Social Media Etiquette for Kids: Be Smart About Social Media

Avatar of Marwa Alaa
Updated on: Educator Review By: Michelle Connolly

Every second around the world, millions of people interact with each other on social media platforms. They invite their friends to a party, post pictures of old and new friends, play online games, watch exciting videos and chat or socialise with friends. Overall, they consider the internet as an extension of their real life. 

You and your friends probably have an account on one or more social media platforms and may spend most of your time there daily. That is why it is essential for you to learn the important rules of social media etiquette for kids.

As a kid, you can communicate with your teacher and peers, stay connected with family and make healthy friends. You can also enhance your creativity by sharing your work of art and pieces of writing. Moreover, you can interact with other people who share the same interests. On the other hand, social media is also full of pitfalls as it has harmful and questionable activities. To find balance, know how to use social media wisely by stopping and thinking about your posts, photos, comments, etc. before you hit “Enter”. 

Including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, social media is a double-edged weapon. Although it has plenty of advantages, it also has many risks and things to avoid. Having an account or more on social media websites, you need to behave professionally in the virtual world in the same way you behave professionally in real life. To put forward the best version of yourself when you are online, here are the top rules of social media etiquette for kids. They will make behaving on social networking sites easy. 

Netiquette and Social Media Etiquette for Kids

Treating others with respect by respecting their opinions, cultural beliefs, property, personal space, time, and dignity is the most significant rule of social media etiquette for kids. There are also many other netiquette tips you should learn in general, especially those concerned with social media. Let us first know what netiquette means. 

What is Netiquette?

Also known as online etiquette, netiquette is a combination of internet and etiquette. It is a set of rules under which we can have respectful, considerate and appropriate communication online. Generally, the best-practice behaviours shape our interactions on the internet, from chatting with our friends to submitting our assignments. 

Netiquette is how you speak respectfully without bullying or disrespecting another person on the internet. These online etiquette rules change over time since the online environment changes. However, its core traits, such as respect and honesty, are universal and do not change. 

Social Media Etiquette for Kids

As we mentioned before, social media manners are concerned with being thoughtful of others and considering how they feel about your actions and words. Additionally, it means thinking carefully about your posts before sharing them and respecting the thoughts of others. It also helps you communicate with other people in a rewarding, safe and respectful environment.

The following are the most significant rules of social media etiquette for kids to remember. When you follow these rules, you will be able to protect yourself while you are on social media. 

1. Treat Others As You Would Like to Be Treated

Treating others the way you would like to be treated is the golden rule of social media etiquette for kids. You are not interacting with the screen of a digital device. You interact with a real person who will receive your messages and read your posts.

So, always show kindness and think of your words before sending them. Ask yourself this question: How would you feel if you received such a message or comment? Do not press the “send” button if the answer is negative. Furthermore, if you see someone being bullied on one of the social media platforms, report the behaviour to the platform with the available tool.

2. Act As You Would in Real Life

Additionally, acting as you would in real life is one of the significant rules of social media etiquette for kids. People know who you are from the way you act on social media. It is because every post or comment you write online reflects your personality. 

3. Protect Your Privacy

Another important rule of social media etiquette for kids is respecting and protecting your privacy while on the internet. 

  • Never share your personal information online, even with your best friend. It includes your password, phone number, home address and email address. 
  • Disable the feature that reveals your location when you post something online. With everyone on social media platforms knowing exactly where you are, you might be an easy target to bad people and be exposed to harm.
  • Block or unfriend the person who keeps annoying or insulting you online and restrict him from posting on your page or sending you private messages.
  • Never share pictures or video recordings of you or your private body parts on the internet. 
  • Always make your account private. This allows you to write content invisible to anyone you are not connected with.
  • When you sign up for any social networking platforms or online forums, learn about their privacy settings. Adjust who can see your posts or photos, tag or mention you, and send you private messages. 
  • Seek your parents’ assistance to fully understand the privacy settings of any social networking website. 
  • With the help of your parents, adjust your privacy settings to protect your personal information.

