Set example for future social media users

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Set example for future social media users

Instagram. Snapchat. Facebook. The social media options are endless. Now, Facebook is expanding to reach a younger audience with Messenger Kids.

As a new generation of kids grow up with the internet integrated into everyday life, current high schoolers must set a respectful, responsible example for internet use. The younger generation has to understand ethical decision making and the ramifications of using the internet while staying in line with Lab’s values.

Most teens have seen some bad behavior on social media, from seeing a Snapchat of drinking on a Saturday night to offensive comments on Facebook. Teenagers need to create a new norm of kindness for social media. Younger siblings and other kids may not see every post you make, but they are generally aware of what you do and how you react.

For everything offensive that is posted on the internet, there can be consequences both in the short-term and long-term. These consequences can be as minor as talking to a teacher or a member of the school administration and as major as getting college acceptances rescinded. During summer 2017, Harvard University rescinded the acceptances of 10 students for posting insensitive memes in a Facebook group.

Younger students see you liking, commenting and posing for selfies — and they want to emulate that behavior. Yet, they do not always understand implications that social media can have on college, life and future jobs. Posting something illegal, insensitive or mean teaches kids that their behavior is normal without teaching them how to make responsible decisions.

As there have been incidents of everything from racist posts to rude jokes through the high school, everyone needs to be aware of the gravity that social media can have on the future. One rule that encapsulates this is: Do not do anything online that you would not do in person.

At U-High, many freshmen are told to get a Facebook account to join clubs and to talk to friends. It is a primary communication device at U-High, which underscores the need to use social media responsibly. When students use social media for school purposes, they must keep in mind that they should act with the same values of community and kindness that Lab values. By keeping in mind Lab’s values, we can make strides toward more responsible content.

Social media at U-High should reflect Lab’s values. We need to be building community, and when responsible social media usage happens, kindness will follow.

This editorial represents the opinion of the Midway’s Editorial Board.