Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are just a few of the many social media platforms that are utilized from day to day. While this connectivity provides many benefits, it also opens up more doors for sexual predators and bullies to attack their victims virtually.
Jackie Lamont, of the Suffolk County District Attorneys office, where she is director of youth safety and outreach, offered her advice to middle schoolers last Friday by giving presentations on staying within the boundaries of social media. Students, in grades six through eight had the opportunity to ask any questions they had regarding social media usage and potential threats.
“The things that we do online today, don’t just affect us in a few days, they affect us forever,” Lamont said.
Sharing real-life examples, Lamont was able to show the students exactly why you have to be cautious when using social media. One of those examples, involved students getting declined from Harvard after they had gotten accepted. The change in acceptance to the school was a result of what the students had posted on social media in the years prior. Another example was of a daycare provider who posted a vulgar hand gesture on Instagram, later getting fired from her job taking care of children. Some of the other tips that Lamont provided include:
- Don’t pretend to be someone else on social media
- Avoid vulgarity
- Before you like someone else’s post, think twice, because what you like can also be tracked on the platforms
- Don’t compare yourself to the filtered photos of others
Lamont also gave tips for what to do if a student is in a potential unsafe situation online, and emphasized the need to Stop, Block, and Talk. The catchy technique gives students something to remember while they are perusing social media platforms and encourages to stop talking to anyone who is speaking inappropriately to them, block people when they are being aggressive online, and talk when someone has hinted at causing harm to themselves or someone else.