Falling pins with YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram logos

How to Be Responsible Using Social Media as a Student

We all use social media every day and have a level of responsibility as users. Here's some advice for students to learn responsible social media practices.

Social media is a tool that has many advantages, allowing you to directly communicate with a large audience, be a member of an ever-present online community, stay connected with friends and family, develop your interests, meet new people, and explore your own identity and opinions. However, if not used safely and responsibly, social media has many disadvantages—and potential consequences. That’s why you should keep these important rules in mind as you navigate your way through the world of social media.

Make sure your pages represent you

Think of social media as a résumé of your character. Do your pages and profiles showcase your passions, hobbies, and friends? Many peers or those you may network with will use social media to get to know you better, so you want to make sure your presence is an accurate representation of yourself. Don’t be overly fake, lie about yourself, or share things that don’t represent your beliefs—this isn’t a true representation of you. 

Never post anything that paints you in a bad light

This is arguably one of the most important social media tips: Don’t post anything that can be used as evidence of unlawful activity. This can lead to you getting in serious trouble with your current or future school and the police. An easy rule is to imagine what a parent, employer, teacher, or grandparent would think about what you’re about to post. Even if you post as “private,” it’s important to remember that nothing is really private in our online world—things can be screenshot and shared in an instant.  

Related: How to Prepare Your Social Media for the Job Search

Stay in control of your content feed

Unfollow and stay away from other social accounts that spread false news, bully others, post insensitive content, or make you feel bad about yourself. Take charge of the media that you are taking in. You want to use social media to uplift your life, stay informed, and connect with your friends. Only follow accounts that are a safe space and promote your growth as an individual. 

Manage your time wisely

The digital world is an easy place to get lost in. Be mindful of how long you’re simply scrolling, especially if you’re not actually getting anything out of it. Set limits on how long you should be on social media apps. Turn off your notifications so it’s less distracting when you have things to get done. Your apps shouldn’t become a roadblock preventing you from completing your daily tasks. This tip is important since it’s so easy to get sucked into TikTok video after TikTok video. 

Related: How to Manage Your Time as a Student

Understand the policies

Many schools and workplaces have policies about social media usage. It’s important to understand and adhere to the rules of your institution. Also, be sure to follow the rules of the specific social media platform you’re using. As you’re setting up your account, read through everything (yes, even the fine print) so you understand what rules you need to follow and what you’re consenting to. Go through the privacy settings and change the default setting to something more applicable to you. Also, try to avoid third-party applications. These are often unreliable and are simply used to gather your personal information. 

Keep yourself safe from strangers

Be wary and cautious when following or interacting with people you don’t know on the internet. Even if their profile is friendly or they’re a well-known person on the platform, you don’t know who is truly behind the screen. When conversing with “friends” online, don’t expose any private information. Never meet with a new online friend in person; chances are they are not who they say they are. And don’t respond to any of their requests you’re not comfortable with. 

Related: How to Stay Safe on Your College Campus

Don’t post everything

Do not post about your every move, location, school, town, etc. This information can be used against you. It’s important to maintain a level of privacy between you, your followers, and the digital world. Being careful about what you post and who you interact with keeps you safe from identity theft, privacy infiltration, stalking, and more. The best thing you can do is to keep your accounts private and only let people you know follow you. 

Keep your parents in the loop

Although most of us don’t want our parents seeing everything we’re doing, friend your parents on social media. This will hold you accountable for the content you post and interact with. Plus, having an adult perspective is beneficial as you make decisions about your social media usage. Additionally, this will keep you safer as well as strengthen your relationship and trust with your parents. 

Related: Top 8 College Topics to Discuss With Your Student Today

Social media is an integral part of the average teenager’s daily life. With the endless communication, entertainment, and information these platforms provide, it’s very hard to disconnect from the online world. When using social media, it’s important to remember what Spider-Man taught us: With great power comes great responsibility. With the digital world at your fingertips, it’s vital that you follow these rules to remain safe. 

Check out the tag “social media” to read more articles and advice on networking, smart online behavior, and more.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Tags:
college students high school students life skills networking online safety social media student life

About Sydney Mathew

Sydney Ann Mathew is a student at Shadow Creek High School in Texas. She’s an academically successful student, participating and holding office positions in a variety of organizations and clubs. At the age of nine, Sydney won first place in a city-wide invention competition. Her invention currently has a “patent pending” status and is in process to being approved. Sydney enjoys attending church and singing in the youth choir. She volunteers in her local neighborhood community and was instrumental in starting a chapter of Color Cycle, a national recycling initiative, at her elementary school. In her spare time, Sydney enjoys playing basketball and volleyball, playing the piano, spending time with family and friends, and dancing. Sydney plans to pursue a career in business after high school. She writes in her spare time and uses poetry to convey her emotions and feelings.

 

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
CollegeXpress Logo

$10,000

Are you our next winner?

Register now for our scholarship giveaway

Leah Maciel

Leah Maciel

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has helped me with all aspects of applying for college. The website is extremely easy to navigate and gives access to so many resources. I was able to research all of the colleges I was interested in, find out any information I wished to know about, and keep them organized in a list. I've also been able to research scholarships and save them as resources for later. I've used many websites in my college and scholarship search, and CollegeXpress has by far been my favorite one to use.

Makiyah Murray

Makiyah Murray

High School Class of 2021

The college application process has been a stressful one, but CollegeXpress has eased some of that stress with its readily available college resources. At the beginning of the process, I frequently used the college search feature, and now that I’m almost done applying, I’ve started using the scholarship search. Both of these resources have made it easier to find relevant information.

Melanie Kajy

Melanie Kajy

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has helped me tremendously during my senior year of high school. I started off using the college search to find more information about the universities I was interested in. Just this tool alone gave me so much information about a particular school. It was my one-stop shop to learn about college. I was able to find information about college tuition, school rank, majors, and so much more that I can't list it all. The college search tool has helped me narrow down which college I want to attend, and it made a stressful process surprisingly not so stressful. I then moved to the scholarship search tool to find scholarships to apply for because I can't afford to pay for tuition myself. The search tool helped me find scholarships that I was eligible for. The tool gave me all the information I could ever need about a particular scholarship that was being offered. The CollegeXpress scholarship search tool is so much better than other tools offered, like the Chegg scholarship search. Thanks to CollegeXpress, I was able to apply to tons of scholarships in a relatively easy way!

Alexandra Adriano

Alexandra Adriano

$2,000 Community Service Scholarship Winner, 2016

I've used CollegeXpress quite a bit as a senior, particularly for colleges and scholarships, so it's been a very big asset in that respect! I would recommend it to anyone looking to pursue a college education, especially seniors! This scholarship will help me achieve my goals in ways I couldn't have before, and I know that there are opportunities like that for everyone on the website and in the magazines!

Heather McCarty

Heather McCarty

High School Class of 2020

CollegeXpress has helped me with the college application process. The tips and tricks for important essays were so helpful. I also gained useful knowledge about college life. Even though I’m fully online, CollegeXpress has helped me develop a sense of how college is in person. The experiences from college students that were featured on their Instagram page have shown the good, the bad, and the “secret” life on campus from a reliable perspective. Not to mention, they relieved my feelings of anxiety about the workload. I can now understand how it can be stressful, but it takes self-control and willpower to get assignments completed on time and with quality.

College Matches