Appropriate social behavior offline, holds online as well. It is important to teach your teen morals they can apply to any situation, whether behind a keyboard or not.
Here are some ideas about Online Social Etiquette, Teen Safety and the prevention of Cyber-bullying:
1. Be kind, courteous, honest and polite when online
Lessons you have learned about social behavior applies to your online presence as well. Your words online represent who you are as a person. Be sure you represent yourself well.
2. Don’t forward hurtful emails to or about others
If you are upset with someone, have the courage and consideration to speak respectfully to them about your concerns. Bashing others in an anonymous fashion does not resolve problems.
3. Don’t post photos or videos of embarrassing personal moments
Although possibly humorous at the time, you really do not want photos of yourself (or others) floating around forever on the Internet for all to see. Those photos may later come back to haunt you in the form of damaging your (or someone else’s) reputation.
4. Don’t visit sites that put down other people
Even though you may not be posting the damaging commentary, viewing hurtful information about others for the sake of your entertainment is still just as wrong. (as you are encouraging that behavior)
5. Speak out against online cyber-bullying
If you are witness to someone you know being bashed online, you have the opportunity to name it as “bullying.” If you do not feel safe doing so, then you can report the information to a trusted adult.
6. Don’t believe vicious rumors that are being spread online
Just because you read something online does not mean it is true. There is a saying in our legal system: “Innocent until proven guilty.” Do not jump in and continue the spread of lies designed to hurt someone.
7. Protect your password
Often, friends share their password for the sake of being able to post things on other’s walls, pretending to be someone else. The problem is, you can get in a lot of trouble for the things your “friend” posts using your name.
8. Make sure to know the person you add to your “friends” list
Although it can be a game to accumulate as many “friends” as possible, it is safer to limit your Facebook “friends” to the people who actually are. Predators, often posing as teens, may ask to become a “friend” so that they can learn about a teen’s routines and their location.
9. Don’t engage in online exchanges with cyber-bullies
Let’s say someone is bullying you online. DO NOT RESPOND TO THEM ONLINE. Instead, block the sender’s email and/or delete them from your “friend’s” list. Then copy and save the cyber-bullying message in a file to use for evidence should you ever decide to make a report to school, police or the Internet provider.
**Note: If you enjoyed this article, learn more about my work on Facebook – Sandra Dupont–LA Teen Therapist