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Parents, help your kids be safe and learn good online etiquette

Aug 27, 2015

Please” or “Thank you” are basic steps that we, as parents, want to teach to our children for the good of their integration at the society since the early age.

This is the so-called Etiquette; it means a code of behavior that defines expectations for social behavior.

Why is it important? Children who grow up without this social code may not develop the right skills for interacting with others and are at a greater risk of conflict when interacting with their peers. Teaching etiquette and manners start at home.

But new generations brings with it new channels of communication. It turns out that the qualities of respect, kindness, honesty, self-esteem, and thoughtfulness are also important in an online environment – the Net.

To build this new behavior code parents have to be a good role model as kids are like sponges soaking up everything around them. They’ll absorb your actions on a daily basis and even your online behavior will be mimicked so setting the right example on and offline is a responsibility as a parent.

So here you have a short guide when communicating on the Internet, for you and your kids, also know as Netiquette:

Respect – Stress the importance of treating others the same way they like to be treated – being polite will develop your child’s relationship building skills.  When chatting or in a chat group, avoid name calling, gossip, negative talk about classmates or discussing personal and controversial topics such as religion, politics, sex, race or ethnicity. Be courteous, kind and considerate of others online. Even though you’re behind a computer, your words identify who you are. Set boundaries on what is acceptable and not acceptable discussion online.

Use appropriate language & emoticons – Be conscious of what you say as unkind words and actions can cause hurt feelings. Watch the use of emoticons and punctuation when to trying to convey your meaning and be clear in your communication to minimize misunderstandings. Avoid writing in all caps as it’s rude and is considered the equivalent of verbally SHOUTING and being ‘in your face.’ Remember that when you’re online no else can see your body language, facial expressions or hear the tone of your voice.

Think before you send – Pictures, texts, email, and videos can all be posted, copied, forwarded, downloaded and reconfigured with PhotoShop. If you think something might embarrass someone, invade their privacy or stir up drama, do not send it out. You can’t retrieve it once it’s sent or posted and it will remain in cyberspace forever.

Create a safe screen name – Encourage your kids to think about the impression that screen names can make so they won’t choose provocative or identifiable nicknames that can lead to name calling or bullying.

Cyberbullying – This is the use of technology to harass, threaten, embarrass or target another person. If targeted by a cyberbully, do not respond because it will lead to a never-ending cycle of verbally bashing one another. Keep all original correspondence with dates and times if possible. If the messages are of a threatening nature or safety is a concern, contact local law enforcement as soon as possible.

How conscious are you about Netiquette?

Are you a good Netiquette citizen?

By Ángela R.


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