Studies show that there are close to 250 million social media users in the US. Included in that sum are 85% of high school students. Over 70% of those high school students check their social media profiles at least twice a day.
2020 has shown a shocking increase in reports of social media bad behavior. Reports of racist comments, threats, encouragement of violence, and other inappropriate behavior are reported daily.
With social media usage steadily increasing, it has never been more critical for K-12 Christian schools to clearly define and implement their social media policies.
These social media policies should cover both staff and students and communicated clearly with parents and/or guardians. What are the benefits of having a social media policy?
It sets expectations for your staff and students.
Setting clear expectations is a vital part of any success, and social media practices are no different. There are many aspects of a social media policy that can protect your staff and students from the consequences of harmful online activity. A social media policy clearly defines expectations, so that staff and students know what is expected of them and what the institution expects. Following the guidelines that are described in the policy will encourage positive and safe usage of social media.
It sets students up for success.
Setting clear expectations is a vital part of any success, and social media practices are no different. There are many aspects of a social media policy that can protect your students and their futures. A social media policy clearly defines these expectations so that students know what to expect. Following the guidelines that are described in the policy will encourage positive and safe usage of social media.
It protects the reputation of the school and staff.
Staff are considered an extension of the school. For unhappy staff, social media can be a place to air their grievances and interact with the community. Public complaints and negative interactions can spread quickly and hurt the school’s reputation. A good social media policy will define inappropriate behaviors and what the consequences are for those behaviors.
Communicating these expectations with staff and holding them accountable with ongoing social media monitoring can help protect the school’s reputation and their own future employment opportunities.
It protects the reputation of the student and prepares them for the future.
Unfortunately, social media posts can have lasting effects, and students must understand the significance of their online behavior and social media posts. This is especially true when colleges or businesses are screening students for a potential seat in their institutes and organizations. Therefore, students need to realize that careless posts or posts illustrating bad behavior can have a significant impact on their future. Modern-day businesses do not look at posts alone; they also look at the response and reaction associated with various social media posts. These actions can make students feel like they are being deterred from the use of social media. However, that is not the case. Responsible use of social media can make a positive, lasting impression. A social media policy should persuade students to think before posting. It also protects students and their reputations by defining acceptable behaviors and outlining the consequences of those behaviors.
Overall, a social media policy is a crucial element of today’s Christian School online presence. The policy provides structure, helps staff and students to create a sense of ownership for their behaviors, protects the students and faculty, protects the reputation of the school, and helps everyone create a barrier between real life and online etiquette.