by Olivia Collins
Although the four years spent in high school may seem like a short span of time, the maturity difference between each grade can be drastic. With each year, the students come back with more experiences under their belt.
But social media is one experience where lessons learned "the hard way" can haunt students for years to come. Here are some social media dos and don'ts for each year…
Freshmen – Although the first thing you may want to do is jump on Facebook and friend all the upperclassman, it may be best to hold off until you actually meet them in person. On top of that, don't post crazy things in an attempt to get attention. Even though it is easy to feel invisible during your first year, posting outrageous things online is more likely to bring you negative attention.
It is, however, very important to keep up with teachers on social media. If they create an Edmodo or Twitter for the class, make sure to take advantage of those resources. While college may seem light years away, the grades received freshman year do matter.
Sophomores – With freshman year under your belt, you quickly forget the struggles of finding your place that first year and might even feel a little over confident. However, whatever you do, don't trash talk freshman on social media. Yes, they may have huge backpacks and a lost look on their faces, but you were in the same situation not too long ago. And being a bully online is never acceptable.
Plus you always want to be thinking of what you’re putting “out there” because everything on the Internet is public (even when you think it isn’t) and anything you say can come back to haunt you when you least expect it.
Juniors – Now that you're finally settled into high school, it's time to start thinking about college. You don't want to waste any time finding the right school – and there are many websites, including CollegeBoard, that can help. It is also important to start being careful of what you post more than ever. If colleges (or prospective employers) start searching through your public social media (and they will), you want them to see nothing but wonderful things.
Seniors – It's your final year in high school and it's time to join your college's Facebook page. Be sure to make friends and reach out to other incoming freshmen, but don't tell your whole life story! Post things like "What kind of music does everyone like?" or "I'm traveling from *insert hometown here* for this school (medical, law, arts, etc.)" – not your life story. If you wouldn't tell something to a stranger on the street, don't post it online.
High school is a journey; a stepping stone to college (if that’s your goal), and your ultimate destination: real life. Social media can be a fun part of the experience, and help you stay connected to friends long after study hall and locker meet-ups are behind you.
But just as you’re laying the groundwork for the next stages of life with your education, you’re laying the groundwork on social media as well. Stay smart, be kind, and remember that the Internet is forever. And you’ll be just fine.
Got any tips I missed? Share them in the comments!
IMAGE CREDIT: KOMUnews