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Learning Digital Etiquette—Tips To Help Teenagers

Top 13 Digital Etiquette Tips

Your Teen caught up with Sheryl Eberly, author of 365 Manners Every Kid Should Know, to get some tips on digital etiquette rules.

1) Apply the same principals of good manners online and offline.

It’s about respectful behavior toward other people.

2) Model those manners at home.

Be a good role model so that your teen knows how to behave when they go out into the world.

3) Be present.

Help your teen appreciate that the people in front of them are more important than what’s happening on the phone or computer.

4) Consider the effect of your text or email.

Remind your teen to think about the impact of the text or email on the recipient.

5) Ask permission to text.

Your teen should ask permission before texting someone for the first time. Texting plans may differ, and some people prefer not to text.

6) Know when to text.

Teens should be aware when texting is simply inappropriate. Here’s just a few: when communicating with an employer, when communicating with someone who is a senior, like a teacher or coach (unless they’ve received permission) or when cancelling plans at the last minute.

7) Set family meals as technology-free zones.

Let exceptions to this rule remain rare, and in those cases, tell everyone that you will be taking a call, set your phone to vibrate, and then excuse yourself when the call comes in.

8) Bar phones from restaurant tables.

The same rule applies to restaurants; keep phones off the table.

9) Know when to set your phone to “silent” or off.

At formal gatherings, such as religious observances, phones should be set to silent or turned off. The same goes for public venues where a ringing phone would be inappropriate, such as classrooms, libraries, and theaters.

10) Understand the public nature of social networks.

Don’t post highly personal information, don’t post invitations that will make others feel left out, and don’t post hurtful messages. Many will see your posts, including relatives, potential employers, and college admissions officers.

11) Be true to yourself online.

Social networks are an opportunity to share with friends and stay connected, but stay true to yourself, and don’t adopt a different persona online.

12) Do not participate in cyberbullying.

Playing along with cyberbulling is a form of participation. For example, even if your teen didn’t start a hurtful Facebook post, if they comment on it—or share it—they are still participating.

13) Explain the insult.

If your teen is struggling with moderating the use of technology, talk to them about how it feels when someone else is paying more attention to their gadget than to them. Making that connection can help.


365 Manners Every Kid Should Know is published by Three Rivers Press.