Technology is an integral part of life for many of us, as we use phones, tablets and computers to stay in touch with people - using social networks like Facebook or texting instead of talking. New research from BT Mobile lays out etiquette rules for relationships in a digital age.

A staggering 1 billion people use Facebook each day while one in seven people globally use WhatsApp. Digital communication allows us to stay in touch with people all over the world, but it has brought a new set of etiquette rules – 17 to be precise.

Transparency with your partner is important, so you should never hide your viewing history, or look through their phone.

Never private message someone you don’t know or try to chat someone up using a professional network such as LinkedIn.

Thinking before you post is important, so don’t overshare on Facebook, or post to social media while emotional.

Never hit ‘reply all’ on a group email, or put kisses on texts or emails to those your work with.

Picking up the phone is important too – especially if you are giving bad news, calling in sick to work or ending a relationship.

Three girls sitting down on their phones

The rules are part of a study by BT Mobile and Dr Peter Collett, a psychologist and ex-Oxford University lecturer.

People across the country were quizzed about their habits and the results reveal some interesting titbits about friendships in a digital age.

79% of people have friends they wouldn’t stay in touch with if it wasn’t for social media, while half of Brits prefer contacting someone digitally instead of face-to-face. 72% of people feel social media has strengthened friendships.  

“By nature, humans are social animals.  Given that so much of our enjoyment is linked to other people, it’s hardly surprising that we invest so much time and effort into keeping in touch with friends and acquaintances" said Collett. 

He continues: “New digital communications have made it even easier for us to express our true nature, and the research that BT Mobile has conducted uncovers some really interesting new trends of cyber friendship.”

Kelly Barlow, director of Voice and Mobile at BT Consumer, believes that with so many ways of keeping in touch, it’s unsurprising more and more of us have digital friendships: “We know that staying in touch with digi-friends is made much easier through fast, reliable connections, and BT Mobile’s combination of over five million wi-fi hotspots and access to the biggest 4G network in the UK allows customers to ensure they’re able to keep up cyber friendships wherever they are.”

Are there any modern digital etiquette rules you’d like to add to the list? Let us know in the Comments section below.