Learning how to behave in Internet is nowadays as important as ever, given our intensive use of technology in our communications.

That’s where the term “netiquette” is born: we can define it as a set of rules for good behaviour when we communicate online. All of us should learn these rules, but it is extremely important for students, since online communication is a recent thing in our classrooms. Teachers might not be used to instructing their students about these topics, and the students might be too young and inexperienced to know how to behave online.

In this post, we highlight the main guidelines for implementing netiquette rules in all online communications within your classroom:

Basic rules of Netiquette

  1. Respect

Be sure that students treat everyone online the same way as if they were speaking to them in person. They must learn that every nickname, every profile on social media has a person behind it.

Some people might fall in the trap of believing that you can do anything when you’re hiding behind a computer, but instead, we must teach students to be empathetic, and think before writing or sending aggressive messages.

  1. Clarity

When communicating online, you lose all the non-verbal information such as tone of voice, facial expression, etc, which can lead to misunderstandings, and problems with the people we’re communicating with.

That’s why students should pay special attention to making themselves clear when they use Internet. Whether they’re discussing a new assignment, or preparing a new event in the classroom, they’ll have to make sure that they understand each other’s points of view, and they should try not to jump to conclusions about what others said online.  

  1. Politeness

Students should address their teachers by their appropriate titles or requested names, and they should also address each other by their names, being mindful of their written tone.  

It’s very important to act politely when communicating with fellow classmates and teachers on Internet, just as if they were doing it in a physical environment. Insults, rudeness, sarcasm and shouting (writing in capital letters in the online world) should be avoided.

These basic rules will allow you to start implementing a social code of conduct within the online version of your classroom, that will guide your students’ behaviour when posting on social media, forums, or writing emails to their classmates.

Picture CC BY-NC 2.0: City of Seattle Community Tech