The Hillsboro Middle/High School Counseling Department presented its December counseling theme “Social Media Etiquette and Posting Responsibly.” Students at the schools were given information and participated in class discussions surrounding the dangers of posting information online.
The students were instructed on how to make smart decisions about sharing information on social media and other various online outlets. The school counselors provided information to all students from the Josten’s program “Pause Before You Post,” which included facts and visual reminders to learn about personal publishing, particularly using online social media sites like Facebook and YouTube. Through classroom discussion and printed guides, students were encouraged to ask themselves important questions before posting. Students will be exposed to the risks and consequences of making poor decisions and also receive information to share with friends and family members.
Some of the questions students were asked to consider included:
• Would anyone be embarrassed or hurt by what I published?
• Who will be able to see what I published?
• What would my parents or teachers say if they saw what I published?
• How would I feel if the head of my dream job or dream school saw what I published?
• How would I feel if what I published was all over the national news?
• Am I proud of what I published?
• Do I have a clear conscience about what I published?
Guidelines the students were offered to publish by included:
• Assume that everyone will see what you publish. You have little control over who might see what you publish.
• Consider that people might use what you publish to make fun of you or cause you harm. How might your worst enemy use what you published to make life miserable for you?
• Do not publish inappropriate language or gestures. You don’t want people to judge you negatively when they see your work.
• Do not publish something that you didn’t create. Use your own creativity to publish original content.
• Involve your parents. Show them what you are creating, publishing and posting so they know they can trust that you will use good judgement.
Students viewed a different video every day during homeroom about social media and personal publishing. Teachers were given a “pause” pin to wear throughout the month of December to act as a reminder to the students about the importance of “pausing” before they post online.
The Hillsboro schools encourage parents to monitor their child’s involvement on social media sites and discuss the importance of creating a responsible digital footprint. If you would like more information about the safe and responsible use of the Internet and other communications technologies, visit www.cyberbullying.us for more information.
Submitted by Jessica Rhoades, Hillsboro Middle School counselor.