No matter how you use your digital devices to communicate, it helps if you use them cleverly and constructively. Well, you say, you don't need our help to message. Sure, we know you are capable of getting messages out and faster than we do, but before you send your messages, we're willing to bet that you don't do everything that could make your life and those who get your messages easier and more pleasant. Try something original this school year- try being positive.
You send a friend a message you think will make her laugh. It's just a silly joke, but your friend doesn't understand that you are joking and thinks you are making fun of her.
Some kid sends you a not-so-nice-email. In fact, it's really crude. It makes you so angry that you quickly send an equally nasty message back. The kid shows your message to his parents and ....
You are upset that your parents won't let you go to a party. They are worried about whether there will be chaperones, but you say you can take care of yourself and it will be embarrassing not to go. They don't give in. It makes you so angry that you post some pretty bad things about your parents on your social networking site.
You send a text message to your soccer coach and keep waiting for him to reply. He doesn't.
You are at an overnight party with some of your friends. You are texting silly messages to friends, when someone suggests you send a sexually embarrassing message to that weird kid who has been following your group around.
When your parents think you are in bed, you get up to communicate online. There's this "friend" you met online in one of the games, and she's always ready to chat with you late at night.
Don't Let It Happen to You
Maybe these exact scenarios haven't happened to you, but they are sure to be familiar to you. Change them around a bit, and they may fit. So what are some ways to avoid problem-causing situations such as these? Probably the best advice is simply to use your common sense when sending out messages. Imagine yourself the recipient of your message and consider how you'd feel when you opened it. Don't ever send or post anything when you are angry because chances are, you'll regret pressing Send or posting online.
Remember that personal problems with your parents, teachers, and friends are private, not meant to be spread to your digital community. Personal = Private. If you have a disagreement with someone, don't try to solve it through digital messages. Give the person a call or meet face-to-face with him or her.
Many adults, including teachers, aren't online as much as you may be, and some do not use certain forms of digital communication or perhaps any form of digital communication. They may have the ability to text, for example, but they may not text, and if they do, they may not check their messages for days. You can't expect an instant reply from everyone including teachers-even other kids.
If you and your friends aren't respectful to others online, then you are bullies. Do you really want to try to make yourself look tough in front of your "friends" by embarrassing someone else?
-And as for doing social networking and sending and receiving digital messages late at night, well, it's the least safe time to be on the Net, especially if you are interacting with someone you don't know. But then you already knew that didn't you?
Want to really communicate? Try being clever and constructive rather than negative, compassionate rather than cruel, positive rather than petty. ANYONE can be negative. What's your excuse?