Your teens know how to use the Internet. They've been using it since they were old enough to talk. But do they know how to use it responsibly, without compromising their safety or just plain being rude or irritating to others? If your teens are online, which they undoubtedly are, they need to be aware of committing these 10 Internet faux pas.
Listed in order of "annoyingness" to teens ages 13-17 in Intel's "Mobile Etiquette" survey, here are the 10 top Internet behaviors that your teen should be very cautious of committing, both for his own safety and for the sake of others who have to share the same World Wide Web.
1. Constant Complaining. 71% said that others who do nothing but whine, vent, and complain online are irritating. But only 14% admitted that they themselves are guilty of constant complaining.
2. Explicit Photos. 56% said that others who posted suggestive pictures of themselves online were annoying, but only 4% surveyed said they have posted such pictures themselves.
3. Private Info. 56% also said that people who share too much about themselves, including sensitive or identifying information, were an Internet pet peeve of theirs. Not only is it annoying to others, it's also dangerous.
4. Inappropriate Info Shared With Co-Workers. Does your teen broadcast intimate details of their life to all 577 of their Facebook friends, including casual acquaintances? 51% of those Facebook friends more than likely don't appreciate it.
5. Mundane Details. 48% say it's irritating to be deluged with status updates about what a friend ate for lunch or how they cleaned out their locker. But only 14% said they were guilty of posting mundane details about themselves.
6. Poor Spelling and Grammar. I'm surprised to see it here, but 43% of US teens are annoyed by people who post online using bad spelling and grammar.
7. Bragging. 39% of people didn't like it when other teens kept tooting their own horns online. If your teen mentions a personal accomplishement, hopefully he can do it with humility and grace.
8. Profanity. You hear a lot in middle and high school hallways that would make a sailor blush, but 34% of teens 13-17 actually said that online profanity was a pet peeve of theirs. The etiquette lesson for teens is: use better words, and you'll annoy less people.
9. Controversial Topics. The Internet is a great place to debate ideas about religion and politics, but 22% find people who insist on discussing controversial topics annoying. Teens should confine debates to a place where it's appropriate, and avoid "trolling" at all costs.
10. Shorthand Language. Admittedly, it's much faster to text "Where r u?" than spelling it all out, but it actually may be irritating to 20% of teens. Used in an informal context it's probably okay, but tell your teen not to use txtspk (text speak) when it's inappropriate or unprofessional, or when the person you're talking to won't understand it.
Becoming a good digital citizen starts with an awareness of what behaviors others might consider rude or annoying. Texting and social networking are great ways to stay connected with others, but they also breed misunderstandings and annoyances because you can't read tone of voice or facial expressions in a quick text or post.