Endorsing Netiquette for Teens
Being safe on the internet often results from using some internet manners. Here are a few rules of etiquette to teach to your teen (and to adapt yourself).
DON’T USE ALL CAPS: My intro to PR professor taught us this rule in my first year of college after high school. Using CAPS LOCK makes it appear like you are shouting at the other person. Be careful.
Respect others’ time on IM: When you start messaging someone, you may catch them while they are dinking around on Facebook, or when they are writing their 50-page paper on endoplasmic mutations in the new strain of the hamster flu. Being unable to see the other person makes it easy to catch them at a bad time. Find out what they are up to before going off on a diatribe about your ex-boyfriend’s social life.
Be careful with sarcasm: In a novel, authors often use adjectives to describe how something is being said. For example, “I love spinach,” Horace said loftily. That phrase, “I love spinach” could be said pridefully (as suggested above), with happy and eager anticipation, or sarcastically. Unfortunately, I have never received an email that indicated the tone of voice used by the sender. People are often left to conjecture what the writer means when he or she writes something. Using emoticons can help you to indicate your mood.
Farmville: Seriously?! Unless you know beyond the tiniest shadow of a doubt that your friend would love to buy a rooster, don’t send out app invites. Other reincarnations of Farmville are included in this. I will not join your group of zombies, aliens, mafia, cops Nobody It is annoying.
Respond quickly: 48 hours is too long a time to wait before responding to someone. Don’t let emails sit in your inbox for weeks on end. Send a reply and be done with the thing. If people post on your wall on Monday and see that you commented on a picture on a Tuesday (without having responded to them), they’re going to feel like they’re being ignored. If you don’t know what to say to respond but want to acknowledge their post in a friendly way, you might try simply “liking” it.
Don’t upload embarrassing pictures of other people: Be extremely careful when you post pictures on the web. Employers frequently visit the profiles of their job applicants to get a sense for what kind of person they are. Your friend may not be as excited to share with the world what you two did in Las Vegas last weekend as you are.
Although anybody can untag themselves from a picture they don’t want associated with them, nobody can force another user to take down a picture (unless it is deemed in appropriate by Facebook’s Terms of Service).
Don’t post hateful content: It is rude. People who post simply to get a reaction are called trolls. Don’t do it. If you get “trolled,” usually it’s best to delete the comment, report it, or ignore it. If you are
Pass this on to 10 people or ____: You’ve probably seen this thousands of times: “Send this 10 people and you will get a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup!” or “If you don’t repost this on your profile, your girlfriend will get mono,” or even “If you don’t pass this on, you have a black soul” (heaven forbid!). Believe it or not, I know of no major world religion that teaches that your eternal salvation is rooted in whether or not you regularly forward dramatic emails. Don’t pass it on. It’s usually just irksome to others.
Some more Facebook Stuff: Bi-minutely status updates are not necessary nor good. On a prolific day you may have two status updates. That is often more than enough. Stop writing about what you are doing during the day and just do it! For that matter, posting a long string of complaints day after day becomes tedious. Yes, it’s OK to commiserate the failure of a test or an unfortunate break up, but posting eight two-paragraph diatribes each day is excessive. Writing out words using long strings of characters is also a fast route to the my bad list. And finally, don’t add people you don’t know! It’s annoying.
About the Writer
Derek is a web content editor for My Colleges and Careers. If you are thinking about pursuing a college degree, My Colleges and Careers can help connect you with the online degree program you need to help you land the job you’ve always wanted.
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