‘Chew with your mouth closed’
‘Say please and thank you’
‘Don’t interrupt – wait your turn to speak’
How many times have you issued those commands? Me – thousands!
Teaching our kids manners and safety is something many parents just do automatically. We provide the hot tips as we go about our daily lives. But how many of us extend our advice to cyber issues?
Recent research by McAfee entitled Tweens, Teens and Technology highlighted that our kids are embracing technology with great gusto. Not only are our tweens (8-12 year olds) using between 3-4 internet enabled devices and spending 1.5 hours per day online but 67% of them are using a social media website such as Skype, Facebook, Club Penguin and Instagram.
Being a good cyber citizen and smart operator online is absolutely critical in our digital age. So instilling online safety messages into our children should be one of our biggest priorities as parents in the 21st Century.
Here are my top 5 online etiquette rules that will help your child become a good cyber citizen.
1. Treat others online as you would like to be treated. If you or your kids are ever in doubt about how to handle an online situation – always revert back to this rule. The right course of action will become crystal clear.
2. Double check before you hit ‘send’. Play attention to typos, grammar and most importantly tone – these all help to create an impression of you online aka your digital reputation.
3. Don’t say something online that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face. If you have an issue with someone, don’t raise it online. In person is always best.
4. Understand that you will never agree with everyone online. There is a polite way of sharing your opinion online without attacking or abusing others. Harassing or attacking others online aka ‘flaming’ is not acceptable at all. Not only will you lose online friends but it will damage your online reputation real fast!
5. UNDERSTAND WHEN TO USE CAPS. Typing in caps means you are shouting. It is OK to use a word here or there but don’t do it all the time. It is aggressive and hard on the eyes.
Next time your kids ask to go online (or you find them online) why not take the opportunity to throw in a few of the above netiquette tips. And if they roll their eyes – ignore them. You wouldn’t let them visit a friend’s house without a timely reminder to use their manners – there is no difference! Whether it is offline or online, good manners are essential.