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Is it easy to use email? Yes it is. Is it easy to do something with email that you may regret latter? That answer is also yes.
Email isn’t complicated to use, but if you keep the following realities in mind, you will be able to use it without too many complications.
- Email is an insecure communication: Treat an email like a postcard and assume that someone other than the recipient will be able to read it.
- Email can’t be recalled: Once an email has been sent, it is out of the sender’s control.
- Email is forever: The sender, the recipient, and any computer system involved with transmitting the email may have copies, and there is no way of knowing how long those copies will stay around.
- Email should be treated seriously: Many of the laws and traditions associated with written correspondence apply to email.
- The contents of an email may be copyrighted: This means that the person who wrote the email can control how it can be used. This is true for the United States and for countries with similar copyright laws.
- Not every email you receive deserves a response: If a response is not expected or not required, don’t respond.
- Not every recipient of your email will send a response: If a response is expected, ask the recipient to send one.
- Free speech has its limits: The regulations and laws that limit free expression apply to email.
- Pay attention to the rules: Be aware of the rules that your ISP, school, or organization may have about sending and receiving email.
- Email is not going away: Email will likely remain an important method of communication. Make sure your child becomes comfortable with using email and also knows how to use it responsibly.
Every time you send or recieve email, the decisions you may can make your life easier or harder.
Keep these realities in mind and you will have an easier life.
Dr. Todd Curtis is the director of the AirSafe.com Foundation and an expert on the role using the Internet to educate the public about risk. This article was taken from his new book, Parenting and the Internet (Speedbrake Publishing, 2007).