Online Etiquette: What Is Netiquette?

Have you ever thought about how we can easily be taught how to use a computer and the Internet, but no one teaches us online etiquette  (internet etiquette also known as netiquette)? I’m often surprised how many people have amazing skills while engaging with the technology, whether they are searching a site, creating a web page, fixing a computer glitz or creating groups and forums, just to name a few. But I’m often just as surprised how some people have an apparent lack of knowledge of how to protect their personal information and how to be respectful to others while online.

Stay Safe Online

What is Internet Privacy Data Protection?

It’s almost like the feeling of perceived anonymity allows people to participate in social interactions that would not be acceptable face to face with other individuals. So, sad to say, it seems as if sometimes, ‘anything goes’ without a thought about the effect on others. The truth of the matter is, that being online leaves a digital footprint that can be tracked if ever there is a need by Internet providers or authorities.

WATCH: Netiquette Basics

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Media Etiquette

Teens today have discovered that with the click of a button, they can send messages, photos and videos around the world, not thinking that there could be consequences for their actions. With all of the media attention about cyber bullying during the past few months, we know what can happen when teens are bullied (what is cyberbullying), stalked and harassed in the privacy of their own bedrooms. We have learned about the effects of words and inappropriate posted pictures that can have life long implications, often with tragic outcomes.

Read about the latest statistics in cyber bullying

What we don’t often think about is that many of our simple interactions online might have impact in a way that we do not anticipate. When we share our day’s experiences on facebook or other social media sites, we leave an impression on others. We need to think about how we have joined a cyber culture of telling all and how this has evolved into ‘over sharing’ many of our personal thoughts and feelings Digital Revolution: Media Effects. Those who are receiving our messages and posts may not understand or interpret them the way we intended them.

Internet Ethics

We also need to be aware that ‘tagging’ someone else in a photo is inappropriate without their permission as this can cross the personal boundary of a friend who may choose to not have their pictures online. Most teens are not aware that any videos they post online that are recording for example, a school yard fight, can be an illegal post as they are participating in obstructing a crime scene. Youth need to be taught that a video that involves any illegal activity should be reported to their school administrators and/or authorities.

There are legal consequences that we need to be aware about so we can educate our teens while they have access to the Internet through their computer or cell phone.

Tips in discussing the internet with your kids


  • For everything we do online we need to take the time to think about what we are posting when we press ‘send.’ Will we regret sending it the next day? Is it hurtful to others? Is it the truth?
  • It’s important to realize that, ‘One click and it’s out there forever.’ No matter how hard we try, once we have posted a message, a photo or video, it’s out there in cyberspace forever. The initial post can be taken down, but every ‘click’ after we post is not retrievable.
  • Protect your personal information, do not share with just anyone who asks. We would not do this in person, so let’s teach our children that it’s just as important online, if not more so then.

What Next? Learn to talk to your kids about their social media habits.