Http No Bullying Com Tips For Proper Netiquette For Kids The Golden Rule of Netiquette

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The Golden Rule of Netiquette

Do you have good “netiquette?” Do your children use proper netiquette? Do you think the Internet should be a free for all, do-what-you-want kind of place? Or do you believe in the need for strong ethical guidelines in cyberspace? Is there a Golden Rule of Netiquette?

The Golden Rule of Netiquette: Never say to someone online, something you would never say to their face. Sounds pretty simple. Yet cyberspace rudeness and misbehavior is running rampant, especially with teens. Cyber bullying is no joke. With the popularity of social media sites and the fact that most kids are way ahead of their parents when it comes to technology, many parents may feel inadequate when it comes to instilling online ethics.

It’s easy for teens, and even some adults, to get off course when it comes to “behaving” on the Internet. After all, on a computer or cell phone, if we choose to we can remain anonymous. The use of a clever user name and no photo, means I can say whatever I want, right? This is how cyber bullies are thriving online. They can be invisible and there’s no one to challenge their behavior.

So what are the basic rules of online etiquette and how can we teach our children to be good digital citizens? Following is a list I compiled from several sources and my own experiences, briefly outlining some basic guidelines for appropriate online behavior:

  • Of course the Golden Rule again, never say to someone online, something you would never say to their face – a must-know rule for everyone and the first one teens should learn.
  • Appropriate Language – remember no one else can see your body language, facial expressions, or hear the tone of your voice. Did you know that only about 10% of what people take away from something we say, comes from our actual words? Ninety percent of what they will get from us, they get from our body language and tone of voice. Online, others only have our written words – choose them wisely.
  • Make a Good Impression- this is a biggie for everyone and a must know for teens when using social media sites such as My Space and Facebook. In many school districts now, teachers and administrators are accessing these social media sites to “check-up” on their students. I also recently heard about some companies perusing social media sites to help them make hiring decisions. So keep that in mind when you’re job hunting!
  • You Are Not As Anonymous As You Think – blogs, emails, websites – they can often be traced back to you. So don’t send SPAM, use distribution lists properly, don’t forward chain letters, don’t use social media sites only for personal promotion of your business, and don’t prolong flame wars beyond the point of being interesting to anyone.
  • Obey Copyright Laws – another important one for teens, especially for music downloading and plagiarism. You can visit the Library of Congress to read their guide on Copyright Basics.

To instill good online ethics, first and foremost we must set the example for our children. It may sound like a no-brainer, but this is really one of the most effective ways to teach them. When our children see us using technology inappropriately, they will assume it’s okay for them to do the same. As parents we try to be aware of the example we are setting in the non-digital aspects of life, it should be no different for the appropriate use of the Internet, cell phones, etc.

As with any other type of behavior, try to catch your teens doing the right thing and reward them. Even if the reward is merely complimenting them on making a good choice. This means more to them than you might think and will empower them to make the right choices in the future, even when it means going against their peers.

Follow through with consequences for inappropriate behavior in cyberspace or on cell phones. With our current culture being obsessed with self-esteem, parents are not holding children accountable when they make bad choices. Kids need to be able to hear your voice in their heads telling them “I probably shouldn’t do this, because Mom and Dad wouldn’t like it.” And believe it or not, no matter what teens may say, what parents think really does matter to them.

So far there is no universal agreement on exactly what the the Golden Rule of netiquette is and how deeply ethics should be involved in the use of all our digital devices. To make matters more frustrating, as digital technology rapidly evolves, creating a framework for a solidified set of guidelines seems to be ever more elusive.

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