Posting comments and photos on Facebook, writing blogs and tweets, and uploading videos to YouTube is second nature to most students. And participating in social media can be a great way of communicating, but sometimes posts are taken out of context or you’re tagged in a photo you didn’t know was taken. Consider the following to help avoid misunderstandings and potential consequences:
Would you want your family to see what you post?
Do not post or send it if it would cause you any measure of embarrassment in the eyes of family, close friends, future spouses, employers, colleges, or law enforcement now or in the future. What if the statement or image was forever branded and tied to your full name for the rest of your life. What does it say about your character, attitude, behaviors, or values?
Post in the right state of mind
Never post or respond to anything when you are emotionally charged up. Step away from your computer. Put down your cell phone. Take a few hours, or even a day or two, and allow your brain some downtime to think through the best action or response. Responding based on emotion and in quick fashion rarely helps a problem go away, and usually compounds the issue.
Avoid being "guilty by association"
You might not post an incriminating photo of yourself, but your friend might do so and tag you in it. Or, if your friends often post about unethical or illegal behavior, you could be grouped with them.
You're not obligated to respond
Don't feel obligated to respond to messages and friend requests that are bothersome. Disallow certain people from communicating with you or reading certain pieces of content you share, and allow access only to those you trust.
Pledge to Pause Before You Post
Make a statement to spread the word in your community by pledging to take the time to Pause Before You Post.
We asked experts Dr. Justin Patchin and Dr. Sameer Hinduja the tough questions, watch their answers below.