Netiquette: The Internet Rules You Should Know


When you were a kid, you learned to say “please” and “thank you,” that it’s rude to interrupt, and never to hit or name-call other kids.

It’s just as important to have online manners, and there’s even another word for it—Internet etiquette is called netiquette. If you’re a parent, teacher, or a big sibling, netiquette is worth thinking about. It can be a hard topic for kids to understand, because online interactions can mask the results of unkind actions.

How much do you know about netiquette? The following terms will bring you into the loop and help you navigate conversations.


Cyberbullying is the use of technology to harass, threaten, embarrass, or target another person. Just like bullying IRL (“in real life,” in case you’re out of the loop), it can take lots of different forms.


While cyberbullying feels bad enough, a cyberstalker uses electronic communications to harass someone persistently, in an aggressive, often threatening way. While a cyberstalker may be someone the victim knows personally, they don’t have to be. Cyberstalking can be charged as a crime.


Discussing netiquette with your kids—and, perhaps, with their friends and their friend’s parents—will help ensure you never know any child who commits bullicide.

The term, a hybrid of bully and suicide, refers to children and teens who have been bullied in person or via social media and feel the only way to escape the fear from rumors, insults, verbal abuse and terror is to take their own life.


Flaming is another netiquette no-no. It happens when people have a passionate fight in public online forums, chat rooms, social media, or video sites, so that others can witness it. It’s the online equivalent of a huge fight in the school hallway—but sometimes no one other than the participants is watching.

Happy Slapping

There’s nothing happy about happy slapping. The term refers to a verbal or physical attack that’s often captured with a mobile phone and posted online for the amusement of others.


Many people think that sexting—sending or receiving explicit words or images with a partner, typically via a mobile phone—is a fun, innocent pastime. While that might be true in trusted relationships, it’s important that potentially vulnerable individuals, especially kids, understand the realities of sharing information that’s meant to remain private.

Whether it’s intentionally shared or not, there are many possibilities for a message to be seen by unintended eyes.

Revenge porn

It’s upsetting to know that even minors have been embarrassed and humiliated by revenge porn. That’s what happens when a person’s friend (“friend,” perhaps) or former partner shares intimate photos without their consent.

Talk It Out

While it might be a difficult conversation to have out of the blue, having expectations around netiquette—your own behavior, the actions of your friends, and hopefully your kids—helps raise awareness of the lives we lead online.

Sadly, cyberbullying is on the rise in communities across the country. For more information and help, here are some resources: suggests you report cyberbullying to your online service provider, your local law enforcement, and your school.

CyberBullyHotline was developed to keep students safe. Kids and adults can report an incident anonymously: 800-420-1479,

Stop Cyberbullying Day is an internationally recognized day of awareness and activities both on and offline, founded by The Cybersmile Foundation,

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Word of the Day

Can you guess the definition?


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Can you guess the definition?

Word of the day

[ gli-sahd ]