Information for Today's Digital Citizens

Seven Rules To Be Cyber-Friendly

1. Context is everything. Use informal nicknames for the right place. Use formal communication for school, work, etc. Make sure that usernames are situationally appropriate.

2. Double-check before hitting "send" or "post." THINK before posting or sending any communication. Could it be misinterpreted? Could it be misunderstood? Is it rude, mean, sarcastic, or unfriendly? If so, don't send it. Walk away from the device and come back later.

3. Take the high road (but don't brag about it). Be aware that texting, chatting and status updates are all "in-the-moment" types of communication. If the situation is escalating, sign off or walk away. A response can always be written and not sent or posted.

4. Grammar RULES! While grammar may be exaggerated in the cyber-universe, context is important. Using shortened grammar or chatspeak works in informal communication such as a text with a friend, but formal communication such as email or school assignments should reflect proper grammar and represent the best self of the sender.

5. Keep a secret. In the world of Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Vine and other services, graphics, images, text and videos can be posted, copied or forwarded instantly. If something may embarrass someone, get a person in trouble, cause problems or difficulties for someone else, or compromise an individual's privacy, keep it private...and possibly delete it. Once it is on the internet, it is there forever!

6. Anonymity is not a cloak of invisibility. Use an untraceable screen name to hide offline true identities, but don't hide behind the anonymity of the screen to hurt another person. Post responsibly and productively.

7. Remember the Golden Rule. Never say something online that couldn't or wouldn't be said to the individual on the other side of the screen in person. If something negative has to be discussed, it is better to do it in person than over the net.


Knorr, C. (2011, May 5). 7 Rules to Teach Kids Online Etiquette. Retrieved March 23, 2015, from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/7-rules-to-teach-kids-online-etiquette

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