All Internet users should know the unwritten rules for good online behaviour. Kids and Media is here to help you.
As in all public places, there are certain generally accepted rules for behaviour and etiquette on the Internet. It is important for both adults and children to know these rules, and we recommend parents to make sure that their children follow the rules in all their online activities.
Guidelines for netiquette
- Follow the same rules for good behaviour as you do in real life.
- Treat others the way you would like to be treated.
- Remind yourself that there is a person on the other end of your message.
- Know where you are and use appropriate good behaviour.
- Forgive other people's mistakes, especially newcomers.
- Always remain calm, especially if someone insults you (or you think they have – misunderstandings are common on the Internet, as central elements in human communication, such as body language, eye contact and tone of voice, are absent).
- Avoid typing with the ‘Caps Lock’ on to emphasize – SOME USERS SEE THIS AS A WAY TO BE YELLING, AND IS CONSIDERED TO BE VERY RUDE. This is the case whether you are writing in an e-mail, on a message board, chat room, website or news group.
- Don’t use inappropriate or offensive language.
- Use your online name or nickname consistently and sign all messages with it (but protect your real identity by never using your full name – unless it is absolutely necessary).
- Do not use someone else's name and pretend to be them.
- Don't send or forward junk e-mail (commonly referred to as spam).
- Stay out of continual, emotional arguments or "flame wars."
- Check your spelling, be concise, and keep messages short.
- When you participate in chat rooms, don’t interrupt others and stay on topic.
As a way of dealing with the fact that it is difficult to express emotions, intentions or tone of voice using text, early Internet users invented emoticons. These are virtual facial expressions made from basic keyboard characters, such as the colon sign and parentheses. Just remember to tilt your head – emoticons are rotated 90 degrees :-)
:-) Happy or facetious
;-) Winking smile
:-( Sad or “I’m sorry”
:-| Stern face, ambivalent
:-o Surprised or worried
:-p Poke tongue (usually as a joke)
Emoticons are simple and fun to use, and help communicate humour and sarcasm. You can even make your own :-}
Common online acronyms
Experienced Internet users like to reduce common phrases to a few simple letters. This is another way to facilitate simple and fast online communication.
ASAP – As soon as possible
BBL – Be back later
BRB – Be right back
AFK – Away from keyboard
BTW – By the way
CUL – See you later
GMTA – Great minds think alike
IMHO – In my humble opinion
J/K – Just kidding
LOL – Laughing out loud
ROTFL – Rolling on the floor laughing
RUOK – Are you OK?
THX – Thanks
TIA – Thanks in advance
TTFN – Ta-ta for now
If you encounter an acronym you haven't seen yet, politely ask what it means and you'll have a great acronym vocabulary before you know it.
There are also quite a few nasty phrases among the common acronyms, and some of them include the f-word. Knowing that they exist might help parents prevent their children from using them.
Some nasty acronyms:
WTF – What the f***?
STFU – Shut the f*** up
FFS – For f***’s sake
But don't let the fact that there are some nasty acronyms stop you from approving of them. As in real life, swear words and nasty phrases will always exist. If emoticons and acronyms are used in accordance with the unwritten rules of netiquette, this is a fun, simple and fast way to communicate for children and adults alike.
For further useful information on proper netiquette watch this video from Howcast. Just press the play button at the top of the right hand column to watch the clip.
BBC - Webwise
Ask Bruce!: What is netiquette?
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