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Being responsible and ‘guilt-free’ in the social network promotes cyber safety

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In his book, If How-To’s Were Enough We Would All Be Skinny, Rich & Happy, motivational trainer Brian Klemmer explains eloquently the value and liberty associated with being responsible without finding fault. He writes: “If your experience around any event includes anger, shame, or guilt, you are still thinking responsible means that you are at fault.” (p. 68) According to Klemmer, finding fault creates anger, shame, and guilt, which is a victim mentality and makes it difficult to grow in being mindful about your own choices and consequences.

This concept of being responsible but not assuming blame or fault is important for youth who encounter decisions in their cyber realm about how to respond to very challenging circumstances ranging from bullying (hate speech and harassment) to addiction (abuse of drugs and alcohol) and exploitation (sexting, internet porn and sex trafficking). Think about it. Blame and shame presume that one or more parties have no power.

Christi Benz is a Granite Bay mom of four, with one teen still at home and she has considerable experience navigating the texting and social media landscape with her children. “We as parents need to step back and take a look at the big picture,” she said. “and ask ourselves what are we trying to accomplish with our children? What is your overall goal?”

Benz observes that children most of all need to be self-sufficient in making good choices. And if we are distracted by work, stresses and devices, then it is not possible to steward the learning experiences of making decisions and living with the consequences of decisions, good and bad, without finding fault, but rather with a sincere heart to learn. For Benz, much of cyber parenting comes down to the fear factor. “When you are afraid or anxious about having control over your child’s situation, you cannot think creatively about how to manage your own emotional reactions to the situations our children can get into,” she said. “And if we are anxious or freak out the chances are less that they will involve you. Children seek validation from parents and we can validate them by not judging them and encouraging them to accept responsibility for the consequences of their own actions and be encouraged to make better choices the next time.”

For more about governing the cyber-powered home to raise cyber secure citizens, go to: Banana Moments – Help for Parenting in the Network Culture.