How to avoid social media blunders and faux pas

If your children are being bullied, don't be afraid to get their school involved.
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If your children are being bullied, don't be afraid to get their school involved.

As much as I have a love/hate relationship with social media, I can't imagine a world without NeighTwitBookInstaChat. I mean, what else would I do during long boring meetings?

But while social media platforms have become an essential part to most Kiwis' lives (nearly 90 per cent of Kiwis aged 15 years or older use social media), many of us are still not using it "correctly".

We all have our pet peeves about social media (who's sick of seeing baby photos?), and it's all too common to hear stories about – or be subjected to – online bullying.

So how can you avoid falling victim to typical social media faux pas?

DON'T POST PHOTOS OF YOUR HOLIDAY – UNTIL YOU COME HOME

Checking into the airport and telling the world that you're "Heading to Bali for three weeks – can't wait to get a tan!" is great if you're trying to make people jealous, but not so great for opportunistic burglars. If you just have to tell the world, book a house-sitter too.

DON'T POST DRUNKEN PHOTOS OF YOURSELF

Many employers and recruitment agencies use social media as a background check. Going out to town is fun, but posting incriminating photos of yourself on social media afterwards might come back to haunt you when it comes to your current job or any future employment. If your friend is the one who's posting them, simply untag yourself.

DON'T POST TOO MANY PICTURES OF YOUR KIDS

We get that you're proud that your baby said his first word aged seven weeks (it wasn't; it was just a burp), but you don't need to spam your friends' timelines with photos and videos of your kids.

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More and more parents are setting up private social media accounts that only select friends and family can view to give their kids more online privacy. It's increasingly common, too, for parents to avoid posting pictures of their kids on social media altogether until they're old enough to veto what goes online themselves.

DON'T BE A BULLY

Online bullying is rife in New Zealand. Anyone thinking of hiding behind the invisibility and sometimes anonymity of social media to post malicious comments or incriminating photos to bully other people should become familiar with the Harmful Digital Communications Act first.

If your children are on social media, regularly sit down with them and make sure both they and you feel comfortable about what they're experiencing. If they are being bullied, don't be afraid to get their school involved. If it's you, don't be afraid to block or report the troll to social media administrators. If that doesn't help, report them to the police.

DO MOVE TO MORE FACE-TO-FACE INTERACTION

Unlike some other social media platforms, Neighbourly.co.nz actively encourages neighbours and communities to first connect virtually then come together in reality over some common ground – their neighbourhood. Virtual relationships with people you may never meet in real life can serve a purpose, but face-to-face relationships are always much more sustaining.

 - Stuff

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