With kids getting access to social media earlier and earlier, it’s important that they understand and practice proper online etiquette. There’s no better time to teach students internet comment etiquette then before they get access to a social media. It’s never too early to start promoting positive online behaviors. Practicing positive social media commenting not only helps students improve their digital footprints for colleges, but it also discourages cyberbullying.
So, we asked 5 experts to share their best tips for encouraging students to develop positive social media commenting habits.
1. Say something meaningful or don’t say anything at all on social mediaTeana McDonald, 3E Connections, @3EConnections
As a parent, social media marketer and speaker I teach my kids (and the kids I speak to) about the impact of what you say in an online forum and how it could possibly follow you for the rest of your life. The general rule is, if you can’t say it to a parent, a teacher or your own grandmother then you shouldn’t be saying it online. Be respectful, and if you have the urge to respond say something meaningful or don’t say anything at all.
Everything that you put online lives there and can potentially haunt you in your future. Think about that job you want or the college you want to attend. What does your online behavior say about you? What does it say about your parents? Then I show examples of bad reputations and good reputations of kids online.
2. Regularly review your child’s social media accountsDr. Michael Bishop, Summerland Camps, @SummerlandCamps
At Summerland Camps, the first summer camp for technology overuse habits, we recommend parents set up regular intervals with their children to review all social media accounts. Typically we recommend setting aside about 30 minutes every weekend to review posts and comments.
When you see a questionable post your child made, discuss with your child where the comment is coming from. Ask your child, “What need did this post or comment fulfill?”
Question your child if you suspect they were trying to embarrass another person online. If the child posted an inappropriate photo or comment, ask, “What message are you trying to communicate? How can we rephrase this to be more appropriate?”
Ultimately, parents need to help the child re-craft any inappropriate posts or comments to send a better public message. By questioning a child’s online activities, parents can help children see how they may truly appear to others online.
3. Teach students to be respectful of others and their opinionsPhyllis Miller, HOW TO SUCCEED books for teens and young adults, @ZimblerMiller
The first step I teach in each of my three ‘How to Succeed’ books for teens and young adults — is to convince students to never post anything online (even if they think the site has very strong security controls) that could come back to haunt them in their college and job applications. This include photos of them holding drinks or with inappropriate hand gestures.
Second is to teach students to be respectful of others and the opinions of others. Even when students post opposing viewpoints online, these need to be stated in rational language and not attacking the other person.
4. Challenge students to question their intentions on social mediaVasiliki Baskos, Learn Greek Online
Teach students that when commenting online, they are talking in public and the whole world is listening. Their comment is published and the whole world will be able to read it in the years to come.
Challenge students to question their intentions on social media. Ask them if a friend posts a photo of animal cruelty, would they click “Like” on it? If so, do they realize the whole world can see that?
If students make a comment that they dislike a certain company or professional field. Several years later, when they are seeking for a job and undergoing interviews, their potential employers may see that comment.
5. Encourage students to practice “netiquette”Dr. John DeGarmo, The Foster Care Institute, @DrJohnDeGarmo
When many of our children go online today, the lesson of etiquette is often forgotten. For many children, lessons of etiquette were never taught to begin with. Netiquette is simply etiquette for the internet; having good manners while being online or using computer technology. A dictionary definition of the word might look like this:
*Netiquette /net-i-ket/, *Noun: *1. The social code of network communication. 2. The social and moral code of the internet based on the human condition and Golden Rule of Netiquette. 3. A philosophy of effective internet communication that utilizes common conventions and norms as a guide for rules and standards.*