TeensSocialMediaIt’s that time of the year again.  End of the school year when many seniors and juniors are looking forward to proms and graduations.

Of course there will be many photo-ops and lots of sharing on everyone’s social media pages.

This is a time for celebration and happiness, no will would ever deny a student of that, however — let’s keep in mind that the few hours of joy can be a lifetime of misery if the wrong message is sent online.

Your digital reputation will be the first impression for many of you when it comes to applying for colleges and potential employment.  It is a fact – your name will most likely be put through a wash cycle (an Internet search) by someone that will determine your future.

How will your name survive? First impressions rarely get a second chance.

Last year I wrote a piece for Huffington Post – Smile, Snap and Post (or Not): Graduation and Prom Party Digital Drama Footprints.  A year later and we have added some new apps and probably some more friends, but the concept is still the same.  Think twice before over-sharing your memories of  a lifetime….

How can you take per-cautions to have fun and not over-share on social media?

  • Behave with respect, always.  Hopefully no one will ever catch you behaving inappropriately.  You can have fun and still be kind and respectful.
  • Let others know when they are doing something that isn’t appropriate – become an upstander.  Your peers will soon respect you for that and hopefully become like you.
  • Always secure your photos in privacy settings.  Double check them.
  • Create an album that is clearly labeled “Prom 2014 or Graduation 2014” so if anyone stumbles on these photos and questions them, they will see they were at your prom or graduation.  Understand that is not a license to behave like a child.
  • Oversharing can start on your own friends list.  Determine who are your real friend and who are not.  Especially don’t share pictures with those you don’t trust.  Again, I can’t stress it enough, learn to use your privacy settings.