4. Set A Strong Password 

Among the essential rules of social media etiquette for kids is to set a strong password to avoid identity theft. Hackers can execute specific attacking techniques and easily crack a weak password. A strong password can stop hackers from accessing your account and stealing your personal information to use it for nefarious acts. 

  • Use long passwords, at least eight characters.
  • Ensure your password include both uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters, like !, @, #, ? and ]. 
  • Do not use your personal information, like your birth date, seat number, phone number or a friend’s name. 
  • Never use keyboard patterns, like qwerty or poiuy.
  • Also, do not use repeated or a series of characters, like FFFFF4444 or ABCD123.
  • Never use your username as a password.
  • Do not use default passwords, such as admin or password.
  • Never use the same password in all your accounts.
  • Enable the two-step identification when possible.

5. Do Not Connect With Strangers

Another setting that can protect your privacy online is to never connect with persons you do not know in real life. You can only accept requests from friends of friends.

6. Do Not Talk to Strangers

Bad people are everywhere. Of course, you do not talk to strangers on the streets. Similarly, avoid trusting strangers and talking to them online. With a fake account, they might deceive you into talking with them and revealing personal information about yourself or your family. Accordingly, they can steal your identity and harm you or harm others by utilising your name.

When you play online games, do not reply to the players who ask you for personal information or saying rude comments. Block, report or unfriend the profile of the one annoying you. It is also important to talk to your parents about these incidents.

7. Respect People’s Privacy

On the other hand, respect other people’s privacy the same way you would like them to handle your personal information. 

  • Ask for their permission before you share their photos or videos. 
  • Never write posts or comments that include someone’s personal information, like phone numbers, licence plates or passwords. Also, take their permission first.
  • Never share your private conversations with others without their consent.

8. Be Careful of What you Share About Yourself and Others

Never share personal or confidential information online. This information includes

  • Full names
  • Phone numbers
  • Home or school addresses
  • Social security numbers
  • Birthdates
  • Credit card numbers
  • Number plates,
  • Passwords. 

The reason is that everything you share online is permanent forever. 

Also, think of other people before you share their personal information. 

  • If someone tells you something, only share it online if you take their permission and they accept. 
  • Additionally, never share pictures of your friends or family on social media without asking for their approval. 
  • Similarly, never tag someone without their consent.

9. Obey the Website Rules

Always obey the website rules. They are set to give you the most out of the website and keep you and others safe online. If you do not adhere to these rules, the website may limit your actions on this website.

10. Search First

If you have a question regarding your assignment, do not text your classmate or teacher at once. Try to search for the answer in the syllabus or course material first. You can also surf the internet seeking an answer to your question. 

If you spend a lot of time searching and need help finding the appropriate answer, turn to your teacher or classmate for help. You can send them a private message on social networking platforms. However, do not send anything late at night. Wait till the next day and send your message or email.

11. Use Conversation Starter

When you text or chat with someone, start your conversation by greeting the other person and then asking about their health. You can write something like “Hello! Hope you are doing well” if you are talking to your teacher or “Hi! How is everything?” if you are talking to a friend.

12. Use Your Professors’ Proper Titles

When you communicate with your teacher on social media platforms, refer to them professionally using a proper title (Mr/Ms/Mrs). Respect them the same as you would in person.

13. Know What @ Means

The sign @ means that you tag someone on a post. It can also mean replying to or addressing a particular person directly.

14. Quality is More Important Than Quantity

Do not overshare your lifestyle on social media, which includes your meals, drinks and journeys, to get more interactions and followers. The more you share, the more private information you reveal online. This can damage your reputation in the future by the people who hate you.

On the other hand, you gain respect on social networking sites by providing high-quality, accessible information in a friendly manner. Additionally, the fewer posts you share in the virtual world, the more you make people think about you. You can share a piece of helpful advice with relevant, reliable links. You can also share your unique skills and talents with others. 

15. Be Accurate and Factual

Being accurate is also a significant rule of social media etiquette for kids. Do not write false information to collect likes and comments. Always be honest and transparent. 

