What It Means to be a Responsible Internet User: Social Media Etiquette

Surfing the internet has almost become part of people’s daily routine. In fact, a lot has spent more time in front of their gadgets than when working and socializing in the real world.

People who use the internet habitually or avidly are called netizens. The digital world is created for these people to thrive, contribute and share information more easily. From research to entertainment, the internet serves several purposes. However, just like any place, rules must be set in the digital world for everyone to follow.

So how to can you be a responsible internet user?

1. Do not use someone else’s name and information online.

Using someone else’s identity to keep your personal information safe is unethical. If you are concerned with identity theft, you can always edit the settings and privacy functionality of your accounts.

2. Only be friends with people you know.

One way to ensure your online safety is to be friends only with those you know. Adding strangers would increase the chances of you letting hackers or criminals gain access to your information and whereabouts.

3. Avoid commenting if you do not know the whole story or issue yet.

The social media has become a platform for people raising awareness on some important issues. A lot of people on social media hastily react without even reading about the issue fully. Understanding the whole situation is imperative so as not to insult anyone. Give an intellectual opinion and think before you click.

4. Give credit where credit is due.

Even it is just in social media, it is important to acknowledge the original source of information. It is not wrong to share or use someone’s work as long as you do not take the credit away from them. Copyright is still applicable online. Copying and stealing are illegal.

5. Help prevent cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying has a lot of adverse and damaging effects to a person – young or old. Note that when you hurt other people, it may result to emotional stress that sometimes lead to suicide. As the saying goes, “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” So, be kind.

6. Follow proper netiquette.

When communicating online, it is advisable to be courteous and respectful. Follow the rules for online communication. Respect other’s privacy, be nice, use proper writing style, do not send unsolicited emails and messages, and avoid personal attacks. Check the internet service, www.internetchoice.org, to see they provide educational forums or seminars to educate netizens about proper netiquette.

7. Think about your self-image.

What kind of image would you like to have on Social Media? Is it something that promotes a positive and professional image? Is it something that you want your parents to see? Is it something that might affect your career either negatively or positively?

You have to think a number of times before posting something online. Who knows? Your potential employer might be doing a character investigation on your social media account.


To be a responsible internet user simply means you have to think. Think about the impact your online activities will do on your well-being and their effect on others.