Learning to Play Nice

Socia Media Ground Rules from a Student’s Perspective

Social media is a huge part of many people’s lives. It’s funny because all it really is, is an online playground. Just like when you were in kindergarten and would go out to the playground, you have many things going on. You first meet some of your best friends when you go outside and hang on the monkey bars or play a friendly game of kickball.

By Pieter Bos (Pieter Bos Photographer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

From my perspective, social media is a world in itself, and there need to be some ground rules.

Rule #1: Engage people with common interests. Nowadays, people are making true friendships through social networking. It’s so simple to shoot someone a quick friend request to spark up a new relationship and have a conversation with someone who may be as far away as a different country. Not only can you view a person’s in-depth profile, but you also can message and talk to them at any time you desire. Because of the evolution of Facebook and other networks, people can even make lifelong relationships through these websites. Some people actually find it easier to connect this way, as direct face-to-face contact limits how you can present yourself.

Rule #2: Whether looking at a computer screen or into someone’s eyes, always be genuine. Remember when you were on the playground and two kids would start to argue whose turn it was to play next? With today’s social media, fights no longer entail fists and kicks, but exclamation marks and all capital letters. People find comfort behind their computer screen, which makes it easy to say what is truly felt about someone or something. It’s important to be authentic and considerate, regardless of whether you’re talking online or face-to-face.

Rule #3: A keyboard is NOT a pair of boxing gloves. It’s tragic that we have a world of “cyber bullying,” – we’ve all seen on the news how girls are considering suicide or that one boy who fears going back to school because of the online harassment he’s been put through. Cyber bullies are cowards who, as soon as the keyboard is in front of them and they have the mouse in their hand, experience a sudden jolt of courage running through them. They will say everything and anything.

Rule #4: PLAY NICE! Social media is powerful, and many good things can come from it. But, we have to use it as a way to express ourselves in the right ways. I truly believe that we need to get back to the roots of actually talking to people in person, going out on real dates with someone who you like, and hanging with friends at a house. Most importantly, we need to remember the rules of how to “play nice,” just like the ones we learned as children playing on the playground!

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