Families and schools have different boundaries about what kids can do with social media, apps, video games, and other online technology. A Kidpower Digital Citizenship and Safety Agreement makes your own family’s boundaries and expectations clear and much easier to follow!
To keep kids safe as they learn to use powerful tools – from blenders to cars to lawn mowers to table saws to all online tools – adults set boundaries about how, when, and where kids use them and how they are supervised. Kids are responsible for using their own power safely, and at the same time, child protection is an adult responsibility.
We created the Kidpower Digital Citizenship & Safety Agreement template to support families in creating their own agreements. Read it with your kids. Change it to make it meet your needs. Decide together what should be added or removed to fit for your own family’s situation.
By creating, printing, and signing your own agreement, you’re taking a powerful step toward building skills for a lifetime of online safety, digital citizenship, and the ability to assess new technology and other opportunities with safety in mind.
[Make a TITLE for Your Family Agreement]
We, [name of child] and [name(s) of adult(s)], are entering into this agreement so that [name of child] can have safe, positive online experiences now and for years to come.
We each accept that the freedom to use digital tools – like phones, tablets, game consoles, and computers as well as games, apps, and social media – comes with the responsibility to use them safely and responsibly.
Parents and guardians are responsible for the safety of their children. They also take on financial and legal risks when their children use digital technology.
To support everyone’s safety and well-being, I, [name of child], will do my best to be a safe and respectful digital citizen and agree to the following:
[We’ve included a lot of options to get you thinking! Add, change, or remove bullet points to make the agreement your own!]
- I will check first with my adults before I change our plan about where I am going, what I am doing, and who I am with, online and in the real world. __________ (Initial)
- I agree to check first with my adults before using any game, app, social media, or other digital tool unless I am positive they already know I use it and that I have permission. __________ (Initial)
- I will do my best to stay in online places that are interesting, safe, and fun, but not inappropriate or scary. If anything I come across makes me uncomfortable, is inappropriate, or is against family or school safety rules, I will leave and tell my adults. __________ (Initial)
- I agree to check first with my adults before creating a new account of any kind. __________ (Initial)
- I agree to check first with my adults before I put personal information online. This includes anything that could identify me or my family including names, addresses, phone numbers, pictures, videos, and details about where we live, work, or go to school. __________ (Initial)
- I understand that any online communication can always become public, even with tools designed to keep it private. I will not say or share words, images, or recordings that I would not be happy to have anyone in the world, including my adults, see or hear at any time. __________ (Initial)
- I agree to respect the privacy of others, even though I know others might not respect mine. This includes agreeing that:
- I will not log in to another person’s account and/or pretend to be another person online.
- I will not share words, pictures, or recordings sent to me without first asking the sender, “Do I have your permission to share this?” – and getting a clear YES in response!
- ___[Additional family agreements]_______________________________
- ___[Additional family agreements]_______________________________
- I will make exceptions for safety: I can and will share anything I receive directly with my adults for the purpose of getting help with a safety problem. They will do all they can to help me! __________ (Initial)
- I understand that my online actions now are forming my online reputation. I want my online reputation to show that I am [circle, add, or replace words]:
- I will be responsible with my words so that my online ‘speech’ is kind, supportive, and respectful – not hurtful or offensive. I will remember that others, including my adults, might read my words at any time. __________ (Initial)
- I will not like, retweet, share, or positively acknowledge in any other way anything online that says something cruel, hurtful, or mean about someone else, even if I think it’s intended as a joke. __________ (Initial)
- I will check first with my adults before downloading anything, including attachments, apps, games, or programs. __________ (Initial)
- I understand that I might be the target of bullying online. If this happens, it is not my fault. If I notice or experience cyberbullying, I agree that I will not respond to the person bullying. I will disengage, save a record of the hurtful words or images if possible, and get help from my adults as soon as I can. __________ (Initial)
- I will check first with my adults before agreeing to meet in person with anyone I’ve met online. Even if permission is granted, I will meet someone I’ve met online only in a public place accompanied by an adult my adults approve in advance. __________ (Initial)
- I understand that “plagiarism” and “copyright violation” are different ways of taking something without permission. Both are against our school and family’s values and can cause trouble, including legal trouble, for me and for my adults. I will not take, use, or download other people’s words, images, or creations, including pictures, poetry or music, without permission and without attributing the work directly to that original person. I will get help from my adults if I want to use other’s words or creations so that I can learn about and be respectful of boundaries and copyright laws. __________ (Initial)
- I understand that spending too much time online can become unsafe and unhealthy, especially if it interferes with sleeping, being outside, studying, reading, exercising, or doing things with people in the real world. I agree to follow family and school rules about when and how long I can be online. __________ (Initial)
- I understand I deserve to be safe everywhere I go, including online. I understand that my adults want to help me if I have a safety problem online, even if I made mistakes or broke rules, and even if people we know will be upset. I will tell my adults, and they will do everything they can to help me. __________ (Initial)
- I understand that my adults might put my permission to use certain tools ‘on hold’ for the short term if we are dealing with a possible safety problem so that we can work on new plans and skills that will support my safety and fun when I start using them again. __________ (Initial)
- I understand that nobody is perfect and that mistakes are part of learning. If I make a mistake or don’t follow any of these agreements, I will tell my adults rather trying to hide it or feeling bad about it. It is never too late to tell! And, the sooner I tell, the easier it will be to fix problems and the less likely it will be that we need to put online freedoms ‘on hold’. __________ (Initial)
We agree to revisit this contract in one year. We will speak up to each other if we believe we need to revisit it at any point.
Youth Signature: ___________________________________Date:_______________________
Adult Signature: ___________________________________Date:________________________
Published: October 14, 2016 | Last Updated: November 11, 2020