Parents rising up to the responsibility of teaching children about social media etiquette is crucial in this age. It is no news that employers, scholarship boards, and colleges now make background checks on their potential candidates’ social media platforms.
In addition to cases of cyberbullying and password breaches, posting embarrassing and implicating contents on social media are new forms of risky occurrence. Teens can avoid a lot of heartache and distress by simply mastering social media etiquette.
The present digital landscape leaves us depending on our devices so much. Building and maintaining most of our relationships are done on social media. Considering this situation, there is a need to ensure that our children adopt the right ways of interacting with people in the real face to face world. Being tech-savvy, children are quick to download different social apps immediately they have a smartphone. Here’s how teens can engage positively with strangers and friends while hanging out on these platforms.
The need for social media etiquette
A recent survey noted that 90% of students are watchful about their online personas, interactions, and posts. It should also be noted that 60% of college graduates were not worried that their online footprints would affect their chances of being hired for a job.
This can be worrisome for parents because the same study revealed that:
- 35% of the students had comments laced with profanity
- 30% of their posts were related to alcohol
- 7% of the surveyed group posted illegal conduct
Most teens who are users of social media clearly do not understand the social media etiquette nor obey them. They are unaware of the distinct differences in public or private content. Hence, they freely post even private content. This often exposes them to very severe consequences.
Data suggests that half of all teens have found themselves the target of cyberbullying. When this happens, most do not inform their parents of the situation. They believe they can handle the situation by simply deleting their contents or creating new profiles. The unfortunate thing, however, is that cyberbullying has severe long term effects. Some children end up with low self-esteem while some contemplate suicide.
Strategies for social media etiquette
Below are a few tips that can assist teens and parents to handle the use of social media.
What am I sharing?
Maintaining social media etiquette and staying safe on social media requires that you ask this question before posting. Questions like this keep you in check and ensure you do not post inappropriate content or sharing too much The internet never forgets.
Furthermore, encourage teens to avoid sharing racy selfies or sexting. Respecting other users of social media is also easier when you consider the image of yourself and your family online.
Avoid posting personal information.
Take extra steps to safeguard your privacy. Your relationship status, for instance, does not have to be updated at any given opportunity. Moving from being single to engaged back to being single, all within a week is unnecessary on your social media platforms. You should also avoid having your location turned on, on your different social media platforms. Doing this can expose you to online predators and leave you vulnerable.
Why are You on Social Media?
It is important to have a clear goal of why you operate an account on chosen social platforms. Accumulating likes or seeking online validation should not be the reason for being on social media.
Also, your social media platforms should make you a better individual, by learning and engaging in meaningful conversations while building appropriate relationships should be your goal. Avoid comparing your life to that of other users of social media.
Furthermore, your other life activities should not suffer because you spend most of your time online.
Double down on kindness
When you hear or are subjected to hateful comments on the internet, ask yourself. What is happening in their lives, homes, and hearts that’s causing these people to act the way they do. It’s difficult to, but most of the time, the way we feel has a very limited bearing on the intended meaning behind the message. Sadly, we’re all trying to understand other’s intentional and unintentional communication when most of it happens via non-verbal means like texts and Snapchats. You should try as much as possible to be empathic as a social media user. Do not join negative comments nor engage with mean posts of cyberbullying.
Ensure you are productive Online
Periodically, put some checks on yourself. How much of what you do are useful and productive engagement and communication? If you find yourself being tethered to the internet, just take note of how fragmented your attention is becoming. Just imagine how heavily imbalanced the way we spend our time is. Understand its impact on sleep, our health and our long term priorities.
Social media in its best form is the best tool to connect, collaborate and share valuable messages to make the world a better place.
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Have an Offline Life
When we communicate face to face with others, the mirror neurons in our brains help us deal with the other person’s facial expressions and cues that their body is sending. As our brain interprets this data, our levels of dopamine rise when we hear something nice in what they’re relaying to us. This is how we connect and build out social currency, but being understanding and diplomatic about other’s emotions and feelings.
This is how we find common ground, create rapport and build social networks in real life. And it starts at the family dinner table where there is no place for devices. Have memorable conversations in real life, and network well.
The need to maintain proper social media etiquette cannot be overemphasized. With the help of parents, we can be sure of raising children with sound social media etiquette. Following the suggested tips will go a long way in ensuring optimal online behaviour. Parents and teens should endeavour to pay attention to these tips on social media etiquette in order to enjoy the benefits of social media and avoid the dark side.
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