E-mail Contracts for Kids


A friend of mine from graduate school and I were just lamenting over the fact that our daughters are asking to have e-mail accounts.  Well, actually, we were marveling at how time has flown and that our kids are at this age already.  Ok, truthfully, we were feeling sorry for ourselves about how old we must be to have tween-age kids, but I digress…

She and I are both concerned about setting guidelines for our girls as they take big steps into the world of technology social media.  Here are the sets of guidelines she and I each pieced together from our own wisdom and bits of advice on the web.  I like hers better…she liked mine…together, perhaps we have a whole parent’s brain.  You can feel free to pick and choose from either.  Hopefully, you can find the suggestions helpful:


1. Always be kind, and do not ever use email to say ugly, nasty, or mean things about ANYONE. Not only is that not behavior not acceptable, but email can always be forwarded to someone & hurt their feelings.

2. If you don’t recognize an address in your inbox, or someone sends you a weird email, don’t touch the email & come get me or Daddy.

3. No opening attachments or clicking on links without approval.

4. Daddy and I can and will access your emails at any time. You must give us your password(s) if you change them.

5. The only computers you are allowed to access your email from is mine or Daddy’s (and Grandma’s). If you access Gmail from school, you would have to be responsible enough to “SIGN OUT” so that the next person can’t access your email. Many grown-ups can’t even remember to do this, so I’m not going to ask you to. So, no accessing emails from school until I believe you’re responsible enough to do this.

6. NEVER click the “remember me” or “remember this password?” if you do access your email from another computer (against my rules). This will allow that computer to ALWAYS remember your password without the person sitting there to even think about it.

7. Never send to anyone in an email the following: your real address, phone number, any passwords, our cell phone numbers, your birthday/date, social security number or any other identifying information–not even to someone you know. This will cause you BIG, BIG problems or put you in DANGER from people who want to harm children.

8. Don’t use “Reply all.” Many grown-ups don’t even understand how to use this properly.

9. If someone emails you telling you you won something: you didn’t. Come get one of us.

10. Don’t go into the “Spam” folder – that’s not a place for children, and I’m trusting you enough to follow this rule (and the others). If you think an email you want may have mistakenly found its way in there, ask one of us to look in there for you.

11. You are not allowed to use Google+ without our permission. That is something you can earn with good behavior and when you’re a little older.





We believe our family values include kindness, honesty, and compassion for others.  Our use of technology must reflect these values.  Therefore, we recognize that having an email address, texting, using a YouTube account, and any other uses of technology must follow these rules:


  1.  Communication (sending e-mails, commenting on videos, sending texts, etc) is for the purpose of friendship and exchange of ideas or information.  It is never for spreading gossip, making rude comments, using bad language, or giving out personal information to people we don’t know.


  1. Technology can never be used for the purposes of humiliating, embarrassing, getting revenge upon, or hurting others in any way.


  1. Sending or uploading photos and videos with any personally identifying images or information are not permitted unless specially approved by Mommy or Daddy.


  1. Mommy and Daddy must always have access to the passwords and content for all of your technology accounts.


  1. Mommy and Daddy reserve the right to insist that particular sites and friends who behave in violation of our values be banned or blocked.


  1. No emails, texts, YouTube comments, etc after 9:00pm (school year) and 9:30pm (summer).


If these rules are not followed, the following will occur:

First violation:  All technology privileges ended for 7 days.

Second violation:  All technology privileges ended for 14 days.

Third violation:  All technology privileges ended indefinitely.


While we understand that anyone can make a mistake, we believe that living according to our values is critically important.



_________________________________        _________________________________

Child                                                                                      Parent




For more information and suggestions for teaching kids about ethical uses of technology and social media, please check out my post on Psychology Today, Teaching Netiquette to Kids.

Bullyproofing – Four Steps to Build Your Daughter’s Personal Power


What happens when harmless spats over sharing toys are replaced by cruel cyber-rumors about liking boys? Will your daughter know what to do when pint-sized pushes evolve into painful tween shoves? When the simplicity of forming a friendship just by climbing the same jungle gym is replaced by the intricacy of scaling middle-school social ladders, how can you teach your daughter to stand up to bullies?


Rachel Simmons Offers Tip for Parents on Teenage Girls’ Use of Social Media


Click below to listen to Odd Girl Out author Rachel Simmons’ NPR interview on Teenage Girls & Social Media.