Also, do not believe everything on the internet because false information exists everywhere online. Always fact-check everything you read on social media and ensure it is trustworthy before you share it with others. You may include credible sources in your post. Official websites that may help you in this task end with edu, gov or org. 

16. Write Clear and Brief Points

Suppose you write too many pieces of information and unnecessary words. In that case, other people will get lost trying to understand what you mean by your text. To explain something clearly and leaves no room for misunderstandings, write short and clear sentences. Moreover, try to be specific and to the point.

17. Stay on Topic

Another crucial rule of social media etiquette for kids is to stay on topic if you are in an online discussion. Never fill the discussion with unnecessary information and embellishments. Doing so wastes everybody’s time. Furthermore, it makes it hard for everyone to keep the discussion on the same topic. So, ensure you understand the main topic and only participate with the relevant information.

18. Never Steal Online

Among the significant rules of social media etiquette for kids is to never steal posts when you are online. Do not take people’s pictures or copyrighted content and use them without credit. This is stealing and can end up with a heavy fine. You can find copyright-free photos on reputable, free websites. 

19. Be Careful of Your Tone

Being careful with your tone in an online conversation is also among the most significant rules of social media etiquette for kids. 

  • Avoid using capitalisation. Writing in all caps seems impolite because it implies that you are YELLING or SHOUTING and will make the other person uncomfortable. 
  • Do not overuse the exclamation mark to show your feelings because they are annoying. Instead, try using the right words to better describe your points of view. 
  • In addition, watch out for your tone because jokes may sometimes be considered rude!

20. Be Careful of Sarcastic Humour

Behind screens, our facial expressions and gestures are invisible to other people. It is because we cannot transmit our tone of voice if we are writing. That is why conveying sarcasm or humour on social media platforms can be challenging. 

  • Make sure your joke is funny and not rude.
  • Ensure that the intent behind your sarcastic humour is as straightforward as possible.
  • Emoticons and smileys can be of some help in conveying your message.
  • Do not use sarcasm freely.

21. Use Proper Grammar and Punctuation

Imagine that you read a written text online! Would you like it to be not readable and incomprehensible? Then, consider the reader when you write a post, email, comment or message. Be professional and use a wide variety of words and proper grammar and punctuation. Also, check your spelling before you share your text with others.

This way, your text will seem more professional, and you will develop your writing skills. When your writing skills develop, you will finish your written assignments quickly and save time for your activites. Additionally, you might make a living writing in the future. 

22. Limit Netspeaking

On social media platforms, you can find prevalent shorthand. However, avoid internet slang and netspeaking and do not adopt them in your online written and spoken communications. For example, do not substitute “2” for “to”. It is because no one will be able to understand you and may think that you are lazy.

23. Everything Has Boundaries

One of the significant rules of social media etiquette for kids is to be curious but not nosy. You can ask questions and share and learn from each other on social media. However, avoid asking questions about people’s personal lives. Also, do not talk about mushy stuff and health problems.

24. Respect Others’ Opinions

Another important rule of social media etiquette for kids is to respect other users’ opinions on social media websites. You will not agree with other users all the time. However, never belittle opinions that are different from yours. You can disagree with them and discuss your views politely.

25. Never Post When Angry

Also, among the most significant rules of social media etiquette is to not post anything when angry. If a conversation or disagreement becomes too heated, tempers run high. When tempers escalate, you might write something you regret in the future.

First, calm down and sleep it off. You can vent your frustrations to your parents instead of fighting online. When you feel calm, engage in a healthy debate and share your opinions respectfully. In the end, understand that misunderstandings may occur and be ready to forgive.

26. Stand Apart

If you are a usual bystander, stand apart and never get involved in heated discussions. It means you do not like or share harmful comments or posts, even if your best friend writes them.

27. Online Means Forever

The most significant rule of social media etiquette for kids is to be aware of your digital footprint and the concept of digital permanence. What you share online will remain online forever. Nothing is private on social media platforms. Just be intentional and honest about how you present yourself on social media. Remember, your online reputation is as important as in real life.

Once you share something online, someone might take a screenshot and spread it everywhere. In this case, your post will remain inline, even if you delete it. It might also impact your future life, such as university application, future job, relationships and friendships. 

