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Positive Online Behaviour

This article explains to the youth that as digital citizens they should have positive online behaviour because it will have a positive impact on other people.

What is positive and negative online behaviour? 

Our behaviours reflect our personality and ideas, and this applies to our behaviour online just as it is in the real world. Our behaviour online is the choices we make in the virtual world, therefore, your adoption of a positive behaviour online is beneficial for you and everyone you are in contact with. Therefore, be sure to act with respect and integrity, as this will help you gain the most benefit from your time on the Internet and take advantage of all its advantages. The most important thing is that when you practice positive digital citizenship behaviours, you will be able to counter negative behaviour such as cyberbullying that occurs through all its forms. 

Learning how to use the internet to your advantage, along with understanding the consequences of negative behaviour, is an important part of your responsibilities as a digital citizen. And just as you develop and maintain positive relationships in your daily life, you should do the same in the digital world. You should also remember that negativity means devaluing and positivity means adding value, and this can be a good starting point for maintaining appropriate behaviour. While positive behaviour can add value to people's lives, negativity can have a deeply disturbing effect on others. 

Here are some of the consequences that internet users face when they are exposed to negative behaviour:   

  • Feeling a sense of lower self-worth 
  • Anxiety and fear 
  • Disruption in sleep and eating  
  • Feeling of isolation 

Then, how can I know if my online behaviour has a negative impact on others? 

Any behaviour on your part can negatively or positively affect a person, their behaviour and even their own perception of themselves. When you create a negative message or encourage another person’s negativity, you essentially may be directly hurting someone else. We all like to think we are rational people and we would not intentionally do anything to hurt another person, however, if we always ask ourselves “what would it feel like if I were on the receiving end of the message?” then we would probably save several people a lot of pain. Understanding why people behave negatively might also make you question your intention before you even start. Anytime a person intentionally sets out to harm another person virtually, in most cases, it is because they either believe it will gain them the popularity that they might not be able to attain naturally or they are vulnerable or weak themselves and need to feel powerful. In general, your online behaviour should match the choices you make every day in your life or that you can be held accountable for.  


So, when in doubt, how do I know if the content I’m sharing is negative? 

When in doubt, it is always very important to ask yourself how you would feel if you were the recipient of the message or post that you want to share. So, it is very helpful to go through a mental checklist every time you use the Internet and remember that your online behaviour is a reflection of who you are and how you interact with others. In addition, the checklist can help you always follow the right path. Here are a few things you can ask yourself to make sure that you maintain a positive online presence; 

  • Does it include profanity: are you using a language that is unacceptable or insulting to anyone? 
  • Is it abusive: is your feed hurtful and can it create uncertainty in someone else? 
  • Is it offensive: does it portray hatred or discrimination towards anyone else? 
  • Is it a threat: can it create fear or discomfort in someone else? 
  • Is it true: can you guarantee the authenticity of the content? 
  • Is it kind: will it help anyone and bring added value to their lives? 
  • Is it necessary: what purpose will it provide?   

Identically, when putting something out on any kind of virtual platform, you should also be aware that anytime you create, forward, or send a text message you undoubtedly send with it your approval. Sending anything means you agree with the content and you directly allow it to become a part of your digital footprint.  


How can I, therefore, practice positive online behaviour? 

On the other hand, being a digital citizen can bring with it a set of opportunities to create change and value in the world. While online, just as a negative message can hurt others in many ways, alternatively, being positive can help in many more ways.  For this reason, there are numerous ways that you can practice positive online behaviour. Whatever way aligns with your true self and internal goodness, you can and should be transferred into your online personality. Nevertheless, keeping in mind that change-makers and advocates of good are making a name for themselves through the online world, and this could be an opportunity for you to the same. 

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Call to Action

Using online platforms for good is what a digital citizen does. Therefore, always make sure that your online behaviour is affecting others positively.

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