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Social Media: Proceed With Caution

Social Media provides connections in so many avenues for teenagers today that it’s difficult at times, to keep pace with the apps that students use among one another.  We are all familiar with Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat as what we (adults) might consider the primary social media sites of our students.  Some of the other sites that students use (but not limited to) are: Tumblr, Kik Messenger, Tinder, Burn Note, Yik Yak, ooVoo, Pheed, WhatApp, Vine, Skout and Whisper.  Whew!  That’s a lot of sites!

What is often times the case, social media topics run rampant across our students’ cell phones that grab their attention as well as their imagination.

The topic of “Clowning Around” has made its way from one coastline in America to the other. A quick Google search on “Clowning Around”  informs us of its birthplace on the internet being Facebook with surrogates such as Snapchat and Twitter to help it  link with as many teenage students as possible.

R-PHS students were talking about “Clowning Around” as they do other topics of the hour or day on their favorite social media sites.  What this topic does allow, is a great time to have adult conversations with teens about the potential dangers that lurk on their social media sites.

Keeping yourself safe is of utmost importance when it comes to social media sites.  Here are a few tips for maintaining safety:

  • Limit the amount of personal information you post.  Leave out your address, daily routines, photos and phone number.
  • Remember that the internet is a public resource.  Only post what you want the whole world to see or know about you.
  • Be wary of strangers.  If you don’t know someone personally, don’t give any information about yourself.
  • Restrict your settings.  Customize your settings to restrict access to only certain (well known) people.
  • Use strong passwords. Make guessing impossible!  It it’s compromised, someone can pretend to be you.
  • Be skeptical.  Don’t believe everything you read online.  Take time to verify any/all information before you take action on it.
  • Make sure your computer’s anti-virus software is updated.  The best place to catch a virus is on social media sites!

Social media sites are part of everyday life.  As you would obey traffic laws or rules in a school, know and better yet, put into practice safe practices when interacting on your favorite social media sites.