Net Etiquette rules developed as more people began to communicate and interact on the Internet. There is no way to avoid the digital social interaction that will almost certainly become a large part of children growing up in this age of evolving technological devices.

Parents need to have regular conversations with their children about online safety, digital etiquette and cyber bullying. Children are more likely to behave properly online when they know and understand what is expected of them.
Below are examples of good net etiquette rules for your children to follow:

  1. Treat others how you want to be treated. Sometimes children need to be reminded about good manners, even online. Make a point of stressing that sometimes it is better to discuss sensitive issues with the person directly rather than sending a hurtful email or posting something online.
  1. Keep your friends’ secrets – ask your child how they would feel if one of their embarrassing moments or photos was posted on the web for the world to see.
  1. Before you join in a discussion on the web, always check that your questions and comments are relevant to the group. It is a good idea to “lurk” or watch the conversation before joining in.
  1. Double check your messages before you hit the send button – teach your child to slow down and think about their post or comments, and that once sent there is no way to take back their words.
  1. Never respond to threatening or rude messages anywhere – on message boards, newsgroups, social media platforms or chat.
  1. If a conversation makes you feel uncomfortable – always leave the chat
  1. Never get involved in a text shouting match between two or more people
  1. Never type in capital letters as this is considered to be shouting on the internet
  1. If you wish to forward a personal email to others, first check with the original sender that it is OK to do so; and if you do forward, make sure that personal email addresses of others are kept private and secure.

Remember teaching children how to interact online is an ongoing process and not just listing a set of rules or a one off conversation.  It requires parents to interact with their children on a regular basis and use real life situations as learning experiences.

If you have worries about your children, whether related to Net Etiquette or any other aspect of their behaviour, please do contact me for an informal discussion. Sharing a problem is halfway toward resolving it.

Your Family Coach

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