Positive social media use for a positive outcome

Students begin to see the lingering effects of poor social media use and here's how to turn it around

Joselyn Hildebrand

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People post and share every second of their day and every aspect of their life online. Tweets, statuses, stories, and chats. All of which can be public, and stay public forever. Imagine, you have a job interview tomorrow. What are you going to do when you get there and the employer asks you why you thought it would be such a good decision to tweet out the video of you getting drunk at a party, four years ago?

Getting in trouble for poor social media use is nothing new. According to an article on cnn.com, stupid statuses can definently ruin your life. In 2013, a teenager named Justin Carter from Texas, was seized of his computer and arrested with a $500,000 bail. He posted various statuses on Facebook, one of them stating he was going to shoot up a kindergarten, followed by a “JK” and “LOL”. His father later stated that “he’s sorry,” and “he didn’t think of the implications,”. One of the worst things you could post on your social media, is a terroristic threat. Plain sentences that people post to the internet are ruining their lives with just a few words. Now it’s even bigger than that. It’s pictures and videos.

Unfortunately, irresponsible social media use has it’s fair impact on students and staff here at East High too. Students have had to switch schedules, been suspended and even expelled. The principal of East High, Leslie Morris, cares that the students here stay safe, on and off social media.

“My biggest concern about social media is how it starts drama in the school and leads sometimes to violent acts,” Morris said.

Almost nothing was more talked about than social media conflict before winter break, when a video surfaced on multiple forms of social media from a student’s YouTube channel that caused uproar throughout the school. East students used the hallways to ask students and staff a question that majority found very innapropriate, homophobic and misogynistic. The results of this video were the two students involved leaving East and a staff member being placed on temporary leave. This left many reflecting on their own decisions on social media.

“It’s still their choice to hit send, but you just hope they make the right choices,” East athletics teacher,” Greg Schoon said.

There are many resources at East High to allow you to take a break from social media. East High School offers 10+ athletics and multiple clubs. There are after school clubs like GSA, Students Against the Camps, ASL, Movement 515, IHSSA, Student government, Scarlet Squad and more.

“Enjoy high school because there’s so much to offer, if you’re so busy with social media that you can’t go out for basketball, or you can’t go out for a sport, or do a club, or drama (as in Mr. Allan’s productions)… Mrs. Niemeyer and all the great things that she does with journalism and yearbook, because you’re so hooked on your social media, then you’re missing out on what high school has to offer, and you’re never going to get another chance, because college doesn’t always offer all of these things as easily,” Morris said.

Many times when kids post inappropriate things online, they do not consider their audience first. Lots of people that we can look up to around us, say that before you post something, ask yourself if you’d be okay with your grandma seeing it. Also, to consider your audience is one thing, but make sure you’re okay with how that post is going to make you look as well. Your account and content represent you and everyone you connect yourself to.

“It’s just disappointing because I know as coaches, we tell them to not put inappropriate pictures on there and I’m sure their family has told them the same thing. They represent their family, they represent their school, so it’s not just them that’s being represented when they post something,” Schoon said.

Student’s also have a variety of different views about social media use. There are so many opportunities that can blossom from social media. 

“As an artist, I think a big part of changing our ideas about social media is that we have to begin seeing art, seeing beauty in the world. Beauty comes in so many forms that you can see through social media. Seeing the landscape and places that you probably won’t see for many years. The happiness in people and people sharing their stories of hardship and how they got through it. The news may be harsh and sad but there is good news,” senior Sunya Hardi said.

Many students and staff share the same views about the good and bad of social media. They want to show light on the more positive part of social media.

“Sometimes we hear a lot of negative stories about social media but we also want to keep in mind how powerful social media can be. People do lots of great things with social media. You can do fundraisers and raise awareness for certain causes. I think our students can use social media in a really powerful way. Obviously, young people are some of the most active people on social media. So, when our students and young people identify with something that they feel really strong about then they can use social media to promote good, and positive, then that’s the type of social media stories that we need to continue to put out there,” East High counselor, Ryan Bracken said.

Always remember, whatever you choose to give energy to, will continue to grow bigger. Let’s give energy to the positive and and watch the internet become a bigger and better outlet for everyone.