Let's face it; most of us may never be in a position of knowing more about technology than those who grew up with the Internet and its devices intricately woven into their lives. However, as parents, we are in a position to impart life lessons such as good judgment, reason, empathy and most important, consequences. This position can be fleeting so the sooner you can start and the more consistently you communicate the most impact it can have.
When it comes to the Internet most teens, and for that matter most adults, may not fully comprehend the concept of permanence. Anything posted online will never truly be erased and can come back to haunt you down the road. Deleting an image or a comment is not an indication that someone hasn't already viewed or copied that image or comment. Being unable to erase a mistake can put the future of today's naive youth in jeopardy. That is particularly so when many colleges and prospective employers frequently research potential candidates on the Internet.
Find any opportunity to remind your teen that everything they post may have an unwanted consequence. Maybe not today, but at some point when it might matter to their future. It may be difficult for many teens to think in terms of their future when it comes to actions they want to take today. But even now, let them consider, is what they are about to post something they would be proud to have a grandparent see?
In 2007 The Ad Council in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice and National Center for Missing & Exploited Children developed some very powerful public service announcements geared to helping teens understand the power of permanence on the Internet. View one of these still very relevant videos below with someone you think that can benefit from the message.