Anti-Bullying Guidelines for Social Media and Texting

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Parents, school personnel and law enforcement officials have been talking to kids for decades about the dangers of drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and – more recently – bullying at school.

Now the discussion about harassment and bullying needs to extend beyond the campus to include social media sites and phone texting as well. None of us wants to hear of another student bullied so severely via social media that he or she tragically commits suicide.

If you are a student, read and consider the following suggestions for using social media wisely. If you are the parent of a student, you may want to share these guidelines with your child.

Eight Guidelines for Keeping Social Media User-Friendly

  1. Be kind. It is easy to be unkind when hiding behind a computer screen, but cutting written words are just as hurtful as insults said to someone directly. Choose words that build others up or do no harm. Never post what others have asked for you to hold in confidence.
  2. Be truthful. If you share lies online, others will eventually figure it out and stop trusting anything you say. Apologize if you get caught in a lie, and then cut it out.
  3. Be courageous. We gossip about other people with our friends because it is fun, but you can be sure that if your friends are gossipers they will at some point gossip about you – which is not much fun. It takes a bit of courage to stop listening or participating in gossip, but others will respect you for it, learn to trust you, and maybe follow your lead.
  4. Be discrete. If you are upset with someone, speak with him or her about it face-to-face and in private. Tell this person how you feel and why. Listen to what he or she has to say. It is much better to talk through a problem than to let feelings fester and broadcast them.
  5. Be authentic. It is always wise to be real, to be yourself. Just as with lying, if you are fake or phony on social media sites, others will figure it out and be unable to trust anything you post.
  6. Be tolerant. Cut others a bit of slack. We all stick our foot in our mouth now and then, make mistakes, word statements poorly, and have irritable or down days. If you cannot overlook something someone posts, talk to the person about it privately and in person.
  7. Be forward-thinking. Remember that everything you do online is public, and once you put something “out there” it is not always erasable. What we post on social media is much like a personal resume, so make sure your media resume is in line with your values and goals.
  8. Be discerning. You do not have to remain connected to individuals who constantly try to pull you into their emotional and social dramas, or to those repeatedly posting lies or vicious gossip. Your social media experience and reputation are safer without them.

Inspired by: Empowering Parents

 
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