Online Community Guidelines and Standards
Social media may widen a sense of social freedom through the ability to express your online views and personal successes to a wide and unlimited audience. However, each reputable social media platform has devised a set of Terms of Service or Community Guidelines designed to decree a set of standards that users must abide by in order to utilize the service. Whether or not these guidelines are closely monitored by the social media empires are up for interpretation.
Smart Gen Society has put together a set of community guidelines and standards to act as a basis for everyone to follow as social media continues to become a more prominent way to communicate in today’s society.
- The golden rule. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Ask yourself, would you say it in person? If not, it shouldn’t be posted online. This includes spreading hate of any kind. The use of ethnic slurs, personal insults, obscenity or engaging in any online conduct that would not be acceptable in front of a teacher, parent, or employer. It is also important to take your tone into account. Tone can affect the way people perceive the message you are trying to get across.
- You are what you post. Your activity on social media becomes a time capsule of who you are and who you used to be. Use social media as a tool to build your legacy for the future. Do regular social media cleanups. Avoid posting photos that include drug and alcohol consumption (and that being said don’t fall victim to the common issue of drinking and tweeting. Please, we implore you). Make sure you also eliminate posting confrontational and controversial posts on your profile.
- Speak for yourself and no one else. An instant way to cause an uproar in the digital world is speaking on behalf of someone or a group of people. Use pronouns such as I and me instead of we, us and ours.
- Give credit where credit is due. Remember to always assume that copyright exists. When you quote or repost content be sure to include a link back to the original source if possible. If you violate copyright laws, the copyright owner can sue you for financial damages incurred as a result. At the very least, the owner of the content can get your posting taken down or your account banned from the platform it was showcased on.
- Protect your identity. Avoid oversharing about your personal life, keep that information for in-person conversations or your personal diary. If you are going to include your place of employment or educational institution in your profile be sure to represent them responsibly. It’s better to be safe than sorry and steer clear from sharing that information online.
- Be yourself. A good rule of thumb to take with you on your virtual endeavors is to not pretend to be someone you are not. Your name, your pictures and any other information you choose to share with the online world should match the person people see when they get to know you face-to-face.
- Do not spread misinformation. Check your sources and the accuracy of the information you are reading and sharing. Spreading information that isn't true can trigger anxiety and panic among your followers and anyone who shares what you have posted. Do research before you post. Here is a guide on how to recognize a false news story.
- Say no to being nude. Refrain from posting inappropriate photos or posts that may be viewed or flagged as sexual content. Even if your face is blocked from the camera, pictures that have an inappropriate flare or even show you and some friends in swimsuits can be taken the wrong way by someone online. You never know who is on the other end of your post. The internet is forever and you don’t want these pictures surfacing when your children search for you online one day. Keep in mind that less is always more.
- Consider reputations. Social media was born to connect us with just about anyone online. Just because your profile is squeaky clean doesn’t mean someone you follow or someone you are pictured with reflects the same online behavior you do. The users you associate within the digital world affect your reputation on and offline.
- Avoid trolls and phishers at all costs! An Internet troll is a member of an online social community who deliberately tries to disrupt, attack, offend or generally cause trouble within the community by posting certain comments, photos, videos, GIFs or some other form of online content. While Phishers try to obtain financial or other confidential information from Internet users. Both are considered some of the lowest forms of individuals on the internet. It is crucial to not sway your online behavior to mimic that of an online troll or scammer. If you come across someone you believe to fall into one of these two categories it is essential to put that report and block button to use for your protection and the safety of others.
Although these are not all of the standards you should uphold in the digital world this is a foundation to help maintain on-brand behavior and enact critical thinking skills about what you should broadcast on social media and what is safer to be kept for yourself. We encourage users to follow these regulations, as well as the Terms of Service or Community Guidelines set by the platforms you profile, is active on.
This information does not guarantee online safety and is provided as a courtesy of Smart Gen Society. SGS is not legally responsible for your family's digital planning or safety.