Our Top 10 Tips on How to Respect the Privacy of Others Online
How can you respect the privacy of others online? In this guide, we explore digital privacy and offer our top 10 ways you can keep yourself and others safe from inadvertent or intentional leaks of private information in the digital environment.
How can you respect the privacy of others online?
There is one famous line that Bruce Schneier (University of Rochester) said, “Privacy is an inherent human right and a requirement for maintaining the human condition with dignity and respect.”
In these modern times if you don’t want your privacy to be compromised it is also crucial to respect others’ privacy and space. Related to this there is another famous statement by Aristotle who said “Man is a social animal” which tries to explain that people are not able to survive in isolation.
The right to speak freely and the freedom to express one’s opinion are guaranteed by legal authorities and by society, but there are limitations. There is one example with parents who think they have every right to intervene in their children’s lives.
In most cases, without their children’s approval, the parents are inspecting their phones, rooms, and other different personal belongings.
Let’s make it clear that this is not the right thing to do.
It is a very similar situation when you are in marriage because both partners would like from other to open up and share everything and co-operate all the time. For many different people, this sounds fine, but the truth is that this kind of action is not really natural and kind of inhuman because both partners should have their own spaces that need to be respected.
Learn to keep a secret and respect others’ privacy
In his novel “Heart in Atlantis” Stephen King wrote, “Friends don’t spy; true friendship is about privacy too.” You won’t be able to enter someone’s private room before asking first or before knocking on the door even if it’s your close friend.
Without asking you cannot use others’ belongings, you cannot ask a person to share his secrets with you in case he is not feeling comfortable, and you just cannot push relationship boundaries if you are not allowed to do so, simply because it is immoral and unethical.
We often ignore the boundaries of someone’s personal life, due to various reasons.
Different societies and different norms
There are a lot of people who have been raised in a different society with different norms. In Western societies, it is common for men and women to shake hands and hug each other in greeting. In Islamic countries, however, such behavior is unacceptable.
For example, in Saudi Arabia men do not shake hands or hug each other even if they are close friends. If a man were to greet another man in this way he would be shunned by others. They also rigorously punish people who share inappropriate material. We may cross boundaries to protect or control someone (parents do this).
Some parents become overly protective of their children and try to keep them in the house all the time and they additionally compromise their internet privacy.
They may set their own expected boundary lines such as possessive partners do (for example, refusing to let their partner go out without them). It also happens unintentionally especially if we don’t listen carefully: we often assume that others are thinking the same way we are thinking.
Respect for others’ privacy is key to maintaining a positive relationship with them. If you feel you can handle your own affairs, allow others or support them to do the same. Every person has his or her own self-respect boundaries; it is important to respect those boundaries in order to maintain a positive relationship with that person.
There are a lot of people who enjoy spending time alone while drinking their coffee themselves or reading a book. It will be polite to respect their choice and in case someone declines your invitation sometimes you shouldn’t argue, and if a person wants to move on you should respect their choice.
What is different about online communication?
Humans are social, enthusiastic living beings by nature. To socialize and communicate with people is essential to our survival, as food, water, and shelter are.
Communication between people can be done with online methods but also in person. Face-to-face conversation enhances our lives, builds stronger relationships, and fixes other issues with people, whereas online communication has a new domain of possibilities for communicating with people quickly and easily.
Online communication vs Face to Face communication
In face-to-face communication, you can see the presence of the other party and their facial expressions. Online communication lacks this visual element. In traditional face-to-face communication, you can easily exchange information and ideas between two people.
Even though technology today is remarkable and often used for communication, many people still follow the traditional method of communication because it improves understanding and clarity. Also, it is informal and allows for a more personal relationship between colleagues, friends, family members, etc.
On the other side when an individual is making communication with another person via computer using the internet options through online chat services, social media platforms, or emails is called online communication.
Because technology developed in a great way it provided people with a remarkable way of communication that can be used to carry their business and communicate with other people very easily with a click of a button.
With this online way of communication we are able to send email or text to anyone we want without boundaries and no matter if the opposite person is online at the moment or not.
How can you respect the privacy of others online?
1. See the other side
In most cases when we are communicating online, we are not able to hear other person’s tone of voice or to see their body language to give us clues on what we can precisely say to them, or in which way we should say that.
The best way is to put ourselves in their position and to think about what that situation might look like for them if we would say the same thing if they were there with us and how they are feeling.
2. Use the Pause Button
Although we may believe that our words are always helpful and kind, the absence of a person’s presence can lead us to be careless in our actions. The key is to slow down, take a moment to think about the situation and choose the words that will prove most helpful.
