7 Things Teens Should Never Post on Social Media

Discover how posting these seven things can create problems

teen on smartphone

To most teens, sharing photos, quotes and thoughts online seems like a natural thing to do. What’s more, teens often think that sharing information on social media is harmless. They assume that their friends are the only people who can access their information. But even with the best security settings, their privacy can be breeched.

Be sure you are discussing proper social media use with your child.

For instance, discuss proper digital etiquette, Internet safety and cyberbullying. You also should discuss ways in which they can manage their online reputation. And be sure to point these seven things that they should never post on social media.

Personal information. Aside from the fact that posting personal information online can increase their risk of identity theft, doing so also puts them at risk when it comes to cyberbullies, predators and stalkers. Social media is not the place to include addresses, telephone numbers and even birthdates. If your child really wants to post her birthday, be sure she knows not to include the year.

Details about plans. Be sure your teen knows that she should not announce to the world when she is home alone. It also is not a good idea to announce family vacations, concert plans and other outings she has planned. Instead, encourage her to post pictures of the concert, the football game or the family vacation after the fact.

Thieves often use this type of information to their advantage. Additionally, bullies also can use this information.

Pranks or jokes. If your teen likes, retweets or shares content that is offensive, this can lead to a trouble. Remind your teen that commenting on questionable content or sharing cartoons that are inappropriate can damage her online reputation, especially among future colleges and employers.

Even if your teen did not create the original message, simply interacting with the content can damage her reputation. And if the content involves cyberbullying, your teen is just as much at fault as the original poster.

Personal problems. It is not uncommon for teens to turn to social media when they have a spat with a friend, are angry with a parent, or break up with a boyfriend. There is something cathartic about posting quotes and pictures expressing their feelings. However, it is never appropriate to share the details of these events on social media for the entire world to read. Make sure your teen knows that personal thoughts, feelings and problems do not belong online. Instead, encourage her to write it down in notebook or journal. Or, suggest she make a collage of the quotes she finds encouraging. And even better, be sure she knows that the best way to work through an issue or a problem is by talking to someone about it.

Inappropriate photos. There is not question that teens love taking selfies.

And while silly pictures, duck faces and group shots can be fun, some teens are tempted to take things too far. They believe that posting sexually suggestive selfies or photos of them engaging in risky or questionable activities will attract attention or make them popular. But remind your teen that these types of photos can open them up to sexual bullying, harassment and cyberbullying. For many teens, one simple photo posted without any forethought given to the potential consequences has not only damaged their reputations but also has led to a great deal of pain and embarrassment. Talk to your teen about what constitutes an inappropriate photo and how posting something like it is risky.

Rude comments. It is not uncommon for teens to say things on the Internet that they would not say in person. In fact, name-calling and public shaming are commonplace. Make it clear that your teen understands that slandering another person is not appropriate and should never be done online. Comments and posts should always be kind and sarcasm is never received the way it was intended online. Make it a rule that your teen should never post anything online that is mean or that they would not say directly to another person’s face.

Rumors and gossip. Unfortunately, a number of teens use social media to spread rumors and gossip. What’s more, they do not always mention the person’s name when doing it. When this happens, it is called subtweeting or vaguebooking. It is way teens talk about others online without ever using the person’s name. They feel like it is acceptable and that not everyone will know whom they are talking about. But in reality, most people within the teen’s social circles know exactly whom they are talking about.

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