Online Etiquette: Think Before You Click
Are you a member of Generation Rude? Unaware of online etiquette? Not you, you say...you say please and thank you, you hold the door open for those behind you, you give up your seat if an older person is standing. Good to know. But does that same code of behavior carry through when you're visiting cyberspace? Under the cloak of a screen name, do you find that you're less sensitive to someone else's feelings? Less conscious of respecting a friend's privacy? More likely to pass on false information? Less aware of online etiquette? The good news —and the bad news —is that you're not alone. It's an unfortunate fact that the more wired teens become, the worse their online etiquette becomes. When texting, emailing and instant messaging, the normal rules of etiquette evaporate. Words fly back and forth that would never be uttered face-to-face. Rumors are spread, feelings are hurt, and reputations are ruined —silently and at the speed of light. So what can you do to stop the madness? Here are our online etiquette guidelines to help you back on the road to positive, polite posting! Silence is golden. Use the vibrate feature in restaurants, museums, movie theaters, libraries, and public bathrooms. If you must converse, make it brief. There is no changing your mind in cyberspace. Don't assume anything you send or post is going to remain private. There are thousands of sad stories to prove that messages get passed around, even when you think they won't. Thirty-nine percent of teens say they have had a sexually suggestive message...originally meant to be private...shown to them. Every message leaves a trail and never truly goes away. What it says can come back to haunt you. Before sending an angry IM, take your finger off the send button and do something else for five minutes. There's a good chance you'll cool down and be glad you waited. Resist giving in to the pressure of doing anything that makes you uncomfortable. Something fun and flirty and done on a whim will be accessible to college recruiters, teachers, coaches, parents, friends, enemies and strangers...even after you delete it! Be polite and remember online etiquette. Never say anything in a phone message you wouldn't normally say to someone in person. Keep in mind even if someone only knows you by your screen name, online profile, or email address, they can find you if they put their mind to it. Think about the reaction your message might engender. Online etiquette doesn't take intention of words into account, because you meant what you wrote to be fun doesn't mean it will be interpreted that way. It's easier to be outgoing and provocative online so be aware your words are contributing to the real-life impression you're making. Texting is an enormous tool offering companionship and the promise of connectedness. Don't abuse the gift by acting mean, crass or disrespectful. Always remember online etiquette!
Learn about online etiquette and get helpful tips and advice at BeingGirl.com.