I remember when social media sites came on the scene with companies like Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube (to name a few). At first I viewed them in a negative way because what used to be time spent with my daughter became time my daughter spent with her friends on line. I was jealous of the family time I was losing. Then, after realizing I wasn’t going to win the battle of “online chatting” I joined in. I was amazed at how much I enjoyed it. I was able to find long lost friends, make apologize that only I felt guilty about, and keep in better touch with family. However, as I grew to enjoy social media in a method I was comfortable with, a branch of social media grew into something different.
For some people, social media became a competition, mostly for our younger generation. How many “friends” could they accumulate? Who was in a “relationship”? Once people started telling stories about themselves and other people social media became a gossiping ground where the intent of the writer could be misinterpreted by the reader. Intentional or unintentional, comments were said that may make one person feel empowered while another is simultaneously insulted.
Here are some guidelines that parents and students may find to be important while using social media. (These ideas were retrieved from https://www.uwsp.edu/urc/sm/Pages/default.aspx)
Be Honest about Yourself; Do not represent yourself in a manner that could lead a person into thinking you are someone you are not. Altering your age, false picture, false employment record, or sponsoring something that you do not necessarily believe in.
Get permission from others before giving personal information; Do not post pictures or make comments about another person without permission from them first. What may be a funny picture or comment to one person may be a tremendous insult to another.
Be accurate; Make sure you have all the facts before posting comments that could cause a difference of opinion. If a mistake is made, correct it quickly and let people know it was an accident.
Be Respectful; Guide conversations in a positive manner and do not let topic get to a stage where inflammatory or negative language is used. You have the ability to delete friends and comments that do not follow your values. Do not let emoticons do the talking for you. If you think someone may be offended by your comments, consider re-writing the comment to display your true feelings.
Be a leader; Make it clear that you do not tolerate poor behavior as it relates to your web site or comments. Criticism can be helpful when constructed properly. When poor language is used, it is difficult to take it back. Negative comments are often used to bait a person into an argument, so by ignoring or deleting negative comments shows your unwillingness to participate.
Be Safe; If comments do get out of hand and a commenter threatens you or another person, take a screenshot and let your parents or authorities know immediately.
Avoid Inside Jokes; Inside jokes are always funny when your on the inside. However, inside jokes are often taken out of context by people on the outside and could be considered as an insult or even a threat.
Think Before You Post; Remember, there is no such thing as a “private” social network. If you are passionate about a topic and want to respond in anger, take a break a think your response out clearly using facts and non-inflammatory language, When making comments that may have strong emotional responses, consider the feelings of your audience. Ask yourself if you would be upset if the opposite comment was posted.
Many schools in Nevada, and the US, have their own social media site on the internet where upcoming events are posted for community members and it is a nice way to say “Thanks You” to people. Gabbs School hopes to recruit students and parents to assist the school in creating a page of our very own. (Hint-hint).
However to make it clear about social media during the school day, each student and parent signs an “Internet Use Policy” that prohibits inappropriate use of technology. That means unless the Gabbs School has given explicit permission for a student or staff member to use a social media site for educational purposes, no social media sites will be used during school hours. If an issue happens on a social media site during non-school hours that could affect a child’s educational day, please let the school know. Gabbs School has an expectation that if threats or other safety issues occur during non-school hours they will be handled through appropriate channels prior to students returning to school. Social media should be left at home so that students can focus on their responsibilities at school.
In conclusion, social media can be a double edged sword that can connect people to make relationships stronger or create a destructive environment that pushes people apart. Even though social media can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own private home, social media is not private. Once a comment is posted, it cannot be taken back.
Please be safe in the digital cloud and help others be safe. Thanks for listening.