Passive Aggressive E-Mail at Work


Hilarious YouTube clip on passive aggressive e-mail exchanges between co-workers.  I use this in all of my Angry Smile workshops.  It’s funny because IT’S SO TRUE!



>Real Housewives of NJ…AGAIN


>Where should I send the Thank-you note? To the Bravo network? To a Real Housewife?

Last night’s episode of The Real Housewives of NJ delivered yet again, when it comes to this collection of hilariously conniving examples of passive aggressive behavior. Though the hostility is barely hidden and rarely sugarcoated amongst these Housewives, the behind-the-scenes chatter and this e-mail exchange, in particular, are great examples of passive aggression on the set.

My favorite line in this clip comes at the very end: Danielle’s classic, passive aggressive 2-word/phrase answer to Dina’s long e-mail. Let me know what you think in the “Comments” section.



The Angry Smile: The Psychology of Passive-aggressive Behavior in Families, Schools, and Workplaces

>Recognizing Passive Aggression in the Workplace


>In addition to Passive Aggressive Diaries, I have been Blogging for Psychology Today.com. Here’s an item I recently posted there on passive aggressive behavior in the workplace:

His workplace resume reads something like this:

Work History

• Avoiding responsibility for tasks
• Doing less when asked for more
• Missing deadlines
• Withholding information

Professional Activities
• Leaving notes and using e-mail to avoid face-to-face communication
• Arriving late to work; extending lunch break
• Using sick days during major team projects
• Resisting suggestions for change or improvement

Special Qualifications
• “Forgetting” and “misplacing” important documents
• Embarrassing co-workers during meetings and presentations
• Justifying behavior with plausible explanations
• Consistently behaving this way across most workplace situations

Does someone in your office boast these passive aggressive credentials?

Passive aggression is a deliberate and masked way of expressing hidden anger. In many workplace settings, where adults spend the majority of their waking hours and corporate hierarchies inhibit direct expression of feelings, the passive aggressive employee is able to sabotage everything from individual deadlines to department morale to organizational productivity. It is critical that employers be able to recognize passive aggressive behaviors in the workplace before they negatively impact output and efficiency. Do any of your workers exhibit these common tactics of passive aggressive workers?

Temporary Compliance
The passive aggressive employee often feels underappreciated and expresses his underlying anger through temporary compliance. Though he verbally agrees to a task, he behaviorally delays its completion, by procrastinating, “forgetting” important deadlines, “misplacing” documents, or arriving late. For the passive aggressive worker who feels under-acknowledged by colleagues and management, acts of temporary compliance are most satisfying.

Intentional Inefficiency

The passive aggressive worker feels it is more important to express his covert hostility than to maintain his appearance of professional competence. He uses intentional inefficiency to complete work in a purposefully unacceptable way:

Tom felt snubbed when passed over for a promotion. He decided to go about his job in a new way; the quantity of his output did not change, but his work became marred with missed details, important omissions, and critical errors. Though Tom never missed a deadline and took on every requested assignment, the quality of his final product had a way of creating embarrassing moments for unsuspecting supervisors caught presenting misinformation.

To protect your office from the passive aggressive saboteur, look out for employees whose work is consistently at or below minimum standards, who insists “no one told me,” and who personalizes any confrontations from authority, playing up their role as victim.

Letting a Problem Escalate
Teamwork and communication are key to productivity in the workplace. When a passive aggressive employee withholds important information or deliberately fails to stop a momentary glitch from turning into an irreversible gaffe, entire operations can be halted or even shut down. The (mis)use of sick days is an area of particular vulnerability in the workplace:

Brenda called in sick the day before a major deadline, knowing that her presence was critical to her department’s success. She took great pleasure in single-handedly foiling the quarterly report and in the resulting company-wide affirmation that without her, the department could not succeed.

Sabotage is the name of the game for the passive aggressive employee who justifies her characteristic crimes of omission by saying, “I didn’t do anything.”

Hidden but Conscious Revenge
In contrast to the inaction that marks the previous tactic, some workers use covert actions to get back at superiors against whom they hold a grudge. The passive aggressive employee is keenly aware that the person with whom he is angry has enough power and authority to make his professional life miserable, so he decides it is not safe to confront him directly. Whether it be through spreading gossip that maligns the boss’s reputation or planting a computer virus that shuts down office IT systems for a week, the passive aggressive employee feels justified in taking secret revenge in the workplace.

