“How to Survive High School (and Life) in the Age of Social Media”
Social Media – we’re talking Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc. – is not the enemy! There are many positives to Social Media, such as keeping you up-to-date with friends and family that don’t live close. It’s a great way to share and learn from others. For example, many news outlets post articles with brief headlines that reach those who don’t read newspapers or watch the news on TV. Also, Instagram and Pinterest can be fantastic for DIY ideas or other creative outlets. Honestly, even if Social Media is the enemy, it’s not going away anytime soon. So the question is: how do you exist on these platforms safely and smartly? Below is a list of tips to help you understand the ever-changing world of Social Media.
Don’t friend/follow/accept people that you do not know in real life. I know the internet can sometimes seem like a magical wonderland where you can meet all these new people that seem more interesting than the people from your hometown. While that may appear to be true, there are also lots of dangerous people out there and you never really know who you’re talking to unless you already know the person in real life (MTV’s Catfish anyone??). It’s not a popularity contest – what’s the point in having 456,897,589,658 followers if you only really know 25?
o Case in point – See Dr. Lutz’ letter below about a recent news story where a local man friended teens on Facebook and then convinced them to meet up with him with some not so good results.
TMI!! I know we all get annoyed by the friend that tweets every time a thought pops into their head, but more importantly I’m talking about the personal information that you should never ever share online. The biggest no-no’s are: social security #, birth date, home address or home phone#, as well as bank account or credit card information. Beyond that, it can come off as pretty egotistical to post a selfie at every angle along with your opinions about everything. Pump the breaks every once in a while.
Do not share your passwords for anything with anyone at any time for any reason (unless your parents want it, and that’s just life).
Use Privacy Settings - They exist for a reason folks; you need to protect yourself on the world wide web. If you don’t know how to use these settings, do a Google search for “how to set up privacy settings on ____” and you will find many helpful articles to guide you.
Google yourself! What you post online can not only be seen by your friends, but eventually it could be seen by employers, college admissions officers, teachers, admin, and coaches – even the police. “Recent research found that 70% of job recruiters rejected candidates based on information they found online,” (staysafeonline.org). This is a great first step to see what people are able to find out about you simply by typing your name into a search engine.
Online actions have real world consequences. When you post or send something, remember that it is permanent! It can’t be undone, even if you delete it. I’m not just talking about screenshots. All social media formats have databases that store what their users post, which can be accessed by the police or hackers at any time.
o Case in point #2 – In October 2014, there were over 100,000 snap chat pictures that were hacked and made public on the internet. Don’t be fooled into thinking that it deletes within 10 seconds or less.
Avoid being impulsive. How many times have you tweeted something not so nice about another person, and then deleted it a few minutes later? While that may be better than just leaving it posted, how about not tweeting it in the first place? Give yourself some time to consider if it’s really something that you should be posting to the world. Free advice? If you wouldn’t want it posted about you, then you probably shouldn’t post it about someone else.
Here’s a quote from a BHS senior student to leave you with:
“It’s a lot easier to type something than it is to say it to someone’s face. When you say something it is just to that person or maybe the people around them. But when you post something it is for all their friends and peers to see. They will read it over and over again and feel even more hurt and embarrassed when people that are uninvolved begin to know and talk about it. If you wouldn’t announce it at a football game or on the school announcements, you shouldn’t post it online.”
Written by: Mrs. Trevithick 11/20/2014