Making Good Choices on Social Media

Making Good Choices on Social Media

Mary Naugle, PPW, Special Contributor

Social media like Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, and YouTube can be great!  These platforms can help you stay connected with friends, enhance your creativity, allow you to interact with people with shared interests, and inform you about current events.

On the flip side, social media can be harmful when misused.  Most students have likely heard about these risk factors, but let’s have a refresher about the pitfalls of social media and how to make good choices when using these apps.

Cyberbullying– Kids and teens can be teased and harassed online, often anonymously. Cyberbullying is considered the most common online risk for teens, and it is linked to depression, loneliness, and even suicide in both the victims and the bullies.

Mental Health– In addition to the negative effects of cyberbullying, simply spending too much time on social media can have negative mental health effects. Time spent on social media lends itself to comparing yourself to others, which is never healthy.

Privacy and Safety– Without meaning to, you may be sharing more information online than you intend to.  When you share your real name, location, places you go, and your interests and activities, you can make yourself a target for online predators or set yourself up for an encounter with someone you do not want to interact with.

Your reputation– Photos, videos, and comments that you post can be damaging to you, even if you delete them.  Anyone can screenshot what you post and use it against you.  People lose jobs and opportunities based on what they post online.

Wasted Time– When you spend lots of time on social media, you don’t have enough hours in the day for exercising and spending time outside, spending time with family and friends, or even getting enough sleep.

When using social media, here are a few things to think about to help YOU make good choices and stay safe:

Don’t “friend” strangers

Utilize your privacy settings

Give yourself a few minutes to think before you post or comment

Think about how you would feel if a close relative or a future employer saw your post

Choose kindness!  If it isn’t kind, don’t post it!