Online behaviour or netiquette is a guide to the finer points of minding your manners online. A few simple checks and rules can make all the difference to how you are understood and perceived online.
While You're Writing
Email and texting, IMing and facebook - they're different to talking in person or on the phone. A little consideration can make sure you get your message across in the nicest possible way.
Watch Your Tone
Words don’t convey facial expressions, gestures or tone. Humour and sarcasm can be difficult to translate into an email, even with emoticons.
UPPER CASE LETTERS = SHOUTING
Use sparingly and if you really feel like shouting, step away from the keyboard and take a few deep breaths.
Be Careful With Swearing
It’s easy to forget your Nana is a friend on Facebook and you could be offending people you’ve never met. If you must, better to @&%#! than spell it out.
Check The Scene
If you are visiting a chatroom or site that's new to you, take a look around. Spend some time listening to the chat or reading the archives. Get a feel for the site. Then go ahead and join in.
Before You Send It
Taking a moment for a quick check can save you a lot of explaining later on...
Check Before You Hit Send
A quick read and a spell check can clear up any accidental misunderstandings and leave a better impression on your reader.
Don’t Hit Send When You Are Angry Or Upset
Type it out if you have to, then save it, take a break and re-read it later. Once you’ve sent it, it could be in circulation for a long time.
Make Sure Your Message Is Going To The Right Person
Sounds obvious, but it happens to us all. Autocomplete is a killer. Remember to double-check the email address in the To: field (and the Cc: and Bcc: fields if you want to be thorough) before clicking Send.
Think About Whether It’s Worth Sending
Chain emails, jokes, pictures of kittens doing cute kitten things – they can take up a lot of time and bandwith, and annoy the people you're hoping to amuse, which runs the risk of getting unfriended, unfollowed or even blocked.
Do Unto Others...
Remember there's a real person on the other end, with real person feelings and real person rights.
Respect People’s Privacy
It can be tempting to scroll through someone else’s emails or texts, but if they’re not addressed to you, you shouldn’t be reading them.
Don’t Forward Emails Without Asking First
Gossip takes on a whole other dimension when it's written in black and white. The possibility for people's words to be misrepresented is as easy as Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V. It only takes a moment to ask someone if they'd mind if you shared something. They'll love you for it, and it's just plain respectful, too.
Remember There’s A Person At The Other End
If you wouldn’t say it to them face-to-face, don’t send it in a message they can keep and share with the world.
Person-To-Person Is Still Safest
If it’s a really private message, deliver it yourself to the person it’s meant for. Give them a call or catch up with them at work or school instead. Remember, once you send it, it's out of your control.
Below the Belt: Sex, Selfies & Cyberbullying
A free Android app with info about laws on sex and consent, sexting and cyberbullying.
The Australian Government's Esafety site is designed to help empower you to be safe online.
Helpful site full of tips on how to stay in control on the web.
A Thin Line
A US site that helps you draw the line between digital use and digital abuse.
That's Not Cool
An interactive site from the US that’s all about where you draw your digital line.