Netiquette becomes a point of contention with some parents of younger children. But in a world where there are apps marketed for not only toddlers but babies, I believe netiquette should begin before iPad mini can even be uttered. Very often, I like to focus on netiquette with children in my In-home lessons and workshops. For those of us less savvy, Netiquette [net-i-kit, -ket] is defined as the rules of etiquette that apply when communicating over a computer network. I use a much broader definition and expand it to cell phones, tablets and basically any electronic.

Many parents think that netiquette is not yet at issue because their kids don’t have phones. Well, they are among the few. Many of their peers do, they have access to your technology and ultimately you won’t be able to say “no” to adding them to the family plan. If parents are not proactive in teaching our young people proper usage at a young age, I warn parents that they will end up with kids who text you from their room to find out what’s for dinner, Instagram what you’ve cooked with the caption “yuck” and then spend the rest of the night tweeting about how much they hate you.

To that end, I enjoy broaching the subject with young people who may not understand why it is rude to use their phones while dining with friends or sitting through class. But who can blame them, when I have to deal with their parents yelling through the phone in the bank line, or texting though a business meeting. Just because times have changed, does not me our standards of civility must. Adults are the number culprits of poor cell phone usage, tactless e-mails and tacky Facebook posts. How can a young person growing up today even begin to develop good habits, when we ourselves are setting poor ones?

Consider participating in National Day of Unplugging, March 1-2. This would be a great time to test our dependence on or rather independence from technology and to reconnect with those who really matter.

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