Germany’s consumer minister has recently called for the creation of the “Internet’s 10 Golden Rules”. As I was considering this concept, I thought I would write my own personal list. Here is what I came up with.
Ken Knapton’s 10 Golden Rules of Internet Usage
- Be respectful. When responding to others online, I will always show respect and will not degrade or demean. I will live by the mantra that “It is OK to disagree, but it is not OK to be disagreeable”.
- Be kind. I will be kind to all with whom I interact online. I will not use technology to bully, harass, or otherwise degrade or demean others.
- Be myself. My online identity will be a realistic representation of who I am. Someone who knows me online would not be surprised to meet me in person – I am the same person in the physical world, with the same passions, skills, and experiences as I am online. I will not portray myself as someone I am not.
- Be accountable. I will take ownership and responsibility for all of my comments, posts and interactions on line. I will not hide behind anonymity, screen names, or other mechanisms to try and hide my online interactions. I will not use technology to participate in any activity that I would not want my children, spouse, ecclesiastical leader or anyone else to observe.
- Be lawful. I will respect the law online as I do in the physical world. I will not use technology to participate in anything that is illegal or immoral.
- Speak up. I will join the conversation, and share – not force – my opinions and views on blogs, news stories, and other online media. I will allow those who want to find me to do so – I will not force my content, opinions or judgments on anyone else.
- Do no harm. I will not encourage others to participate in any online interactions that would cause them harm. I will not participate in any online interactions that would cause others harm, put them in danger, or cause disruption to their livelihood or family.
- Strike a balance. I will not allow virtual interactions to take an inordinate amount of time or attention away from my other “real” interactions and relationships. I will not use technology as a time-waster. I will use technology to enhance “real” relationships – not to harm them.
- Show integrity. I will show a high level of integrity in all of my interactions – whether online or in the physical world.
- Use good judgment. I will not forward emails in the hope of getting a check from Bill Gates, helping some poor child in a third-world country, or seeing something “cool” on my screen. I will not open attachments from people I don’t know. I will not try to accumulate “friends” on my social networks just to get a big number, but instead I will be judicious in my choice of whom I communicate with online, and how I manage my online interactions. I will protect my identity, my data and my relationships.
So, now you know my personal 10 Golden Rules of Internet Usage. If you agree with these, and would like to add your name to this list, feel free to leave a comment agreeing with this list. If you disagree, think I missed something, or want to share your own list, feel free to leave a comment to that effect as well.