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How can kids develop integrity in the online world?

Having integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching. In the online world, doing the right thing is called digital citizenship. Digital citizenship is the ability to think critically, behave safely, and participate responsibly in the online world. When your kids are young, you're able to supervise them online, but as they get older you'll need to trust them to do the right thing on their own. Help your kids learn to independently navigate the online world with integrity in these eight key areas:

Internet safety. The internet is an amazing place to connect with people all over the world -- but there are risks. Teach your kids to keep themselves safe by staying on age-appropriate sites, learning the difference between inappropriate contact and positive connections, and reporting others who misbehave.

Privacy and security. Kids need to have the integrity to protect their online information and keep it secure. Teach them how to create strong passwords, how to avoid scams, and how to read privacy policies.

Creative credit and copyright. Living in a copy-and-paste culture makes it tempting to use other people's work. Sharing responsibly and giving credit to the original author takes integrity.

Information literacy. It takes integrity to practice media literacy. In the online world it's essential for kids to be able to identify, find, evaluate, and use information effectively and appropriately.  

Digital footprint and reputation. Taking responsibility for your online reputation, respecting others' privacy, and limiting your digital footprint take integrity. Encourage kids to think before they post and think about how their online actions affect others.

Self-image and identity. With every post, kids are creating their online identities. Help them create ones with integrity. Talk about the benefits and risks of presenting themselves through different personas and the effect on their sense of self, their reputation, and their relationships.

Relationships and communication. Building positive relationships takes integrity. Encourage kids to be honest and fair with friends.

Cyberbullying and digital drama. Even if your kid hasn't been targeted, they've probably seen cyberbullying. Talk about how supporting victims takes integrity. Teach them to be upstanders -- either by directly confronting a bully or by reaching out to a victim. 

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