Written by Jo Langford, M.A.

The social rules of sharing the internet with other humans is called netiquette: things such as respectful language, friending and following wisely, fact-checking, and other positive online social skills. Read below to learn some important tips and tools for using good digital etiquette online.

Social Media
  • Let others choose when their photos, conversations, and locations are posted and always ask before invading someone’s privacy by tagging them without permission.
  • Avoid negativity, cussing, oversharing, spoiling, poor grammar, and misspellings. Do not post when rushed, exhausted, intoxicated, or very angry.
  • Always assume that anything you share on social media can be shared with everyone including teachers, grandparents, police, employers, or classmates.
  • Do not invest your time, energy, or money in apps that mask your identity, hide your behavior, promote cruel behavior, encourage you to lie, or make it easy for you to be located by people you do not know.
Screen Time
  • Avoid areas of the web that focus on negative, inappropriate, or unsafe sexual depictions as well as sites that promote hate speech, bigotry, or other forms of prejudice.
  • Do not waste your time or energy trying to argue with or correct people that use the internet to spread hate or things that are not true.
  • Think through the consequences of your actions, understand the impact of your behavior on others, and behave appropriately, responsibly, and safely so as to protect your family, friends, and yourself.
  • Do not reciprocate when others behave negatively, and remove yourself from the situation if/when you become too angry.
  • Be polite in your interactions online, using the same manners, language, and level of respect that you would in public. Do not say anything in a chat, email, or post that you would not say in public or want a caregiver or teacher to overhear.
  • Balance your online life with real time, positive human contact, socially responsible and age-appropriate activities, relationships, and physical exercise.