Be nice.

Schwab’s social media guidelines

Recently, we have been dealing with a number of instances of students using social media platforms to engage in some really negative behavior directed at other students.

Sadly this is nothing new, but it sure seems like it is time for a reminder about how we treat one another not only in person, but when online.

I’ve never understood this kind of behavior, maybe because I’m older and while I use social media (yes, I have a Facebook and an Instagram), I don’t use it as the frequent form of communication that others use it for. Mostly, it is a way for my old high school, college and other random friends and I to stay connected and share silly things that we come across on the internet.

But as I mentioned above, it seems like we are experiencing an increase in the number of instances where social media is being used by students to target and harass other students.

I shared a poster with staff at the beginning of the year which I think is a really good reminder about how to use social media responsibly. Using the word THINK as an acronym, the message is to give some thought to what you put on social media.

T – Is it true? Is what you are about to post online truthful information? Are you posting a rumor or gossip or just plain hurtful information about someone else?

H – Is it helpful? Again, posting a mean comment about someone or posting photo of someone taken without their knowledge is really not helpful. In fact, it is likely doing more harm than being helpful to anyone.

I – Is it inspiring? There is so much on social media that can lift others up and provide inspiration. There are all sorts of examples that we can look to where people use these platforms to share how amazing we all are and how special we all are. Why not post something that lifts someone up rather than tearing that person down.

N – Is it necessary? Sharing a mocking social media comment about someone’s clothing choice or some embarrassing thing that happened to him or her is simply not necessary unless your point is to cause a negative reaction. Is it really necessary to post a comment that is hurtful or mean? No. So don’t.

K – Is it kind? Again, if it is not something kind or nice, don’t do it.

Think before you post something on social media. And please don’t use social media to attack or hurt someone else. Words on a screen can be powerful—they have the power to hurt someone or they have the power to lift someone up.  Choose the latter.