Families: What You Need To Know About Social Media

Last Updated: 10/12/2021 6:47 PM

Social media is all around us. Our students use social media daily to connect with one another and document what is going on in their lives in real time. It is a way of networking and the power of social media allows our students to connect with people that they have never met. 

Today, students are able to share more personal information than their parents could due to text messaging and social media platforms. Parents need to know the different platforms that their students could be using to help keep them safe when the internet and world is at their fingertips.

 

Social media consists of websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. Some of the most popular social media platforms that our students use are Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, Snapchat, YouTube, Flickr.

There are many different ways that people use social media:

  • Online profiles: A profile is where students share basic information about themselves on a social media platform. This can include the student’s name, birthdate, interests, where they live, etc. 

  • Friends: Friends on social media is a way for students to connect with peers’ and see their profiles. Students can “follow” or “add friend” to connect with others. (Some students follow people that they do not know to boost their “following” numbers.)

  • Messaging/Chats: Students can send messages from any device with internet access. Students use platforms like Facebook Messenger, iMessage, WhatsApp, Hangouts, and texting.

  • Walls and boards: Posting messages to social media sites that give updates on life happenings in real time.

  • Photo and video sharing: Students are able to share photos or videos on a variety of apps. They can share these privately or publicly.

  • Vlogs: Also known as a Video Blog, usually on sites like YouTube.

  • Playing games: There are many different websites where students can play online games and interact with other people (they may or may not know)

  • Do you know what apps/platforms your student is using? Take some time to learn more about them. Many social media sites have an age requirement however, many students know how to get around this.

  • Let your student know you are interested in their online life. Have conversations about what they are doing online and the people they are “meeting”. Talk about the possibility of fake accounts and keeping people you meet online, only online.

  • Try to keep devices in a common space. Students will do more than you think when they know they are not being watched. Consider setting time limits for your student to be on social media.

  • Protect your family when they are online. There are many programs that provide parental controls, can block websites, enforce time limits, monitor the websites your child visits, and their online conversations. (Google Family Link for personal Google accounts, Xfinity, AT&T, T-Mobile, etc.) 

  • Friend or follow your student on social media. Let your student know that you are helping them stay safe online.

  • Discuss what is okay to post to social media. Remind your student that if it’s posted online, it’s there forever. Is their post suitable for grandma to see?

Stopbullying.gov defines cyberbullying as

bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. Cyberbullying can occur through SMS, Text, and apps, or online in social media, forums, or gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content. Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. It can include sharing personal or private information about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation. Some cyberbullying crosses the line into unlawful or criminal behavior.

Cyberbullying can be found across all social media platforms, especially in the comment section of any post. Talk with your student about how to comment and the types of things they should post. You or your student can report cyberbullying through Pike Township's Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying Report

Should there be a school related concern presented on social media, please contact your school's administration.