Five Rules To Practice To Be Kinder Online

We could all use a little extra positivity right now.

We are using social media more than ever before right now. We’re using it to browse and keep us entertained, we’re using it to stay in touch and we’re even using it for school work.

With so many of us on social media all the time, it’s really important that we all stay kind and respectful.

Online bullying is a huge issue among young people and can cause serious harm to someone’s mental health. If you think you’re being bullied online, check out our post on what to do, here. If you want to make sure you’re being as kind and civil as possible to others on the internet, check out these five rules that everyone should follow.

Think before you post

Whether it’s a photo, a comment or a DM. Have a think before you post something and ask, is this mean? Is it hurtful? Is there anyone who would be upset by seeing this? By having a think before you press post, you can ensure that the things you’re putting out on the internet reflect you as a nice person. Don’t put up a photo of someone if it would make them upset, don’t DM someone with something that would hurt their feelings, and don’t comment something mean on someone’s Tiktok, even if you were only joking. Tone can be very hard to read online, so if you’re sending something in a funny or sarcastic way, as yourself if it comes across clearly in the message, if it doesn’t, it’s best not to post.

Imagine saying the comment in person

Sometimes it can be easy to say something online without even thinking. If it’s a criticism or a mean comment, you could press send before even thinking about what you’re saying. But next time, stop and think about what you’re saying and what it actually means. Would you say it to the person in school to their face? Or if it’s a stranger on TikTok on Insta, would you say it to them on the street? We sure hope not. Imagine commenting on someone’s weight, appearance, actions or anything else to their face, and think about how much hurt it would cause. Instead, try to send positive comments when someone looks nice, has serious dance skills on TikTok or they just made you smile. This will have the opposite effect and could really make someone’s day.

Be careful with likes, shares and retweets

Just because you didn’t say it, doesn’t make sharing it okay. By liking someone’s nasty comment on TikTok about someone else, you’re part of the problem. If you retweet something mean on Twitter, you’re part of the problem. Don’t share a hurtful photo or message that’s going around on Instagram because if you do, guess what… you’re part of the problem. Instead, it’s best to ignore something nasty or mean and instead, share positive, uplifting comments or content. If something is really nasty, or involves racism, abuse, offensive words or anything else like that, remember you can always report it in your settings. That way, the post may get taken down and no more people will have to see it.

Don’t create a fake account 

It’s okay not to use your full name or much of your personal details online, and places like TikTik or Insta often feature nicknames or usernames instead. This is a good way to keep your page protected. However, creating a totally fake account with no identifying information, to use solely to post anonymous, hurtful comments, is a huge no-no and could actually get you in a lot of trouble. You could even legally be in trouble (on a real or fake profile) for posting nasty messages. Plus, why would you want to be purposefully mean to others? No one is a winner in this situation.

Unfollow nasty accounts 

Sometimes accounts that are nasty or hurtful can gain lots of attention online because they’re shocking or dramatic, but following an account that is solely set up to take people down or make people feel bad is not a good idea. Not only does it make it seem like this type of behaviour is okay, it also exposes you to lots of nastiness you could do without. A mean message about a blogger you follow is not going to make you or your life any better. Instead follow lots of positive accounts that share nice, happy photos and thoughts that will brighten your day.

Instead, check out our roundup of positive Insta accounts that will brighten your day ❤

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This article was originally published in April 2020.