Handle what you share online wisely. Think carefully about your words, pictures and emojis before you share anything on social media. If you see there is something offensive or is considered inappropriate or rude, do not share it at all. Just be yourself. Only share what you are comfortable saying out loud to any person. 

28. To Post or Not to Post 

Before you share/post anything, ask yourself, “Should I post this on social media?” your text should be precise, with no details or personal information. Also, do not upload hundreds of photos daily on social media because it annoys other users.

29. Be Careful of Ghosts on Social Media 

If you post carelessly on social media, be careful of ghosts of social media history who jump out of nowhere at critical times to haunt you for years to come. To prevent your social media from haunting you, be smart. Remember that your friends or followers can share your posts. Accordingly, your future employers or university professors might see them, leading to you losing your opportunities. So, never share anything unless you think carefully about whether it is appropriate.

30. Avoid Cyberbullying

Words do hurt. When they are written, they become rougher and harsher than face-to-face communication. The reason is that the reactions on your face are invisible to the reader. 

Harassing or teasing others on social media is known as cyberbullying. Both the victim and the bully can feel lonely and depressed and may commit suicide. 

So, one of the significant rules of social media etiquette for kids is to avoid cyberbullying. It is because you can affect your friends badly. Therefore, it is important to read your post, comment, message or description carefully several times before you press “Enter”.

31. Avoid Spamming

Another important rule of social media etiquette for kids is to avoid spamming. Do not send repeated texts to your friends or teachers several times. Allow them some time to respond.

32. Avoid Sexting

Among the top rules of social media etiquette for kids is to avoid sexting. Sexting means sending sexually explicit messages or photos to strangers to receive compliments and praise about your body. Any nudity of persons under 18 is known as child pornography. 

If your nude photos were spread through social media platforms by bad people, it would cause you anxiety and depression. So, when you receive nude or semi-nude photos from a social media user, let your parents know at once. They will be able to protect you and advise you to take the right action.

33. Use Social Media For Good

Understand that social media can be used for good and for bad. Using social media for good is always one of the most significant rules of social media etiquette for kids. You can explain how the subjects you are studying at school have a positive effect on understanding what happens around us. In addition, you can speak about the benefits of something you have recently learnt at school.

34. Be Nice and Kind

Being Nice and Kind is also one of the top rules of social media etiquette for kids. Avoid cyberbullying others in public or in private. Never post or send bullying, harassing or embarrassing posts or messages. If someone does, tell your parents at once.

35. Be Respectful and Polite

Another important rule of social media etiquette for kids is to be respectful and polite. Ask yourself, “Would I say such a thing out loud or to someone’s face?” If the answer is no, please do not post it on social media. Never use respectful or hateful messages. Be as polite as you are in real life. Avoid using social media as a cover and write what you would never say in real life.

36. Your Value Goes Beyond A Single “Like”

Another significant rule of social media etiquette is to not ask for favours. Never share someone’s posts and ask them to share yours in return. You are worth much more than just “one like.” Always keep in mind that the most powerful and successful people in the world do not have social media accounts. So, focus on developing your skills every day.

37. Maintain Good Health

Maintaining good health is one of the critical rules of social media etiquette for kids. Spending prolonged time in front of screens can harm your eyes and muscles. Furthermore, it can have a negative effect on your mood and mental health. Additionally, it can make you feel worse about your life. Social media makes you sadder the more time you spend on it.

38. Set A Time Limit

One of the rules of social media etiquette for kids is to set a time limit when using social media. The screen time should be at most two hours. Do your homework and spend time with family and friends. Be sure to enjoy the outdoors and pursue your hobbies.

39. Encourage Real-World Socialisation

Always differentiate between the online and offline world. Stay away from spending several hours in front of your digital device, and set a time limit. Instead, explore your hobby and do your best to develop your skills. It would be great if you befriend peers who share the same interests to enjoy your hobbies together offline.

40. Parents Are Your Role Model

Finally, your parents set a good example online and offline. Follow their steps, and you will use social media safely. If you face a problem online, talk to them, and they will advise you to do the right thing. Even though they want to ensure you are safe online, they respect your privacy. 

