Social media is a fun way to share what’s on your mind – and for teens, it’s an essential way to communicate. Here’s the etiquette teens need to know so what they post today doesn’t adversely affect them in the future.
We talked to social media pro Josh Ochs, author of the upcoming book “Light, Bright and Polite,” a social primer for anyone interested in keeping a clean profile online.
He says unlike adults, teens find it tougher to distinguish between what should be public or private online. They grew up with social media, and are much more comfortable sharing just about everything about themselves.
First off, Ochs reinforced the fact that what you post online really never goes away – even if you delete it.
“We find that Google and a whole lot of other big companies out there are actually recording a lot of what we do online,” said Ochs.
Also, no matter how strong you think your privacy settings are, always expect that employers can and will gain access to your page.
In particular, he says to pay attention to things such as your Facebook “likes.” These are often visible to the public even if your profile is private, and can reveal a lot about you.
We talked to 15-year old Emily Guerra, a student in Los Angeles. She explained “It has become so normal that every aspect of life ends up online…and no one really cares, like if someone posts a really inappropriate picture.” She said social media has become a major part of teen life, just like texting.
Ochs also recommends looking at your Facebook profile to see what it looks like to the public.
In Chrome, go to your Facebook page.
Right click the upper right hand corner of the page where it says your name and shows your picture (right next to the “home button”.)
Select the option to “open link in an incognito window”
You will see your page as the public can or even a search engine.
In Firefox, go to your Facebook page.
Right click your name in the upper right hand corner of the page (right next to the home button)
Copy the link address
Go to Tools, Start Private Browsing.
Paste the address of your Facebook page into the address bar.
You will see you page as the public does.
In Safari, go to your Facebook page.
From the menu bar click Safari, then Private Browsing… Click OK at the window prompt.
Now, click your name in the upper right hand corner of your Facebook page, right next to where it says “home.”
You will see your page as the public does.
For more about Josh, check out his Twitter page.