By the nature of their covert acts, passive aggressive employees are skilled at evading the long arm of the workplace law. Unchecked, a compliant rule-breaker can have a major impact on an organization’s productivity and morale. When employers understand the warning signs and quickly recognize passive aggressive patterns, they can protect their workplaces from being the unwitting victim of this ideal office crime.

>Passive Aggressive E-mail Boxing


>Check out this great video from YouTube…


Have any examples of your own PA e-mail exchanges?? Share them here!

>The Perfect Office Crime


>In The Angry Smile, we dedicate an entire chapter to describing why workplaces can be especially ripe for passive aggressive behavior–by employees and bosses alike. Here are a few of the funny stories we’ve collected since the book was published. Please add your own in the Comments section!

Posted by Mike on 1/21/09
I have a co-worker who relies on e-mails and phone calls anytime he wants to communicate–even though we all work together in the same office building, on the same floor! Most of the time, it would be quicker for him to just get up out of his seat and tell me something face-to-face than it is for him to dial my extension or type it out, but he always avoids personal contact. It is really annoying, so I make it a point to never answer phone calls when I see they are from him and to ignore anything he sends in an e-mail!

Posted by Kelli on 1/19/09
Jeff was the kind of co-worker who liked everything to be “just so.” Whether it was his own appearance (never so much as a hair out of place) or the office supply room (small paper clips here, medium clips there), his need for order bordered on obsession.

One day, when I walked away from our office’s public workspace for one minute to get a file from my office, Jeff “cleaned up” several stacks of documents that I had been very carefully sorting. 45 minutes of my time was wasted when I had to re-sort and verify the correct ordering of the piles, and I was pissed! When I confronted Jeff about his interference with my work, he gave a lame apology, saying he was just trying to keep the office clean.

Since he was a Senior Account Executive and I was new to the office, I didn’t feel like I could defend my “mess,” but I did make it a point for the next month or two to keep Jeff busy cleaning. When re-filling supplies, I would put small, medium, and large paper clips all in a single container, and watch him take an hour out of his work day to re-sort them one by one. When he wasn’t in his cubicle, I would move his carefully placed pen from the left side of desk calendar to the right side and get a kick out of his puzzled expression when he found his order disturbed. It probably wasn’t very nice of me to interfere with his need for order, but it did help me get over my grudge at having my piles disturbed!

Posted by Yama Nusraty on 9/16/09
In my work experience, I have to deal with what has to be the most worthless courtesy clerks ever to be employed by Safeway. Courtesy clerk is the name given to the entry level position which limits the responsibilities of the employee to the most basic of duties (cleaning, bringing back grocery carts and helping customers). One courtesy clerk in particular takes the ticket. I’ll call him Randy. A typical workday for Randy consists of him clocking in 5-10 minutes late, walking around the store aimlessly for the entire shift, and then clocking out 5-10 minutes early. My last work shift, I thought it would be wise to show Randy what real work was all about, so I found 4 different dairy products that were out of date and asked Randy to throw them away. Since the product was outdated, Randy had to go through all other similar products on the shelf to see if they too were outdated. Later that evening, I brought in a grocery cart from outside and started to fill random groceries in it. When the cart was filled to an ample amount, I handed Randy the cart and told him a customer forgot his wallet and didn’t want to buy the groceries anymore. Randy was forced to put the items away. By the end of the day Randy earned his paycheck.

Posted on 1/23/09 by Spike
While this is not necessarily a funny example, I think it is a great example of passive aggressive behavior. I work in an industry that employs many blue collar workers working at an hourly rate. By nature of the job they have very little leverage over their boss, the manager. They are easily replaced by a new worker who can become proficient at their task in a matter of days or weeks. The only time they have any leverage is that once a year when the manager tries to squeeze in that much needed vacation. This is the time they choose to quit without notice or just stop showing up, leaving the manager in a lurch and not able to take their vacation. This is not something I have seen happen once or twice but more like forty or fifty times! As with most passive aggressive personalities these people are willing to do damage to themselves just to get at their intended target. These employees often work at the job for several years and do excellent work until they quit abruptly. When a potentially new employer calls the old employer for a reference on the employee. The answer is always a negative one, Terminated – Job abandonment. In the short term the employee sticks it to the manager, but in the long term it is the employee who suffers.

What kind of passive aggression is going on in your workplace?

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