Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Monday, October 8, 2012

5 Rules of Netiquette for Kids

1. Choose Your Words Carefully
 If you wouldn’t say something to a person’s face, don’t send it via text or the internet.  Technology makes it too easy to say things that are impulsive or unkind.   Also, the person reading your message can’t see your expressions or hear your tone of voice.  Sarcasm and humor often get lost in translation on the ‘net, so avoid their use.  Type carefully as well; avoid using ALL CAPS since they make it look like you are angry or YELLING.

2.  The Internet is Not a Weapon
Don’t gossip about other people while you are online.  Your words can be misinterpreted, manipulated, and forwarded without your permission.  Plus, it’s not fair to talk about people when they can’t defend themselves.  Likewise, social media sites should not be used to strategically exclude peers who are “on the outs” of a peer group or to “de-friend” a person after a fight. 

3. Who is this Message For?
What happens in cyberspace stays in cyberspace—forever!  Though you may think you are sending your private message or photo to a single recipient, keep in mind that it can be cut, pasted, and forwarded to an infinite number of people. Never post a photo or message that you wouldn’t want “everyone” to be able to view.

4. WWMT?
Stop and ask yourself, “What would Mom think if she read this?”  Post accordingly!  

5. Take it Slow
In this immediate world of instant messaging and constant contact, you may be tempted to say whatever comes to your mind in a given moment.  Don’t do it!  Slow down and think before you post whatever thought, comeback, or reaction is on your mind--especially if you are feeling an intense emotion like anger or sadness. Wait until you have had a chance to think things through and cool your head before you post a message that can’t be taken back.

Signe Whitson is a national educator on bullying and author of Friendship & Other Weapons: Group Activities to Help Young Girls Cope with Bullying.  For workshop inquiries, please visit  

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