22 Mar Tips to handle your online presence
As noted above, mindful use of technology and balance are key to a healthy relationship with digital devices. At the very least, you want to be asking yourself on a regular basis, Am I being mindful of how I am using technology? Am I using it with purpose or am I being mindless and careless most of the time?
Here are a few more tips to help you use technology safely and effectively:
- Your social media pages are your place to shine. Think about them as a forever journal (because they are) documenting who you are to the entire WORLD. Yes, the entire world, not just your friends. Think about how you will feel in the future when colleges or people hiring you look at your social media pages. Because they will. Be sure you want those people to see you the way you are presenting yourself on all of your social media pages.
- Social media is a constant connection and it makes you FEEL like you have to respond right away to people’s texts and messages. That’s an illusion. You have control over when you respond. Sometimes you will be with other people, enjoying them, and you want to make sure that they, not your phone, is the most important thing in the room. So let your friends know that you can’t and won’t alway respond right away.
- If you are feeling angry or frustrated pause before hitting send. Emotion-driven texts are not always the best way to manage a tough situation. So if you are feeling upset, take your time in responding. At the very least, reread your text and think about how you would feel if you received the text you are about to send.
- Social media pages like Facebook can make us depressed if we “compare and despair.” So keep in mind always that other people mostly share the best things in their lives. Then, use sites like Facebook purposefully to connect and maintain connections with others. If you use them with a purpose in mind, they are more likely to serve that purpose. Seek connection, not comparison!
- Don’t study with your social media feeds on. Turn off notifications during your study time. Sometimes you may be working together with someone on an assignment and that’s fine to be messaging them if that’s the case. But non-related social messages or Twitter feeds going off during your study time only makes work LESS productive. BUT, taking “brain breaks” where you purposefully leave your work every 20 minutes (or more depending on what works for you) is a great way to study well. You break means breaks from work to process information and a great way to give it a break is to do something you love… like texting your friends or checking out YouTube or scanning your Instagram for 3-5 minutes. That’s a great way to BALANCE work and social life.
- When studying, keep your phone silenced and face down. It is actually good practice to have your phone visible but to not respond to it. However, if this is too much of a challenge to you, put your phone away out of sight when studying.
- Never friend strangers and NEVER give your personal information (name, address, phone number, social security number, school, etc.) away to people you do not know. Do not post pictures of you that give these details away.
- If you don’t know who sent you a message, don’t respond. Never click on links sent to you by someone you don’t know—they can contain viruses that harm your computer or steal the personal information on your digital device.
- The default setting on most social media sites is public. Make yours private so only those who know you well and who you want can see your social media pages.
- If you are unsure about anything concerning your device use, talk to a trusted adult. If you are worried about the appropriateness of a particular app or game, use commonsensemedia.org as a resource to check it out.
Be mindful. Be aware. and then go change the world for the better using your devices, your head and your heart.