Keeping a Positive Outlook Online

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A student sending a respectful email.

For middle school students, being online is something that they often do not know how to live without. Even school has transitioned to being online for many. The question people are asking now that we are so online-oriented is how can we stay respectful while online?

As long as the anonymity of the internet has been around people have abused it, but you don’t have to be one of those people. An article from Webroot, a cyber security company, explains that one of the best ways to receive kindness and respect online is to be kind and respectful. Respect can come from numerous places but as the old saying goes, treat others how you want to be treated. 

In light of this, you might be inclined to believe that students know how to stay considerate online, but in a recent survey, Oak Middle School students revealed that about 50% had relationships with friends or acquaintances affected by social media. Just like in real life, people have vastly varying opinions; students also shared that 52% of respondents had been in an argument online. 

With this many students getting into arguments-voluntarily or not-they must have picked up ways to communicate respectfully online. All responses to this question had a similar theme: be kind, be respectful, and be tactful. 

The techniques to stay respectful online mentioned in the survey were simple and easy things, like an Oak sixth-grader suggests: “Read over what you are about to say before you hit that send button.” An Oak eighth-grader says to “understand how someone feels after reading something hurtful.” These small differences could change an unintentionally offensive comment into something respectful or informative. 

At the end of the day, trying to be kind and thoughtful while online is the most important part of having any sort of online presence. The words you are typing go to a person, and sometimes it is hard to remember that.