Interact with Tact

This series is available as a PDF:

As you talk to people online, remember that texting, IMing, or emailing really is no different than talking to someone in person. If you wouldn't say it to someone's face, it's not OK to type it.

Politeness counts

Texting is just another way for people to have a conversation. Texters are just like people talking face-to-face or on the phone: they appreciate "please" and "thank you" (or pls and ty).

Tone it down.

In online conversations, using all CAPS, long rows of exclamation points or large bolded fonts is the same as shouting.

Use Cc: and Reply all: sparingly.

Before you send a message, stop and think about whether everyone needs to see it.

Avatars are people too.

When you're playing a game or exploring an online world where you can create a character and interact with others, remember real people are behind those characters on the screen. Respect their feelings just like you would in person. Remember that your character or avatar is a virtual version of you — what does it tell people about you and your interests?

Don't impersonate

It's wrong and can be hurtful to create sites, pages, or posts that seem to come from someone else, like someone in your class or a teacher.

Speak up

If you see something inappropriate on a social networking site or in a game or chat room, let the website know and tell an adult you trust. Using Report Abuse links can help keep sites fun for everyone.

Don't stand for bullying — online or off. Treat others the way you want to be treated — whether you're interacting with them online, on your phone, or in person.

Learn What You Can Do About Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is bullying that happens online. It can happen in an email, a text message, an online game, or on a social networking site. It might involve rumors or images posted on someone's profile or passed around for other people to see.

You know that, right?

So you know that cyberbullying is a lose-lose proposition: it often makes the person being harassed feel bad — and it makes the bully look bad. It also might lead to punishment from school authorities or the police.

What do you do if you witness cyberbullying?

Tell the bully to stop. Most kids don't bully, and there's no reason for anyone to put up with it. This mean behavior usually stops pretty quickly when somebody stands up for the person being bullied.

What do you do if someone harasses you online?

Keep a cool head, and don't respond. Most people realize that bullying is wrong. Sometimes you can stop bullying if you ignore or block the person. You also can report abuse to the website where it's taking place. If it continues, save the evidence and ask for help from an adult you trust.