In addition to the standard “How to stay safe on the web” rules, it behooves Aspies to keep a few simple communication rules in mind whenever we engage with anyone online and that includes friends we know in person and friends we only know from cyberspace.
Rule 1. Check your understanding. Simple phrases like “Am I correct in thinking you meant to say ***?” or “Would you please explain your thoughts to me in a different way so I can be sure I understand?” are easy ways to give a dialogue a fresh start, should you feel your first impression of what’s been said uncomfortable or obnoxious. Also check the emoticons for their true intent. If you find you can’t decipher a hidden meaning or true intent, ask a friend to help you.
Rule 2. Invite others to check with you about your message. Just as other people’s thoughts can be turned upside down in your mind, so too can your intent be lost on others. I try to explain what I’m trying to say by adding in an example or figure of speech that fits my thoughts. For example, if I am trying to be sarcastic by saying I love heated debates on deep topics, I might say, “I like this debate we’re having about as much as a cat likes taking a bubble bath.” Sarcasm and innuendos are tough enough in a face-to-face conversation with someone we know well, they are even tougher online.
Rule 3. Try not to take anything too personally. It’s very easy to send a nasty note or thoughtless comment through cyberspace. One accidental push on the send link can open up a war of the words and a defeat to the ego. Know that accidental ‘sends’ do happen. Impulsivity happens, too. People can be very quick to spit out their initial thoughts before they’ve had time to apply much reason or common sense to conversations being passed back and forth online.
Rule 4. Think perspective taking. Know if you or the people you engage with have AS, there is probably some lack of talent in the art of perspective taking on all sides. Perspective taking, or “Theory of Mind” is one of Simon Baron-Cohen’s most published areas of pursuit. Look his work up for some great advise on how to understand other people.
Rule 5. Make peace. If you’re prone to holding on to grudges or not forgiving others (or yourself) try to work your way toward more tolerance for mistakes. Remind yourself how difficult regular day-to-day social norms and rules are to understand and follow, then think about the many areas a social media communication could go wrong and be ignored. The whole online community is still trying to figure out the best ways to establish Internet safety and kindness. This is a new frontier with lots of loopholes and excuses for poor behavior. While bullying and true anger should never (ever!) be tolerated and should always be reported to someone in charge, do analyze what’s been said to make you upset and follow this decision arrow:
At the end of the day, you are in charge of your message and your ability to correctly receive the message sent. You are also responsible for your frame of mind and your safety. Stay alert, study perspective thinking and ultimately, use cyberspace as a positive influence on your life. Anything less, is unacceptable.
Aspie.com #autism, #Asperger #Aspie #Internetsafety # Interpersonalcommunications