10 Commandments for Every Kid and Teen Netizen

While we can’t stop our kids from venturing into the internet, here are 10 commandments they need to follow as Netizens.

Netizens are what we call people who surf the internet. Whether lurking or chatting with people, netizens also have a particular set of rules they all follow. These commandments keep the peace on the internet but also protect our kids from all the crazy, too. Here are the 10 commandments every kid and teen netizen should follow.

1. Thou shall not give any vital information UNLESS you know them in real life.

Anything like house addresses, cellphone numbers, credit card numbers, and even birthdays are strictly off-limits. Netizens should only give this important information IF they’re planning to buy something from a REPUTABLE buyer. If anyone asks for it online, this is the one situation where lying is permissible. When someone asks online and they don’t know them, tell your teen netizen to come up with details so out of this world it’ll deter them. If they ask for an address, tell them they live in the Arctic Circle.

2. Thou shall not just add anyone unless you know them IRL (in real life).

Because of the pandemic, kids didn’t really have a chance to have physical contact with friends so they resorted to forums. Forums like Reddit or even websites like Tumblr allowed them to make up for the loss of physical meet-ups with friends. Now sometimes, it’s tempting to add a new friend you’ve met online but it’s also increasingly risky. It’s easy to mask one’s intentions online, especially if one’s an eloquent speaker and talented writer.

3. If there’s something disturbing, two choices: either scroll past or block and report.

It’s a free game for many people on the internet and they will post the most random things. Sometimes, it’s nice—like a throwback of when they traveled outside. But other times, it’s this weird but strangely cathartic video of popping a pimple. However, should our kid netizens see something disturbing, remind them that their mouse has a scroll button or they can block and report posts like that.

4. Never engage a troll

Unless they themselves have a following, don’t bother clapping back. There are so many trolls on the internet because they feel that they won’t get punished for it. Nobody knows where they live, eat, breathe, or whatnot. But to save your teen netizen from the stress, don’t bother engaging the troll. Trolling a troll, however, is a completely different matter and is acceptable among netizens.

5. If one is to join a chatroom, make sure they know at least 3 people in real life.

Chatrooms are the new ways people connect nowadays but, netizens are extra judicious with the ones they join. The main rule is that if they don’t know at least 3 people in that room in real life, they better not join. Having real-life friends in the chatroom makes it a lot easier to find support in case someone cyberbullies them there.

6. Lurking is better than engaging.

Lurking is a term netizens use to describe those who don’t really engage but do go through the different posts of people. It usually serves two purposes: keeps the drama and stress out but also prevents people from tracking one down. Some people like trolls take pleasure in dragging out engagements but lurking is the best solution to make them fade into obscurity.

7. Be careful of what you post.

Sometimes, teens and kids take to social media to rant about the latest drama. But what they sometimes forget in that state of stress is that other members of their friend list can see it. While it may appear attention-seeking, it may not always be about attention. Sometimes, it’s just about unleashing that rage, and the fact that they take to social media to do so means some work must be done about the communication at home.

8. Always check the source of its credibility.

Nowadays, it’s hard to find things that are credible especially with everyone doing their own research or falling victim to confirmation bias. However, there are still ways to check if it’s a credible source. Usually, Wikipedia isn’t considered too credible anymore because of how people can constantly edit. But websites like Google Scholar and Research Gate lead people to scientific studies that prove the results of certain beliefs. Otherwise, you might just fall into fake news!

9. Thou shall stay away from forums and chatrooms that have no one thoust know in it.

Reddit unfortunately is a big home to many of these threads where kids can get preyed upon by more malicious netizens. Some of these threads include things about taboo topics that parents can be quite uncomfortable talking about with their kids. But we’ll have to think about it this way—it’s either they get it there from someone who’s exploiting them or they get it from us who can offer an objective view even if talking about it makes us rather squeamish.

10. Do not spread negativity!

It’s tempting to fight people online because there’s no obvious physical consequence and we’re sure your teens and kids might be tempted especially to avoid being bullied by others. However, this is a common social trap called deindividuation, meaning they think they won’t be found just because others are doing it. Sorry, kiddos, they will. And many of those victims will remember your names.

Netizens need to understand the importance of Netiquette

When there’s etiquette, there is Netiquette—a form of ethics and rules that govern the society that is the internet. Our teens and kids are so deeply immersed in it and with it being the only connection to the outside world, social media has become more toxic. The best thing we can do is make sure our teens live by these commandments to make social media a better place.

More about internet use? Here are some stories!

How to keep the Internet safe for your kids
This Powerful ‘Reverse Selfie’ Ad Shows How Social Media Hurts Our Teens’ Self-Esteem
5 Tips To Keep Your Kids Safe Online

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