reminded that there is a real person behind the computer, that often changes their behavior and outlook considerably. In addition to talking with kids about their digital footprints, I use the mnemonic RITE to make kids pause and think about what they are posting online.”

RITE is simple and the way to avoid these digital snafus:

R: Reread every message to be sure it sounds OK and is what you really want to send.

I: Imagine if you were the one receiving the message…would you be upset or hurt by what it says?

T: Think about whether it needs to be sent now or can it wait a bit. Sometimes waiting and re-reading the message later can avoid a big mess later on. (You may even find that you’d rather not send the message afterall!)

E: hit the Enter button only after you are satisfied that R-I-T are to your satisfaction.

Your kids want to get it right…so help them make the message RITE!

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