While adults can get fired from their jobs and hurt their careers for clumsy social media posts, students can also have unwanted consequences in a moment of carelessness. Privacy settings give users a false sense of security. Social media is never private. Once something is on the web, a friend can save a screen grab and share it. Here are 10 social media posts that students should avoid during this new school year.
1. Incriminating posts
Posting any evidence of criminal activity could guarantee a trip to juvenile court. If you can't help yourself and must write graffiti, avoid posts of pictures on your personal accounts. If you play a prank on someone that involves vandalism, avoid posting videos or any evidence that can be used against you.
2. Emotional rants
You may regret them. In a moment of anger or frustration, you may want to use social media to share your feelings about a teacher or your parents. Do your best to avoid that. The long term consequences outweigh the short term relief.
3. Update status when you are supposed to be studying
If you are in class, your teacher may find out you are distracted. If you are supposed to be studying or get an extension on school work, but instead decide to go to the movies do not update your status. Even if you plan on doing your work later, it may give the impression that you are not being a responsible student.
4. Making fun of someone
Bullying is a serious offense. Posting something vicious, because someone is different than you may result in a school expulsion. If it happens repeatedly students can end up in court.
5. Post schedule or personal information
It is not safe. Child predators posing as someone your age can use the information to find you. Criminals use information such as student ID, social security number and birthday to hurt you or your family. The risk of identity theft is high.
6. Not follow school policy
Whether it's online or offline your school's policy applies. If you are in a military school or a religious school that has strict rules about decorum, your social media accounts should be clean. Picture your principal looking at your Instagram and ask yourself whether or not you would be expelled or reprimanded.
7. Use social media on school computers
Since school computers are meant to be used for studying, your teacher may not approve of you using it to scan tweets about your favorite celebrity, shop online or download music. Remember that when you log in to a school computer there is a record of everything you do.
8. Post negative opinions
Negative posts about your school or teacher could harm relationships. You may need the teacher or school's reference in the future. It's best to exercise self-censorship and vent with your best friends or your parents and not on a public forum.
9. Threaten a person with violence
Authorities take threatening posts seriously and will make an effort to track them down. Even when the word "kill" or "shoot" or "stab" is used without the intent of actually committing the act, could end up in criminal charges. Holding what could look like a firearm can also prompt trouble that is preventable.
10. Avoid nudity
Something that you may find funny and harmless, may be offensive to someone else. Remember that if you don't feel comfortable with your teachers or principal seeing it, it should not be posted or sent in a message. Sharing it with someone as a joke may get you in trouble in the future, if that person chooses to share it.