Teaching Social Media Etiquette Tips for Today’s Generation

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Teaching Social Media Etiquette for Today's Generation

We’ve all seen it in the news – selfies at funerals, selfies in the bathrooms with OOPS mirror shots (with nothing on if you get my drift), sharing pics of body shaming or a kid getting bullied, ranting about customers or employers, selfies while touring concentration camps…..social media etiquette is so incredibly important in today’s age of technology. Even more so when it comes to digital privacy.

It’s definitely something most of us did not grow up with so I find it isn’t always something we think to teach our kids about – we just assume they know it. There is no rule book on what to post or not post online but there are great recommendations of what you should think twice about before posting online.

As my kids are getting older and diving into their own YouTube channels and becoming more aware of my work as an influencer online NOW is the time for me to teach them good social media etiquette. I recently just received the new Samsung S8 smartphone so my kids have been suctioned to my phone checking out all the new features! Especially for my son with autism who LOVES anything techy but has a little more difficult time navigating these virtual waters as there is no “written rule book”.

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Social Media Etiquette & Tips:

  1. Be careful about posting where you live, where you’re going, or where you’re at! That’s not to say you can’t post pics while on vacation – but especially for kids, teach them to not post their school name, show pics of their uniforms (which probably have the school name on them) etc. I’ve also taught my kids not to share their age online or other identifying information like our house number, street, etc. Personally I turn off all geolocation tagging apps that update everyone with your locations as you travel around.
  2. Be mindful not to post inappropriate photos online! This is a key tip for any age! No one wants to see you sitting on the toilet, drunk, flicking off your employer, taking selfies with great aunt Myrtle at her funeral, etc. There is a fine line between embracing who you are and portraying who you are. Not only can these things come back to haunt you in your career but it can affect future employment as well. Your digital presence says a lot about you. If in doubt show restraint.
  3. Be extremely careful when calling people out and airing your “dirty laundry” online. Whether you’re ranting about a teacher, a spouse, an employer….there are so many ways this can come back to haunt you! Especially for future employment. When emotions are flying it’s so easy to pick up your phone and blast your thoughts online but take a deep breath and re-read what you are writing to decide whether the possible repercussions are worth posting. Remember everything you post stays online somewhere! Immediately after an especially emotional event or moment may not be the ideal time to express feelings via social media.
Social Media Etiquette Infographic
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4. Don’t share someone else’s secret! Whether your buddy got accepted into an Ivy League school, your spouse is quitting his job to accept another, or your best friend just got pregnant – be very careful about sharing someone else’s news too early. This also goes for posting a bride’s wedding snaps before they’ve had the chance to share with the world – or new baby photos! And yes, this includes the passing of a loved one – be careful when sharing if perhaps not all of the family has been told!

5. Don’t be annoying! Yes, this is the virtual world where you can post (and re-post) every single thought you have if you so desired, but it’s also the world where people can “de-friend” you at the push of a button. Teach kids NOT to take this personally but also be mindful of flooding other people’s news feeds! This is just as important for adults! Don’t make your personal Facebook page your “I sell everything” feed. Don’t share a zillion memes a day or tweet that you’re having poopy cramps LOL! If you don’t want to see it on someone else’s page chances are they don’t want to see it on yours either!

6. Check the background before posting a photo. Instagram has become especially popular due to its visual nature. It is important to check the background of any picture before sharing it on social media. You may have a great photo, but the surroundings could compromise the intended message.

7. Be careful of the message tone when engaging in online conversation. This can be a tricky one (especially for me!) since you can’t see if the other person is joking, angry, teasing, etc. It’s very easy for feelings to get misconstrued. Remember everything that is posted publicly can be found by someone else and could be taken the wrong way. Running a business online can be tricky for this reason!

71% of smartphone owners get upset at others for excessive phone use at least some of the time, according to a recent U.S. Cellular survey¹.


¹ Between Nov. 10-17, 2016, a total of 701 online interviews were conducted among a nationally representative sample by Consumer Insights, in partnership with Maritz CX.

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