As a martial artist, courtesy and respect should be second nature. “Yes, ma’am” and “No, sir” roll off the tongue without hesitation, and you don’t think twice about holding the door for an elder.
But what happens when you step off the mat and pick up your smartphone or sit in front of your laptop after a long day? Do your manners leave the minute you log on?
“Simply because we’re corresponding online does not mean the traditional ways of respecting one another do not apply, says Thomas Farley, aka Mister Manners, a New York- based manners expert and author.
Believe it or not, you don’t have to learn a whole new set of rules! Practicing good etiquette online isn’t that different from being respectful and courteous in the real life you’re living in the real world.
Think Before You Send, Post or “Like”
Instant communication means our fingers often move faster than our judgment. Before re-tweeting or sharing a post on social media, take a minute and re-read what’s being said—especially if you’re a little hot under the collar.
It’s going to happen. Someone is going to say something about politics, disrespect your favorite sports team or—shocking—they may even say something about martial arts training! It’s okay to want to defend the things and ideas that are important to you. But, it’s also important to know when it’s important. A one hour rule is something many experts recommend. It gives you some time to cool down, and chances are, you may not even care to chime in once you’ve given it some thought.
Share Information Responsibly
“Children are growing up in a generation and culture where you pretty much put everything and anything out there, and it can come back to haunt you,” says Farley.
Talk with your children about what they post or share and what is appropriate for online and what isn’t. As adults, be mindful yourself, too. In a world full of hackers, scams and “fake news,” don’t become part of the problem.
Parents, make an effort to model your own good behavior through your Facebook or Instagram. Our kids are watching!
More than just gaffes in etiquette, social media sites can pose serious risks for children. “It’s important for parents to be monitoring what their kids are doing on their personal accounts,” says Farley. “Explain to them the importance of not accepting requests from strangers or establishing privacy settings.”
DMs and even text messages need to be a safe place for kids to share info with those they know and not a place of danger.
That said, if your kids have proven themselves trustworthy, it important to show them that they can have some freedom, little-by-little, where you as the parent see it fit.
To Err Is Human
With all of the texts, emails, tweets, and posts you send out each day, it’s inevitable that you’ll slip up. What’s important is how you handle it.
If you realize that maybe, the tone of your email was a little too harsh to your co-worker, or maybe you shouldn’t have shared that meme, step up and handle it like the confident leader you’ve been taught to be in ATA. Apologize to that co-worker or delete that post.
Learning from experiences is where we gain true character so make it habit to think, react and respond!
Author: Jenny Wolff