It is impossible to click on any site or form of social media and not be asked to “share”. I got to thinking about the amount of information we share online and all the do’s and don’ts we try to instill in our children. But, we can’t change how our society shares information and uses technology. Instead we have to think more carefully about what information we do share online and as importantly, WHO we trust with that information. But that’s a topic for another day.
When I talk to kids, they can rattle off everything we’ve told them never to share online, name, birthday, address, passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers and usually, their pet’s name. But we all know, at some point, we’re going to share that information. It made me realize there are more important things kids (and their adults) should never share online – Fake, Inappropriate, Offensive, and Mean.
Fake – Okay, we get it, people have figured out how to Photoshop or use any of the myriad of apps to create “better” pictures of themselves, reverse pictures so people look dumb, and twist comments or quotes to appear to substantiate whatever we’re trying to prove. Moreover, the amount of fake profiles, anonymous user names and downright lying in social media makes everything you see or read suspect. Wasn’t the intent of social media to more easily communicate in a fun, safe, and real environment?
Inappropriate – You are not Miley Cyrus, please don’t share pictures trying to keep up with the celebrities. Most of them are a train wreck anyway. I wish I could say I never did anything wrong or bad, but I can guarantee you, I didn’t take a picture of it and post it so anyone in the world could see my bad choices. Underage drinking, drug use, and naked pictures do not belong online. I don’t care if you’re “hot”, trying to find a boyfriend, or think you’re in love forever – these things have a way of turning against you. Remember that the images and words you share are being stored somewhere online for years and could come back to haunt you.
Offensive – Please don’t share your offensive opinions or pictures online. I’m not sure when someone said it’s okay to offend others because you think you’re smarter than anyone else, or funny or “just kidding”, but it isn’t! Only cowards use the Internet to put down other people’s religion, or lifestyles, or beliefs or interests. I’m all for free speech and being able to share your feelings and opinions, but only when it’s done in a way that is not offensive to someone else’s belief’s or opinions. And that fake thing – please check your facts before you forward inflammatory remarks or pictures.
Mean – which brings us to mean. When did “nice” become a bad thing? If we just started today and made sure that we NEVER share anything that’s mean, we could solve a lot of problems. Bullying would be cut down, disagreements would be softened, feelings wouldn’t be hurt and we might actually enjoying communicating in this amazing ever-changing world of technology that is so fun, so fast and so cool!