Parents: How To Help Your Kids Post Online In A SMART Way

We live in a split-second world of send it now, worry about it later. The difference between responding to something and reacting to something is more important now than ever before. Here's the difference.

Responding Online: Taking time to think it through before you post.
Reacting Online: Immediately posting when your emotions are high.

I don’t have to tell you which is the more favorable of the two responses. When I was younger I wasn’t exactly known for thinking things through. If something made me mad I would talk about it. Thankfully smartphones weren’t available to me at the time.

Prior to all things digital, impulsive behavior was usually contained by whoever was present to watch what happened or hear what happened at the time it happened.

Our impetuous decisions as kids weren’t documented to be viewed later by a future employer. Today, whatever our children post online may be recalled at a time when they don’t want it to be. Once it’s posted, it’s public, simple as that.

As a teenager with undiagnosed ADD I was frequently an “opportunity.” I thought it would be cool to ride up to the local grocery store on my bike with a friend while my mom was at work. Why? To get that wonderful invention known as Pepsi-Light! I loved it. I wanted it. I had the money for it. I went to get it.

Actually, I left with my friend for the short ride with all 10 fingers and ended up in the hospital with 9! Why, you ask? Impulse control, or lack thereof. Why ride all the way to the store to get one Pepsi Light when you can get two?

While riding home with two glass bottles and with little to no impulse control, I decided to jump a curb on my bike and the rest is history. I stared with 10 fingers, went to the hospital with 9 and left the hospital with 10 after the reattachment.

I wish I could say this was the only example of a disastrous momentary impulse I had as a teenager, but that wouldn’t be true. Breaking my arm in the same spot the day I got my cast off from the first break, getting my leg stuck on barbed wire, breaking the finger I cut off after I had the original cast removed . . . do you see the pattern?

Here’s my point. I think it’s fair to say that most kids don’t think before they act. Posting an image or text online would have given me the ability to make things worse at a much faster rate and have them permanently documented for all to see. So, with that in mind why don’t we (Yes, parent too. I have seen some posts from parents that make me shutter) practice the SMART post?

When your emotional buttons have been pushed and you or your children want to “air it out” online think SMART.


If your emotions are running high and your thumbs are flying on the phone, stop.
“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:29


Move away for a moment. Put some time between you and the post so that your emotions are not running at peak capacity.
“You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” James 1:19


Take a look at what you have written and make adjustments.
“Wise people think before they act; fools don’t––and even brag about their foolishness.” Proverbs 13:16


Review what you have written with someone and get his or her feedback.
“Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success.” Proverbs 15:22


If all is okay, tell it.
“Everything you say should be kind and well thought out.” Colossians 4:6

Remind your children that before they press send, they have to make sure it’s SMART!

1. As a parent how well do you post in a SMART way?
2. Do you help your child(ren) with their posts?
3. What is the greatest difficulty in posting SMART?

Photo Credit: Image ID: 111830402 © Sylvie Bouchard