Social Media and Students and Cyberbullying

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Summer is over and students are back in school with thoughts of teachers and tests and all the other stressors that comes along with being in high school and college.  However, there’s one thing that many will be thinking about, panicking and causing them great distress and that’s *cyberbullying.

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*Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Electronic technology includes devices and equipment such as cell phones, computers, and tablets as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites .

Students are walking around with Smartphones, possessing more knowledge than any generation before them however, some are using it for evil and not for good. As much as we as parents and guardians want to tell them to just put down the phone and not check social media platforms, it’s like telling them to cut off their right arm.  Most, if not all are heads down reading their Facebook status’, checking their Snaps, Twitter and Instagram accounts even before they “SSS”.  They want to know what they missed while they slept if they slept at all!

As a parent of two sons, one who is away at college, I often wish that I could shelter them from all the evil hatred in the world but that’s not possible.  However, what I can do is be there for them when they need to talk both on and off line.  Social Media etiquette is something that we all need to address and take action .  We need to revisit the do’s and don’ts of social media etiquette just like defensive driving because we all know that there are people on the road who definitely need a refresher course in basic driving 101.  

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Social Media Etiquette for Students.

Have you heard the phrase well that’s exactly the problem when people refuse to think before they Tweet.  Students should PAUSE before they POST and STOP before they SNAP.  They should also remember that what they post online today will follow them tomorrow and no matter how many times they press the delete button it may never disappear entirely, the Cloud can store it as soon as they snap it.

I often advise parents and students to Google themselves.  Go Google yourself to see if anything comes up that you may want to change.  Remember Flip Wilson’s Geraldine, “What you see is what you get”?  Well that’s exactly how it is when someone views your digital footprint.  What they see is what they get from you, it’s how they perceive you and it just might be a college admissions officer, coach or prospective employer reading your timeline.

Young adults often make mistakes and some may even post a pic or a comment that is not flattering, but there are ways in which to push the negatives down in the feed.  First they must start by posting positive. “You are what you Tweet”

People judge you based on what they see, hear or read so make sure whatever it is it’s always positive. Again just because you press the ‘delete’ button it never really goes away.  Sign up for Google Alerts which will monitor the web and notify you when your name is mentioned. Students should post about positive things happening in their lives, their neighborhood, communities, Churches, Mosques or schools.  Whether it’s about a favorite sports team or a friend’s track meet, if others see that you are posting positive posts you will receive positive posts in return.

Find and follow charitable organizations that you can support or causes that affect you or your family, such as Breast Cancer Awareness.  Remember there will always be others looking at you but there are far many others who are looking up to you,  so make sure you are sending out positive vibes and messages because the rewards are greater!

I’ll catch ya in Cyberspace and don’t forget to check out my weekly Podcasts, on Blog Talk Radio.  Social Media Sunday with the Delaware Blogger on AAU Teen Talk Radio

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