ocial networking sites, virtual worlds, blogs, chat rooms, Zoom meetings, and smartphones are how kids and adults interact with one another. Since the onset of the pandemic, a large part of life surrounds reaching out to family members and friends who, during normal times, would be seen every day. The switch to socializing online was newish; many had not previously considered learning networking savvy.
Unfortunately, many people think in-person and online socialization skills are different. They are but not necessarily in the way one would think. When talking with someone in person, facial reactions and body language reveal how someone reacts to a comment.
Since it is impossible to see how someone reacts to something they hear or see, it is vital to remember that online behavior can have a long-lasting impact on all parties. Sound online interpersonal skills need to be learned and practiced.
Remember, once something is posted, it cannot be taken back. Deleting a post from the sender’s computer does not delete it from the internet.
Practice thinking and take a moment before pressing the enter key or send button. Is it true, helpful, important, necessary, or kind?
Only post something if it would not matter who can see the comment or picture. Always keep in mind that no matter how hard a person “protects,” their computer, tablet, or smartphone firewall can be breached.
Think about who could see the image, tweet, or comment down the road. Employers, college admission officers, coaches, teachers, and the police may view the social networking posts.
Some Information Should Never Be Posted on Social Platforms
People should never divulge anything personal about themselves, their family members, or friends. Information like social security number, street address, or phone number should always be kept private. Never give out bank account information or credit card numbers.
Moreover, make sure kids understand to never give out any of this information to any social networking platforms.
Talking about sex with strangers should be avoided. “Romance” scammers woo a target to gain trust. In the last year, this type of con has nearly tripled since before the pandemic. Researchers found that people who do not talk about sex online are less likely to come in contact with predators.
Online Manners Matter
Taking the time to be courteous on social networks may not be acknowledged by the recipient. However, bad manners will almost always come back on the sender. Quick messaging on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, TikTok, and texting seem fast and impersonal, yet courtesies like please and thank you are commons terms.
Refrain from using all caps, long rows of exclamation points, large blooded fonts are online forms of yelling or raising one’s voice. Rants are not polite nor are they acceptable.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
Federal Trade Commission: Kids and Socializing Online
Federal Trade Commission: Net Cetera: Share with Care
Marketing Dive: 50pc of kids have social media accounts by age 12: report; by Chantal Tode
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of sea turtle’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Graphic by the Author
Inset Image Courtesy of Jeffrey Kontur’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License