Manners and Etiquette in the Internet Age

Bethany Straus

It is becoming more commonplace for relationships to end over text messages or online.
Bethany Straus
It is becoming more commonplace for relationships to end over text messages or online.

In the modern age of technology, it is becoming easier and easier to communicate with people around the world without ever physically seeing them. For this reason, modern communication has become much less face-to-face and much more device-to-device.

Because so many people communicate only through their devices and not in person, it is becoming more common for manners to simply be tossed aside and forgotten. Cyberbullying has become much more common in recent years, as well as communicating solely through social media or texting/ Short Messaging Service (SMS).

Below are some of the behaviors or habits that have become common due to the popularity of social media and SMS. If you have ever participated in any of the behaviors that have been listed and analyzed below, you should probably consider writing some apology notes.

  Sending Hateful Messages: Many popular social media sites allow users to communicate with each other even if they have never met, which can easily lead to problems. UHS Junior Jake Thereault has experienced being cyberbullied on the popular photo-sharing website Instagram.

“I put a picture of me on the beach, enjoying my vacation on Instagram and someone left a comment –in Spanish– calling me fat. It was awkward.”

Thereault said that the incident made him “feel hurt [and] angry that someone would sit behind their computer screen or their phone and say things to someone they don’t even know just because they can.”

  Sending hurtful and offensive messages is just inexcusable; having displeasure with someone is not a reason nor is it an excuse to hurt someone’s feelings online. You may think that it is funny to make rude comments online, but your words are actually offensive and even detrimental.

If you are truly so immature that you feel the need to hurt someone else’s feelings online –especially someone whom you have never actually met – than you are clearly not mature enough to use the Internet without adult supervision. Try getting a Tamagotchi instead.

Being Intolerant of Someone Else’s Opinions: Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, even if that opinion is contrary to the popular opinion. In the United States, the First Amendment guarantees citizens’ freedom of speech; even if you do not agree with someone’s opinions, they still have the right to state their beliefs.

Popular websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr allow users to state their opinions in text posts, photographs, and videos; users can also share and comment on posts, allowing stories and opinions to spread quickly. Posts that contain controversial opinions often gain significant attention, as well as a fair amount of support and opposition.

Recently, I saw a post online in which a girl shared a story that was supporting a controversial movement and added the following comment:

“Agreed. Anyone who [agrees with an opinion that is contrary to her own or supports a movement that opposes her beliefs] needs to be shot.”

Honestly, this blatant refusal to consider someone else’s beliefs is unbelievable. While everyone has the right to share their beliefs online, there is no need to say that people who hold opinions that oppose your own deserve to experience any kind of injury, traumatic event, or tragedy.

Refusing to accept the fact that someone holds an opinion that is not identical to your own is simply immature and rude; saying that someone “should be shot”  because of their opinions is even worse. It is completely possible to disagree with someone’s opinions but still accept and respect their opinions and beliefs.

Breaking Up with Someone via Text Message: According to a survey done by, 56% of relationships ended in the last twelve months ended with a breakup that was delivered through text message, social media, or email. Only 18% of relationships ended with a face-to-face breakup, while 15% ended with a phone call breakup.

That some people choose to end relationships by means of technology is simply rude and disrespectful; by refusing to make time to see the person and break up with them face-to-face, you are telling them that you feel that they are not important enough for you to make time for them. Breaking up with someone through technology also implies that you did not care enough about the relationship to make the breakup personal.

It hurts to be broken up with via text message because it is simply hard to see coming and it is a rather unpleasant surprise; it also leaves you feeling unworthy of that person’s time or attention and that is something that no one deserves to feel. Even if breaking up with someone in-person is not possible, there are plenty of other options to avoid a text-message breakup; Skype, FaceTime, or a phone call are all much better alternatives to text message.