Facebook Etiquette for Kids

One of the rules of social media etiquette for kids is to know how to handle Facebook features, including but not limited to photos and tags. Now, let’s dive into Facebook etiquette for kids.

1. Write Clear Status Updates

  • Express yourself clearly in a few words. 
  • Avoid vague ideas. 
  • Try to reduce unnecessary embellishments as much as you can.
  • Do not write self-indulgent status updates.
  • Avoid Chain Status Updates that ask you to copy and paste a message and post it as if it is your own status update.
  • Eliminate embarrassing or creepy status updates or messages, especially if your teachers are among your contacts. 

2. Send Private Conversations For Private Messages

Never write private messages in public on Facebook because it is rude and juvenile. 

3. Avoid Cyberstalking

Suppose you have written something on your friend’s wall or sent them a message. If you never get any response, do not send or share anything with them again. You are cyber stalking them. 

4. Beware of Embarrassing Photos

Do not post silly, embarrassing photos of your friends and tag them. Their contacts will see these photos, and your friends might get angry. Take your friends’ permission before you post these photos on Facebook, and abide by their wishes.

5. Be Careful of Who You Tag

Similarly, ask your friends whether they would like to be tagged. They may not object to their photo being online but may refuse to associate it with their names. Being careful of who you tag is also one of the significant rules of Facebook etiquette for kids. 

6. Do Not Send Apps

When you try a new app and you like it, please do not send it to everyone on your contacts list.

7. Limit Facebook Time 

Do not waste a lot of time refreshing the page and scrolling down to find new status updates and posts. Also, avoid chatting and playing for a long time. Screen time should not exceed two hours per day. Exceeding the limit of screen time can harm your eyes and muscles. 

Twitter Etiquette for Kids 

From Facebook to Twitter, here are the significant rules of Twitter etiquette for kids.

1. Use Your Real Name and Picture

Do not trick people with a fake name and picture. Write your real name and use a real photo of yourself.

2. Use a Recognisable Handle

Keep your Twitter handle as short as you can. This way does not take up a lot of space in your tweet.

3. Promote Your Best Work

Another significant rule of Twitter etiquette for kids is to promote your best work. If you are an aspiring writer or artist, share your best work with others. An expert might follow you and give you valuable tips to develop your skills. 

4. Share Other People’s Work

Besides your own work, share other people’s work and tweets if you like or agree with it. However, do not retweet anything before you make sure it is true.

5. Do Not Ask to be Retweeted

However, do not expect something in return. So never ask anyone to retweet what you share. If people like it, they will retweet it for sure.

6. Use Relevant Hashtags

Use a relevant hashtag in your tweet to expand your conversation. Hashtags target your message to those who might be interested in the conversation. 

7. Never Write Private Messages Publicly

Conduct your private conversations privately by sending private messages.

8. Do Not Auto DM Others

An automatic message is not good. It shows that you do not like to engage with other people. 

9. Never Offend or Criticise Anyone

If you have an issue with someone, do not offend them or say bad words. Contact the person privately and write your problem politely, briefly and clearly. 

Social Media Safety for Kids

You may think that we are safe behind our screens. However, you should know that your virtual life may affect your real life. As a kid, you might probably face online threats like cyberbullying, child pornography, harassment and identity theft. With proper guidelines and awareness, you can deal with all the issues appropriately and stay safe on the internet

If you have an online-related problem, do not let it drive you crazy or break you down. Please speak with your parents and ask for their advice. Learning the rules of social media etiquette for kids needs knowledge, time and practice. Here is a list of the best social media manners you should use whenever you log in.

To Sum Up

Behind screens, we miss watching body language and the context of the situation. However, social media etiquette for kids keeps status updates, conversations and chats respectful and focused. It also can reduce the chances of unnecessary conflicts and misunderstandings. Without these rules, discussions could be chaotic since foul language could destroy communication and ruin relationships. 

Check our articles about Good Manners, Classroom Etiquette and Table Etiquette.

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