- Showing respect for others is as important online as it is offline. Regardless of who a child communicates with, respectful communication can always include politeness, kindness and an appreciation that others may not think or feel the same as you do.
- At this age, children can most easily show positive behaviour online by supporting people they care about, such as friends and family. This could be through asking permission before sharing a photo of someone else, sending a positive message to someone or doing something to help another person online.
- Just as a child belongs to groups and communities offline, they may also belong to different groups and communities online (through games, social media and apps). Being a member of an online group can bring many benefits and a child should recognise that they also have a responsibility to the well-being of others in that group.
- The adults in a child’s life play an important part in shaping their positive habits and behaviours online. Parents/carers and family can set positive examples on social media by seeking consent before posting content about others (particularly photos of their own children), showing respect when communicating with others and taking steps to keep themselves and others safe.
- Other online users may act as role models to children – a favourite vlogger, celebrity or influencer might set examples of respectful communication, positive approaches to health and well-being, helping others or overcoming adversity.
- Take time to discuss what respectful online behaviour is with your students. Talk about examples they have seen of others online demonstrating these behaviours. Ask your students who they admire online and why? What traits/qualities do those people have that make them a good role model?
- Depending on the age of your students and their online experiences, you may wish to explore more complicated discussions around respectful behaviour online and the importance of context. Topics such as asking consent from a friend/family member before sharing things about them online, pressure from others online to do or say something or whether you should help a stranger in an online game could result in a broad range of scenarios where students have to weigh up personal safety/others’ safety versus opportunities to do good or have new experiences.
- Encourage your students to explore opportunities to do good online – it could be taking part in crowdsourcing activities, positive social activism or teaching others based on their own knowledge and skills. There may be opportunities for your school or class to take part in activities with other schools or communities online, and this is a powerful way of demonstrating to your students how the internet can be used for wider social good.
- As an educator, you may often have to discuss or deal with issues around online behaviour, so always look for opportunities to celebrate and praise your students when you hear examples of them being positive and respectful online.