In this time of distance and online learning, kids are – for lack of a better term – running around wild on the Internet. Kids, both young and old, are now regular users of call and chat apps and are regularly video calling and chatting with each other. Both for school and socially. And while this might be a good thing especially with their limited social life due to the pandemic, parents should also remember to teach their kids good etiquette on the Internet or netiquette.
Here are a few netiquette for kids to start with:
Only write something online that you’d also say in person.
This is commonly referred to as the golden rule in online etiquette, but also one that’s most easily violated as well. Oftentimes, kids (and even adults) forget that almost everyone can see the things they write or post online. They think that just because they “say” it online and not out loud to the other person, it doesn’t count. So remind your kids that typing something on the chat box is equivalent to saying it out loud to that person. It might even be worse as anyone can read the message as well. Parents should make their kids understand that being mindful of their chat conversations could lead to embarrassment, ruined friendships, and generally, trouble for everyone. Emphasize that she should still be kind and respectful online.
Know when to log off and respect others’ time.
It might be easy to stay online and chat or call any time on their mobile devices, but parents should still teach their kids the importance of logging off and respecting others’ offline time as well. Encourage them to make time to enjoy offline activities. At the same time, remind them that they cannot call or send messages to their friends 24/7. Tell them that it’s better to keep calls or chats with their friends on a schedule that’s convenient for everyone. And not to call during class times or asynchronous classes, ungodly night hours, or even persistently throughout the day. And more importantly, remind them that the number of class chats or video calls is in no way a measure of her worth. A classmate or friend being unresponsive on chats or calls should not be taken personally.
Stay away from flame wars.
Along with being kind and respectful, parents should also teach their kids the importance of signing out when an online debate gets too heated or “tuning out” unnecessary noise online. Tell your child that it’s better to vent out any of her frustrations offline – either to you or her closest friends.
Discourage “net speak.”
Or “jejespeak” or “textspeak” for that matter. Using acronyms or word shortcuts might be easier and faster than typing out complete words or sentences online, but using these frequently can result in bad habits and even bad grammar and spelling. And some words or acronyms might even come off as disrespectful to others who might not understand it as easily. Encourage her to type out whole words and sentences, especially in school-related chats and other official communications. Conversing in a grammatically correct way in chats and even social media posts is a good practice that could go a long way.
Not everything is for sharing.
It might be easy to share links, photos, videos, or even screenshots online, but it doesn’t mean that they can do so anytime. Parents should remind their kids to respect each other and not to share their private messages and other media to other people without permission. And media or links sent to them are better kept to themselves.
Ultimately, parents should teach their kids that respect, decency, and kindness are all best observed even in online interactions. Doing so will ensure that they will feel good in the virtual world as they do in the physical one.
*Originally published in MomCenter