Netiquette for Beginners

What is Netiquette? Just as etiquette is a code of polite behavior in society, netiquette is generally accepted rules of behavior in cyberspace. These rules apply to all online interaction, whether you are sending an email, commenting on a friend's Facebook status, texting, or typing in a chat room.

Online Communication is Unique. Being online is different than sitting face to face with a friend, and different rules apply. There are no visual cues like smiling or nodding. All they know about you is what they see or read on the screen. Online interaction is much more permanent, and can be archived, forwarded, saved, and circulated to large amounts of people. Email is not private. Be very sensitive to what you say and how you say it. You never know who will read it: your parents, school teachers, or even your boss!

Apply the Golden Rule. Treat others as you want to be treated. Avoid demeaning others or their ideas. Politely disagree. Practice decency, respect, and tolerance.

Stop Cyber bullying! It is wrong to harass or bully others online. Don't post anything that is hurtful, humiliating, embarrassing, or hateful about anyone. This includes all emails, SMS messages, chat room discussions, and social network sites.

Technical Tidbits. Use good grammar. Spell correctly. Avoid writing in all caps. IT'S LIKE YOU'RE SHOUTING AND IT'S HARD TO READ. Always include a subject in the subject line. Make sure you address correctly intended recipients.

Learner Description: The netiquette rules on this page were designed for 14- to 16-year-old teens in Nepal who have had limited exposure to the Internet. Designed to give these students a general overview of accepted online practices, they are to serve as a foundation for emerging skills. These guidelines may also prove helpful to young students who are just learning the basics of online interactions.

Netiquette Checklist: