Digital etiquette

Continuing my focus on digital citizenship with an emphasis on digital etiquette.

Digital etiquette sets standards for online conduct and how one should behaviour in a digital environment. In particular, it is important to establish rules for proper use of digital devices. For example, 39% of teenagers would answer a ringing phone while having a face-to-face conversation. Some have allowed their ringing phone to interrupt a job interview and had the audacity to take the call and ask the interviewer to leave the room because it was a personal conversation!

Phubbing is rife. Phubbing is “the act of snubbing someone in a social setting by looking at your phone instead of paying attention” ( According to stopphubbing, 87% of teens would rather communicate via text than face-to-face.

An objective for the school community is to make students more aware of what is appropriate digital behaviour. They need to know how often and where they are using technology and how their use of technology affects those around them.

The Common Sense Education K-12 Digital Citizenship Curriculum (2015) provides a variety of lesson plans to address digital etiquette.

Young students can learn how to show respect when online by exploring the similarities and differences between face-to-face and online communication. They can learn some rules that will help them to be respectful and take responsibility for their actions when offline and online. They can examine online etiquette and compare this with offline etiquette to identify what is appropriate and inappropriate.

Secondary students can explore case samples to develop their understanding of ethical behaviour, e.g. use of their mobile device, identifying when phubbing occurs, examine appropriate and inappropriate text messages. The students could establish an online code of behaviour for their school.

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