Children First: Social media etiquette - the do's and don'ts

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- At a time when devices have become an extension of ourselves... it's harder and harder to decipher between human interaction and social media connection.

Some teens find it hard to tell the difference.

Each day billions of posts are uploaded, liked, commented on, shared , tweeted, favorited or snapped and despite the strongest privacy settings there's nothing private about them.

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"People may think they disappear but they don't they always end up in the wrong hands," says Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer.

"There's no such thing as a delete button," says Sonja Dosti of Central Unified School District.

Younger consumers-- especially school aged ones -- embrace a variety of platforms.

According to Pew research Facebook reigns supreme but their research shows 78% of those 18 - 24 use Snapchat and 71% use Instagram.

What a lot of teens are learning is that social media isn't just about fun games and filters.

Anahi Rivera has used social media to her advantage during her five years with Clovis FFA. She created a following, in turn, boosting her bids at auction.

"It'll bring people to fair to see what its all about and potentially have a buyer to purchase these animals," Rivera says.

She says she's selective in what she posts -- and that means more than just thinking twice about posting badly about a co worker. Rivera says she doesn't post when shes out or on vacation.

"If you post about going on vacation you leave your home vulnerable of them breaking in or them following you where you're going," she says.

But not all teens are as social media savvy.

Take Firebaugh native and buffalo bills quarterback Josh Allen - on the eve of getting drafted for his dream job, backlash came from offensive tweets posted while he was in high school 5 - 6 years prior.

Allen apologized for the tweets -- that he had already deleted -- saying he was "young and dumb."

But social media etiquette doesn't just apply to those with jobs in the public eye.

"We don't want students who have so much potential in life to ruin that future where they have made some careless post on social media that can be hurtful to themselves and other people," says Dosti.

After Central Unified School District was targeted in several snap chat threats, Sonja Dosti took point on training administrators about issues related to social media.

Potential consequences and best practices were then taught to students the district even outlined the psychological impacts

"Fear of missing out the fomo we call it. or they have a lot of cyber bullying that goes on in social media," Dosti says.

The district worked with Fresno police to make sure those responsible were arrested.

"It doesn't matter what age the person is that makes the threat were going to arrest them and there are really serious consequences. Someone can receive up to 4 years in custody in prison," Chief Dyer says.

Chief Jerry Dyer says units within the street violence bureau monitor social media for threats like shootings, gang activity or sexual predators. These posts can potentially serve as evidence if related to a case.

As for controversial or questionable posts those could have lasting impacts.

"Tthat one social media post could be the deciding factor as to whether someone gets employed," Dyer says.

There are steps parents can take to be hands on.

"Do you know your kids passwords because that is their new bedroom. I always tell parents if you don't let your kids lock their bedroom door why would you not have any access to their social media or their phones."

Expert advice says let them wait til their a little older.

They'll survive and may thank you for it later.
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