Things on­line can be taken the wrong way

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Best Weekend - - FRONT PAGE -

IT’S a tried and true test for ev­ery­one when they are on­line — if you wouldn’t want your grand­mother to see what you’re say­ing or do­ing on­line, then don’t do it. Sim­ple man­ners and re­spect on­line — or “ne­ti­quette” as cy­ber-safety ex­pert Su­san McLean puts it — is a guide­line chil­dren and adults alike should subscribe to. In fact, she says a lot of the is­sues around poor be­hav­iour on­line — in­clud­ing cy­ber­bul­ly­ing — would be im­proved if chil­dren re­mem­ber to act with com­mon de­cency and re­spect when us­ing tech­nol­ogy, in the same way that is ex­pected of them in the real world. “Re­mind your child that if they wouldn’t speak or act like that with some­one face-to­face then they shouldn’t be­have that way on­line ei­ther,” she says. “The on­line world al­lows for a cer­tain amount of dis­in­hi­bi­tion among users. The way you com­mu­ni­cate through tech­nol­ogy is all im­por­tant and you must be care­ful when us­ing emo­jis, mes­sages in all caps etc. And most im­por­tantly, once you press send, you can’t get it back.” In her book she writes: “Re­mem­ber that words do not con­vey fa­cial ex­pres­sions or emo­tion, so be aware of your tone. And even when us­ing emo­jis emo­jis, things can eas­ily be taken the wrong way.” It’s prob­abl prob­a­bly the last thing your child is think­ing ab about when they shoot off a scathing mes­sage, but their ac­tions on­line are gov­erned by sim­i­lar laws as in the real world. She says the age of le­gal lia li­a­bil­ity in Aus­tralia is 10, w which means a child can be a ar­rested and charged over a crime from the age of 10 on­wards. “From this age, they are con­sid­ered old enough to know the dif­fer­ence b be­tween right and wrong a and chil­dren, and their pa par­ents, need to know that the they will be held re­spon­si­ble for th their ac­tions on­line, just as they ca can be in the real world.”

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