There's a handful of important e-mail conventions that would make everyone's life a little easier if we could all try and follow.
Following the previous guidelines will go a long way towards establishing yourself as a good Netizen.
Here are a couple of other practices that should keep your online dealings happy and safe.
You should always be aware of basic privacy issues in all your online
dealings. To protect yourself, be very cautious of revealing personal information to people you don't really know. Be wary of people you meet in chatrooms who start asking you too many personal details, especially any details that relate to your personal finances.
Be aware that people are not always who they say they are online. That *23 year old single female*, may not be 23 or female. If you are going to physically meet someone you've only known online, set up the meeting for a safe public place, and bring along a friend just in case the situation turns out to be not what you expected.
If you have children who are online, you need to be extra cautious about their privacy. Make sure your kids understand not to give out personal information to strangers, and younger children should be supervised in chatroom situations.
If you're doing business online with your credit cards always make sure the Web site is using a secure server to encrypt the transaction. This is an important level of security that will scramble your personal info as it travels around the Net, making it much harder for eavesdropping hackers to pilfer your credit card number. You can tell you are on a secure Web page if the url begins " https " instead of " http " , and you will have a closed padlock icon in the bottom of your browser window.
One last important rule of netiquette for surfing the Web is not to steal other people's work. You have probably by now realized the ease by which any image or content can be copied from existing Web sites. While the line can sometimes get a little blurry for novice Web designers between taking inspiration from and stealing, it is definitely considered bad form (and may be illegal) to copy someone else's work directly. In many cases, artists will be happy to give you permission to reuse a graphic they have created, but please do ask for permission.
Most of these "Netiquette Rules" are really just common sense. Try and give people you meet online the same respect you would give someone in-person, and most of us will get along just fine.
Written by: Cheryl Gonzalez
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