Editorial

Proper Online  Etiquette

Proper Online Etiquette

The world has become so simple, yet so complicated with the advances made in technology. Not only has it made our lives much easier, but it has made it easier for one human being to cause distress and harm to another, even over the World Wide Web.

Ever since the takeoff of social media several years ago, the growing number of users, from young to old, have been creating accounts and interacting with one another on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or any other messaging platform. Not always they are nice to each other.

And not always persons use these platforms for the purpose it intended—since it has become a place to freely hurl insults at one another without consequence or sense of remorse. The world is changing now, with victims of cyber bullying seeking redress almost instantly, and we hope the trend continues, where the law comes into play to make these online trolls pay for their inability to apply their sense of humanity into their online life.

Just this week, High Court Judge Frank Seepersad delivered an 18 page judgement in a landmark case brought by a couple whose neighbour falsely accused them of sexually abusing their children in a series of Facebook posts. In essence, he advised extreme caution by users when making posts, since they have to be viewed as publications and laws related to libel will apply.

And we agree with that judgment. In this age, one person cannot take on two personas or live two separate lives – one physical, the other cyber. All rules in the real world must apply in this virtual world where our thoughts, common sense and human compassion must apply.

Sure, there will be opposing views in all spheres, and opinionated persons looking to highlight their points of view on social media – and it will continue. But it is time everyone who owns a computer or smart phone be aware of the implications of their actions online, and to know that the laws they follow in T&T or in any other country should (and must) apply to their life online.

It’s a simple matter to understand, yet we know it’ll be a long time before the message really resonates with most users. This recent court judgment could see the start of many persons taking their online grouses to court, and if there are more vindications for those bullied online – the more awareness it will bring. Proper online etiquette should be something taught in schools, even from the primary school age. It’s that important.

Web Master

February 7th, 2018

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