Before I really get my class blogging, I like to establish “netiquette.” Netiquette is simply networking with etiquette. Netiquette is etiquette used by writers as they share and express themselves through writing posted on the internet. Oh, if Emily Post would have actually posted! Her use of etiquette is very relevant to how we use technology as a platform for writing. We have all heard of the Golden Rule: Treat others the way YOU want to be treated. Discuss with your class what this looks like in your school and your classroom. Explain to students that this rule should be followed on the internet as well. Netiquette includes:
- Being respectful
- Being thoughtful
- Leaving constructive comments
- Offering uplifting praise
- Taking interest in the viewpoint of others
- Showing mutual respect for the opinion of others
Netiquette does NOT include:
- Put downs
- Insulting comments
- Cyber bullying
- Inappropriate language
- Name calling
- Mean spirited comments
Anything meant to tear down or hurt someone through their writing, is not considered appropriate netiquette.
While I am discussing netiquette with my class, I also explain what a digital footprint is. At the elementary level, most students think you have some magical teacher superpower where you can mind read and access all the places and things they seen on the internet. It is actually a digital footprint. BOOM! Your cover has been blown. Anything a student types, clicks, or searches leaves their “footprint” that can be traced back to that student. This includes any website they visit as well. I personally am very thankful for dependable internet filters. However, students are very tech savvy and can often override or find ways around the filters. This is when it is important that they know about a digital footprint.
At this point in our class discussion, students usually start asking those wonderful “what if” questions that lead into a discussion on internet safety. My students know I seldom use the word “never”. There are a few instances where the use of the word is warranted. Here is my never EVER never EVER list:
- Never post your last name in a comment, post, or username
- Never give out your password. The only people who should know your password are YOU, your parents, your teacher, and your dog (because you will be dying to tell someone and your secret is safe with them).
- Never post the name of your town, your phone number, or your address
- Never post the full name of your school
Students will want to know why these things made the never EVER never EVER list. Explain to your class that the guidelines are in place not to only keep them safe, but to ensure the safety of the rest of the class as well. While we blog, we want to use that netiquette SWAG: Safety With A Goal!
Photo Credit: Etiquette by Liz West; CC BY license via flickr