Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) is a major part of everyday life for most teenagers and adults. Through social media sites, we are able to instantly share our thoughts, feelings, interests, and experiences with anyone in any part of the world. Celebrities and athletes even use social media to share personal experiences with their fan base in turn giving their fans the feeling of being “connected” to them. No matter who is using it (young or old, famous or not), there are some general rules that one should consider following with respect to responsible use of social media platforms. Specifically, here are 6 rules I think teenagers should abide by in order to ensure responsible and safe use social media (some adults could benefit from following these as well).
1. Avoid posting private information - Generally, all that is required to obtain and account is a name, e-mail address, and a password. You can leave some fields blank on your profile, especially phone number and address.
2. Stick to connecting with people that you know - Limit your privacy settings so you only interact with the people you know
3. Pause before posting - Consider what impact your post may have on your reputation, your current friendships, your family’s reputation, a friend’s reputation or your chance of being hired for a desirable job in the future. Keep in mind that once you post something, it cannot be retrieved and deleted.
4. Refrain from being detailed with “location check-ins” - If you post your exact location, it is very easy for anyone with bad intentions to find you or know that you are not home.
5. Do not put 100% faith in privacy settings - Many social media sites are constantly updating privacy improvements. Many users believe that their privacy settings will stay the same after updates. This is not true. As a result, users must reset their settings because default settings are active when the update takes place.
6. The Golden Rule - If you don’t want something to be seen, don’t post it on the Internet.