Social Media Etiquette
Social Media can be a lot of fun. It's rewarding to share your thoughts and experiences with others around the world and to those you are close to. When used inappropriately, however, social media opens the door to all kinds of negative attention and even dangerous circumstances.
Here at Wayne-Westland Community Schools, we want all of our students to use the following best practices when engaging with others online. To make this simple we've created a Do's and Don't list for how social media should be used.
- DO think about how you present yourself online. Would you be comfortable having your parents, teachers, and even future employers seeing what you post, share, or comment on? Whether you like it or not, you are creating a personal image from the content you decide to display on your wall, feed, or page. What you post online is public, so even people you don't yet know may see it one day.
- Do know who can access your personal information. While you may be able to decide what parts of your profile others can access, assume everything is public. Sometimes "private" means everyone can see what's on your profile, but only your friends can post comments or contact you.
- DO trust your instincts if something doesn't feel or look right. If there is something online that makes you feel uncomfortable, talk to a trusted adult about it.
- DO be nice online. Or at least treat people the way you’d want to be treated. People who are nasty and aggressive online are at greater risk of being bullied or harassed themselves.
- DO read between the “lines.” It may be fun to check out new people for friendship or romance, but be aware that, while some people are nice, others act nice because they’re trying to get something. Flattering or supportive messages may be more about manipulation than friendship or romance.
- DO use privacy tools to block those you do not want to see your profile or interact with. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and most online social media outlets have privacy settings for blocking individuals who have harassed you or proven they cannot be trusted. Even with privacy tools, however, assume everything you do online is public.
- DO think before sharing others' personal information, including tagging photos without their permission or sharing their personal life with the world. They deserve privacy as much as you, so help protect it.
- DON'T assume everyone online is honest or who they claim to be. Anyone can create a fake social profile and pretend to be someone they're not.
- DON'T post information that could lead someone to you offline. Be mindful when posting where you're at and with whom with too much detail. Especially avoid posting photos that include license plates or identifiable landmarks to your home address or typical hangouts. Over time, people can piece together detailed information about you.
- DON'T reply to harassing or disturbing messages. Cyberbullies want to know they are making you worried or upset . They enjoy knowing they can get to you and enjoy seeing a reaction. Instead of responding, remain in control by talking to a trusted adult.
- DON'T share your password with friends. It’s hard to imagine, but friendships change and you don’t want to be impersonated by anyone. Pick a password you can remember but no one else can guess. All passwords should be kept private and next to impossible to guess.
- DON'T measure your own life based on what others post. People typically post happy photos and stories online and don’t usually share their boring or sad moments or unflattering photos. Don’t assume that others have better lives than you do, based on what they post.