Cancel Culture and Children

Kids live so much of their lives in the virtual world. We must teach them about the dangers that lurk online.

Cancel culture can affect children because of their near-constant access to the Internet and the constant presence of technology in their lives. Keeping them off the Internet is a losing battle so it is important for parents to educate them about the risks they may encounter along the way.

When it comes to the power of online mobs, bad decisions can grow into huge disasters that destroy reputations and affect lives. Teaching our children to navigate around these lurking threats is an essential skill for balancing the pros and cons of the online world.

Learning how to safely use the Internet is a must.

Good Information vs. Bad Information

Fake news is everywhere, so how do we teach our children to separate the good from the bad? Without guidance, the cancel culture curse can affect our children’s lives in ways we never imagined, wreaking havoc at warp speed as lies and innuendo are shared over and over online, until these falsehoods are believed to be true.

  • Rule No. 1: Teach your children not to believe everything they see on the Internet. Just because it appears online does not mean it is credible and true. Parents need to teach their children critical thinking skills, so they do not immediately believe something outrageous to be true because they discovered it online.
  • Rule No. 2: Teach your children the difference between real journalism and entertainment. Factual reporting is much different than flashy exaggeration aimed at ratings and clicks. News based in facts is different than content that is tailored to advance a specific agenda and may be slanted or distorted.

Cancel Culture and Bullying

At its core, cancel culture promotes a form of bully – online bullying. Cancel culture foments an atmosphere of intolerance where those with unpopular viewpoints are sometimes attacked by an online mob and bullied into submission or self-censorship. Cancel culture attacks rely on bullying tactics such as harassment, name-calling, sharing personal information online and sometimes even threats of violence.

In some instances, children have been harassed online to the point of taking their own lives, so the threat posed by online bullying is very real. We must teach our children about these lurking threats and make sure they know how to find help if they become the target of an online bullying campaign.

Crises can blow up quickly online and morph into disasters in the blink of an eye. Parents need to talk to their children and make sure they know how to identify a brewing problem before it becomes too big for them to handle.

Private Lives are Canceled Online

Sharing your life on social media has become a way of life. But it’s important to remember that not everything that people post on social media is real or true. Images can be doctored, edited or carefully curated so they create a tailored image that the poster wants the world to see. In other words, what you see on social media may not be real life.

Children need to be taught what is safe to post and what type of things should never be posted. They must also be taught that canceling someone is an unacceptable way to hold someone accountable for their behavior.

Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Nude pictures are a no-no: When someone posts a revealing photo online, they are exposed forever. Disappearing messages do not really disappear when someone takes a screenshot of the image.  The images can be shared and re-shared. The same goes for nasty language. Screenshots of inappropriate comments can memorialize those words forever.
  • Share with care and post with purpose: Think about what you hope to accomplish before you hit “send” and be aware of how your words or pictures may be interpreted by others. If you have doubts about the content, don’t share it.
  • Learn from your mistakes: Everyone makes mistakes, but social media and the immediacy of the internet makes it more difficult to err. Personal growth can result from mistakes. Understand your error and move on.

Cancel culture and the negative effect it can have on kids is real. As parents, it is our job to educate our children about the risks that lurk online and remain vigilant as parents to the warning signs that a problem may be evolving.