Educators are in a unique position to influence the online behavior of youth in a number of important ways. In addition to the ideas included in school policies and student manuals, Pause Before You Post can help. Also, you can:
Actively monitor student internet usage
If you witness students being irresponsible or unwise when creating or posting digital content, consider pointing out the long-term concerns in a way that is instructive but not scolding the student. If done correctly, the teen will hopefully realize they had not completely thought through the range of implications that could stem from their content – both for them and for others. Stories of misuse from the media can be frequently shared with students to constantly pique their consciences about the reality of fallout from unwise electronic communications.
Promote a positive digital reputation
Oftentimes posts are based on emotion or a felt urgency to respond. Unfortunately, it can lead to misunderstandings, misinterpretations, or unintended disparagements that are viewable by many, including those whose friendships and relationships matter on a personal or professional level. If employers and college admissions coordinators search for students online and find questionable or odd content, they may pigeonhole and label the student and move onto the next applicant – thereby summarily denying the student an opportunity.
Reinforce Pausing throughout the school
Infuse important lessons about online safety and responsibility into a variety of classroom activities by either telling stories of positive student postings or presenting examples from the news where students’ mistakes got them into trouble. If all teachers touch on the topic briefly, students will learn that all adults are serious about the issue.
We asked experts Dr. Justin Patchin and Dr. Sameer Hinduja the tough questions, watch their answers below.