3. Mind your language
People have invented various forms of online communication (emoticons, short forms like LOL, TBH, and so on).
Some of these are offensive to other people (such as chain letters and WRITING IN CAPS TO MIMIC SHOUTING!), so it’s important to be mindful of the style of language you use. And those who want to additionally improve their online communication should spend some time and learn online etiquette.
4. Be completely sure before you post something
When posting on social networks such as Facebook or Instagram, keep in mind that large numbers of people may see what you have written. If what you are writing is negative about another person, think about how it will affect them. If you are tempted to post something like that, you should always ask yourself “do I really need to go public with this?”
5. Be sure to protect yourself
It is always wise to consider carefully before sharing personal information with others. Once something has been put online, the sender has lost control of its distribution and may not be able to retrieve it if it is shared without permission.
If you have any uncertainty about your decision, and you are afraid for your own privacy it is best to discuss this with a trusted adult.
6. Kindness is catching
Negative communication can spread quickly online, but so can positive communication. For example, during lockdowns, people were kind and helpful to one another.
Kindness and helpfulness make a difference in people’s lives and help us feel good about ourselves. So, share the love!
7. Waiting can be hard
When we send a message or post something on social media, it is natural to want an immediate response. However, while we wait for that response and do not receive one, anxiety may develop.
It would be helpful to consider if messaging or posting right away is necessary and if that action could be postponed until a later time when you are feeling less anxious.
8. The Net loves attention
Many apps, games, and websites are using very sophisticated technology and are designed to keep us engaged, which is why it’s important to be aware of this fact when we feel the need to reach for our phones or tablets. By understanding this fact, we can better control how we use our digital services.
It is always a good idea to brush up on privacy laws to help protect yourself and others from potentially risky situations where private information is shared in the digital environment.
9. Always reply wisely
Because sometimes it’s really tempting to fire back at a comment, it is very important to consider the way you respond to a post or message you don’t like.
Whether you reply privately to the person or on a platform where lots of people will be able to see it, for example, makes a big difference to how whoever is receiving the message will deal with it.
10. Forgive and Forget
Even though we try to avoid them, mistakes can happen in any medium of communication, and they are typically magnified in cyberspace. These mistakes can sometimes feel like a bigger deal than they actually are, but it is important to remember that we are all only human, and sometimes we mess up.
Learning to forgive others and – just as importantly – learning to forgive yourself is an important part of making the internet a safe place for everyone.
How do you respect others’ privacy?
Protecting the personal information of other individuals is called privacy. This should not be done only because of legal requirements but also out of respect for other people.
You will need to know that local, state, and federal laws require you to protect the privacy of that individual personal information. What is even more important, you should keep someone’s personal information safe out of respect for other people. As you would like your privacy and online privacy to be protected, you should do the same thing and protect others’ privacy when needed, as well.
Why should we respect people’s privacy online?
With technological advances, information on the internet is highly accessible and sharable. You may handle some personal information as a part of your standard daily work duties such as someone’s financial information, employment, and education records, social security number, or health and medical records.
Sharing that kind of information without any particular need may do a lot of harm to someone. It is very important to keep others’ information safe, understand your responsibility and do your work professionally as you would like others to do with your information.
Remember that data breaches and cyber crimes are increasing on daily basis and every individual need to take additional steps in order to keep their privacy on the internet.
What does it mean to respect someone’s privacy?
Violation of someone’s privacy and boundaries in most cases falls into three different categories: accidental, passive-aggressive, or aggressive.
Under aggressive violations we can include hitting and shoving, taunting and hurling insults, taking control over someone’s money or time, making threats, and damaging property.
Under passive-aggressive violations we have gossiping, giving the silent treatment, interrupting, but also presuming what someone wants, needs, or thinks. Additionally, under passive-aggressive, there are violations such as discounting or downgrading a person’s beliefs, feelings, and preferences.
Under accidental violations, we can consider stating an opinion in a respectful manner, or bumping into someone, but discovering that person is considering your contact or comments offensive.
Why do we fail to respect others’ privacy?
There are many different reasons that can explain why sometimes we fail to respect someone’s privacy and boundaries. We are raised in different cultures with different boundary expectations. As an example, many families have different ways how they use physical touch.
Some families sit next to each other, kiss and hug, and on the other side, there are families who only shake hands and nothing else because they feel uncomfortable.
There are families that respect each other privacy no matter of years difference and there are other families and people who think that have exclusive rights over someone and do not respect others’ privacy that much.