Things not to do on social media


The Internet and social media have undoubtedly changed the way we communicate, meet new people, or establish our reputation. The consequences of irresponsible online behavior are preventable, for the most part, with knowledge, awareness, and self-control. We recommend the following practices.


1) Do not post illegal activities

Many adults, as well as high school and college students, experiment with many activities and substances. The second you post a video of last weekend's party or adventure, you become defenseless against the outcomes that might affect the rest of your life. You could lose your job, be expelled from school and also face criminal prosecution. Even if your profile is set to private, a friend can always download and save incriminating photos that he or others can use against you in the future.

2) Do not post derogatory words about your teachers, bosses, colleagues, or companies

You never know how a message is going to spread. You might not be friends with any of your teachers, colleagues, or your boss, but some of your friends or friends-of-friends might be. The best idea is not to post negative information about anyone.

3) Do not post confidential or sensitive information

Think about how easy it is to share content on Facebook; if you share confidential information on your public profile, that information could be accessible by anyone, no hacking required. Your identity could be stolen—just like that. Some examples include: class schedules, vacation plans, new driver's license pictures with all the information on the driver's license, passports, dates of birth, cell phone numbers, Social Security numbers, or anything else that contains sensitive or confidential information.

4) Do not lie/cheat/plagiarize

Imagine this: You convinced your professor to give you an extension on your term paper so you can visit your "sick" grandmother or you call in sick to work with the flu. Only instead, you decide to attend an event or go out shopping. Once you post a status update to Facebook, or you upload pictures of the bargains you found on Instagram, you have provided evidence of your deceit. Don't be surprised when you get a big red F and an academic investigation, or return to work to face the consequences.

5) Do not threaten violence

Threatening a person or group of people in any situation is extremely serious. Even posting anonymously in an online forum full of strangers will raise red flags. Once the authorities have discovered a threat, they have the right to investigate—and they most likely will. Social media is not the place to vent!

6) Do not create unprofessional public profiles

Whether you're a high school student applying to college, a recent college grad looking to begin your career, or a professional with a steady job, your social media presence needs to reflect responsibility. Remember that private profiles can be easily compromised; assume you have no privacy online.

7) Do not rely 100% on privacy settings

However diligently you may protect your social media identity and define privacy settings, don't rely on privacy settings over good judgment. If you don't want something to be seen, don't post it on the Internet!

8) Do not post emotionally

It is human nature to react without thinking through the consequences. Before posting, take a moment to imagine how your posts will affect your reputation, as well as the feelings, safety, and well-being of those around you—even those you dislike. Posting an angry message in the heat of the moment may feel therapeutic or liberating, but the instant gratification you get from venting is not worth the potential harm it could cause.