Schools in the UK are teaching children “netiquette” to stop them from texting at mealtimes, announcing deaths on Facebook or dumping romantic partners via WhatsApp, according to a media report. Emma Robertson, of Digital Awareness UK, who works with hundreds of schools, told The Sunday Times that children who had grown up in the digital age were not aware that checking phone messages during a meal was rude.
Neither did they realise that halting a face-to-face conversation because a message flashed up on Snapchat was impolite. “Schools have a role to play to model good behaviour and teach children what is or is not socially appropriate,” Robertson was quoted as saying.
Using social media to break news such as the death of a friend’s mother was a breach of ‘netiquette’, she said. Another breach was dumping a girlfriend or boyfriend by instant message, she said.
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“Both these can be highly upsetting, but younger students do not see problems around this kind of behaviour even if their parents would be mortified to learn of it,” Robertson said. Meanwhile, another report in the daily said top private schools are to offer parents lessons on policing children’s use of smartphones and tablets after a poll revealed that one in two pupils were worried about not getting enough sleep because of an addiction to technology.
One in nine spend between 10 and 15 hours a day online if not at school. However, more than a third of the children surveyed said their parents were terrible role models and they had asked them to stop constantly checking their own devices. Almost half said the request made no difference.