How should you carry yourself online

Ever since the digital age started, a huge chunk of the population is now on the Internet. It’s almost close to impossible that you meet someone who doesn’t have a Facebook account, watch YouTube videos and post their beach getaways on Instagram. It has opened lots of doors when it comes to human interaction, helping you talk to people who are miles away from you.

However, the rise of the Internet has also caused major problems, including cyberbullying and oversharing inappropriate content. Lots of people have experienced something where they were publicly humiliated on forums, and their personal lives have been intruded on by people they don’t know. 

If you’ve gone through this, then you know that these things can stick for a long time and haunt you for days on end. Sadly, the Internet has affected relationships, damaged reputations and revealed private information.

So, to help you protect your reputation and respect fellow netizens, take a look at these basic netiquette rules:

Be mindful of what you share

In just a couple of clicks, you can now practically share your entire life story. Every social media platform—Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube—allows you to post pictures, videos and other content about everything. This encourages people to share about their lives, including chaotic weekend parties, family secrets and marital problems.

What motivates them even more to overshare is that whatever they post can be deleted and taken down. However, you have to keep in mind that even though you have the option to delete your posts, the things you share may stay on the Internet forever. Other people can replicate them by taking screenshots and posting them on their profiles for their benefit.

To avoid this issue, here are the things that are acceptable to post online:

  • Music playlists
  • Educational PowerPoint presentations
  • Harmless photos
  • Infographics

Never share your private information such as email addresses, phone numbers and other confidential matters about your identity. If you make this mistake, your chances of being a victim of identity theft are increased.

Do a fact check

One of the downsides of the Internet is it has given birth to the age of misinformation, spreading fake news, rumours and misinterpreted statements. Others would even go over the line and share wrong information about diseases, as well as fake coupons used for scamming.

Facebook, a social media platform created by Mark Zuckerberg, is the breeding ground for misleading news. Multiple lawsuits have been filed against the platform for deceptive practices when it comes to sharing information. It has been proven to allow hate speech and disinformation spread across the site, putting everyone’s identity on the line. 

It’s important to perform fact-checking, especially if you’re visiting a sketchy website. Not everything you see online is factual, so take the time to do some research before clicking the share button.

Here’s how you can identify fake news:

Research about the author

Before reading the article, search for their profiles online and check their credibility as a writer. Fake news peddlers often carry bad reputations, and their whole career is built on spreading lies and engaging in sketchy journalism practices. Know their motivation first so you can save yourself the headache of reading pure misinformation.

Be critical

If you’ve ever read fake news, then you can see that some of them are well-written. The whole article is designed in a way that could elicit a reaction, often a violent one. They aim to provoke anger, fear and hatred among the users to help them generate sales through clicks. 

Always ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are they trying to sell me a certain product?
  • Is the article attempting to forcibly push values, beliefs and viewpoints that I don’t necessarily agree with? 
  • Is the writer trying to provoke me into leaving a terrible comment on the article so they can earn something?

Use fact-checking websites

If you’re unsure whether an article is genuine or not, try these fact-checking websites:

  • PolitiFact
  • Snopes
  • BBC Reality Check

Show decency

Try visiting the comment section of YouTube and you’d observe how vile and disrespectful other users are. They’d usually pick on someone’s flaws, leave derogatory remarks and share their condescending comments no one wants to hear. From name-calling, cursing and bullying, respect can sometimes be nowhere to be found when you’re on the Internet.

Most users do this because they make an anonymous account and assume it can never be traced back to them. However, this is not entirely true. The platform you’re using may ban you for life and warn other users about you. 

You should also remember that people from different backgrounds are in the same space as you. Each one of you has different political views, religious beliefs and political stands. Always assume that whatever you say can offend someone even if you don’t intend to, so think twice before you post.

Some posts online can potentially trigger you. You might not agree with someone’s stand on fashion or politics, and this might lead you to become hurtful towards other people. So when you find your temper getting out of control, it’s best to move on with your day instead of involving yourself in an online argument.

This doesn’t mean to say that you don’t engage at all. You can do so by properly educating other people, especially if their beliefs are grounded on misinformation. Instead of spreading insults, give them facts and educational sources. Remember, you cannot fight fire with fire!

Moreover, the hate speech phenomenon is getting worse by the day. Plenty of users engage in discussions where they openly say racist, homophobic and offensive remarks. If you come across this type of content, immediately report them.

Respect other people’s privacy

When people share their personal information with you, it is never recommended that you forward them to anybody else. If they find out that you did, you will lose their trust and put their privacy at risk. Refrain from taking screenshots, forwarding confidential emails or posting other people’s photos online without their consent.

Just because you’re on the Internet doesn’t mean you have the right to give away anyone’s data. 

Teach your kids how to properly use the Internet

If you’re a parent and your child has access to the Internet, they must be well-versed in netiquette rules. Before giving them gadgets, talk to your child about the possible dangers of the digital age in a way they’d understand. Tell them not to give out personal information to strangers, especially with the multiplayer games they want to play.

Guide them when they have to register on websites. Make sure that they use neutral nicknames and their privacy settings are secure. If possible, don’t post their pictures at all.

Don’t spam

In the age of social media, you might feel like everyone is always available. You see them updating their Facebook profiles, posting new vlogs and writing new writeups on their blogs. Also, that little yellow dot beside their name has become the new indication of their availability.

This is why people often feel that it’s more than okay to spam someone. You might be tempted to repeatedly send them messages and ask questions because you see they’re active on social media. But if you want to maintain your online relationship, this is what you should never do.

Be courteous enough to reply

Although you don’t have to reply to every crazy text you receive daily, you still have to send a response to your loved ones and colleagues. If you don’t have the time to focus on the message, send them a quick heads-up that you might take longer to get back to them.

This is especially true when it comes to emails at work. Oftentimes, the mere thought of opening them is already stressful, so you take weeks before you can respond. However, keep in mind that ignoring them won’t make them go away, so try to finish them as soon as you can.

Practice basic netiquette rules with Socially Savvy

When you’re faceless and anonymous, it feels like you have the complete freedom to do whatever you want. This is what makes the Internet extremely appealing, helping you hide behind the computer screen without consequences. You now have the chance to say things that you could never say in person, close your laptop and go about your business as usual.

This type of behaviour could not only get you into trouble, but it can also possibly ruin someone’s life in the process. Things can quickly escalate and trigger conflicts that could have been avoided if the parties involved are decent. So, to stay away from these situations, enrol in our classes now at Socially Savvy!

Become a responsible internet user and make sure to practice basic netiquette when interacting with people online. Learn more important information when you visit our site today!

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