Rules. How we hate thee! Whether in high school or college, students don’t want to hear about any restrictions or taboos, especially when it comes to social media accounts. After all, those accounts are personal, aren’t they? And that’s nobody’s business what you decide to post there. But things are not quite as they seem.
In fact, irresponsible publishing on social media could ruin education and undermine careers. Even though the majority of young adults are aware of online security, they often forget about the most common social media mistakes to avoid.
This guide for students reveals the mistakes that might cost them their education. We won’t mention tips such as “never friend your teacher on Facebook!” because they are too obvious for Gen Y and Z already. Wait, what? Are you friends with your educators on social media already? Well, all the more reasons for you to read this guide now.
Mistake 1: Posting Confidential Information
We all know about things not to post online. Although most social networks have privacy settings and promise to keep information secure, you shouldn’t 100% trust them. Remember: teachers, parents, and strangers can potentially see everything you share. More than that, it makes you vulnerable to identity thieves. As Andrew Moravick, Research Analyst at Aberdeen Group once said, “If you don’t want something to be seen, don’t post it on the Internet.”
Top secret information students shouldn’t post:
- Full birthday
- Home address
- Student ID
- Real phone numbers
- Photos of class schedules or homework, especially if some confidential information is present there
Mistake 2: Making Fun Of Teachers
Some students see no harm in posting embarrassing photos or speaking poorly of their teachers. That’s all about fun, right? Nope.
Educators have a right to privacy, either. Plus, you never know what tomorrow will bring: those teachers could help you with internships or job search, so why to burn down a bridge?
The same goes not for teachers only. [pullquote]Think twice before trashing people and places online[/pullquote], as one negative comment could cost you college acceptance or dream job: admission officers and recruiters thoroughly check social media activity of candidates, so your Facebook profile tells them more about your personality than professional CV or portfolios.
Mistake 3: Bullying Peers
This one remains among the most serious problems in schools, but online bullying is no less harmful and dangerous. Hateful words in comments, hurtful posts about others, and harassment of any kind could lead not only to violence, suicide, or depression for those you’re bullying but your expulsion and criminal prosecution, either.
Mistake 4: Cheating And Plagiarizing
Lying about your academic achievements to admission officers after you posted angry statuses about professors grading you F for each and every essay would be far from good practice. The same goes for sharing photos of you at parties while you convinced teachers to extend a due date because you were ill.
Teachers, admission officers, recruiters… They all investigate your social media accounts, as well as your homework for cheating or plagiarism. So, think twice if the game is worth the candle.
Mistake 5: Liking Or Posting Questionable Activities
Imagine you “like” Is This a Joke? Professors Willing To Write my Essay? Or, post the picture of your last weekend’s poker win. Or, share the video of your latest bong hit… Expulsion and criminal prosecution are consequences you’ll have for that, and they’ll obviously affect the rest of your life.
Always pay attention to what you “like” and share on social media. Even if your profile is private, friends can download that dirty laundry to show it to others.
Mistake 6: Conducting Unprofessional Profiles
Social media accounts are the reflection of your personality, and dubious photos from college life could do harm to your reputation. Make sure your online presence reflects responsibility:
- Google yourself to get an idea of what others will see when searching you.
- Delete posts uncovering relationship problems, exposed bodies, alcohol, and confident information.
- Make sure that posts expressing your opinion are not provocative or humiliating to anyone.
There’s no need to make your social media profiles completely private, as such secrecy could smell wrong for admission officers or employers.
Mistake 7: Being Too Emotional
How often do you say or do things you regret afterward? Yes, it’s human nature to react emotionally from time to time but be careful when deciding to share emotions online. Think how your angry tweet could affect well-being or even safety of those around you; moreover, think how those emotional posts describe you in the eyes of others.
Social media is not the place to demonstrate anger, frustrations, or, what’s worse, violent thoughts. Do you remember the case of Alexander Song, a 19-year-old student who posted intentions to “kill enough people to make it to national news” to Reddit? Police arrested him at school despite the fact he had no weapons with him.
Is a short-lived emotion worth the harm it could create?
Mistake 8: Too Many Check-Ins
Oh, this sweet temptation of telling friends about places you visit, activities you do, and sights you see! There’s nothing wrong about that, except making it easy for predators to locate you and for professors to expose your lie.
Don’t be too obsessed with social check-ins. It’s fine to do some sharing, but not when it may affect your safety and reputation.
Mistake 9: Ignoring School Policies
They differ from school to school, and students should be aware of them back and forth. For example, many educational institutions don’t allow computer activity that’s unrelated to coursework, including social media use. So, a single “like”, tweet, or social gaming during the studying hours could become a cause for expulsion.
How will they know? The implemented systems tracking IP addresses and logins do work well.
Long Story Short…
Rules are many. Social media rules are yet more, especially for those willing to create and support a positive online reputation. And that is what young adults should consider because social media reflect their personalities and, therefore, could affect both college life and future career. To minimize risks of developing a negative reputation, expulsion, or, what’s worse, criminal prosecution, there are several no’s for students to remember:
- NO sharing confidential information online
- NO posting questionable content
- NO bullying and harassment
- NO lie
- NO threatening
- NO illegal activities
- NO undue emotions
Yes, college life is about challenges and rebellion, but the game is not worth the candle when it comes to future work and life.