10 Tips for Using Social Media Positively in 2020

Use the new year as a way to make a fresh start
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A new year represents a fresh start, and it’s the perfect time for students to reflect on their past posts, likes and follows on social media. If you have teens using social media, ask them this thought-provoking question: If a coach, favorite teacher, dream mentor or college admissions officer looked at your social media accounts, what are three things they would he or she would assume about your character?

According to Kaplan Test Prep, one in four college admissions officers believe social media is fair game to check during the college admissions process. For this reason and others, it’s never too late to upgrade social media profiles for the better. And, who better to offer tips than student leaders? At The Social Institute, we polled student leaders who are in 12th grade or college, and asked them to offer their best social media advice for younger students. Here are their top 10 tips for younger students about how to use social media and technology in a positive way in 2020. 

  1. High school senior: “The best posts don’t always get the most likes.”
  2. College freshman: “It’s definitely okay to share your accomplishments on social media because it lets others know about you, what you love and the rewards that come with it.”
  3. College sophomore: “It’s important to be honest with your friends about your family’s technology rules.” 
  4. College sophomore: “It’s so easy to get caught in the moment and the desire to stay up-to-date on everything going on around us, but it’s important that we still focus on the things that truly matter, and the things that provide the most value to our lives not only in the present, but also in the future.” 
  5. High school senior: “Post what matters to you. At least one person will see it and will care.”
  6. College junior: “If you have homework or a project, it’s better to finish that before starting to text your friends.” 
  7. High school senior: “It’s important to put our phones down, have a great face-to-face conversation with people and show our friends how much we care about them.”
  8. College sophomore: “Focus your time and energy on treating people with kindness and respect.” 
  9. High school senior: “It’s just as important to show your best, authentic self online as it is in person.”
  10. College sophomore: “Our internet search results can be considered in the college admissions process, and we should recognize that we have the power to make those search results positive factors that play to our advantage.” 

To start the new year off strong, consider having your child “scrub” his or her social media accounts. Encourage your child to look back at what was shared, who he or she followed, the content he or she liked and favorited, and the conversations he or she engaged in on social media this past year. Anything that does not reflect your child’s values, goals and interests should be edited or deleted, period. 

With these tips and a good scrub in place, you and your student will feel proud of everything in his or her profile and that’s a great way to start a new decade. 


Laura Tierney, a digital native who got her first phone at age 13, is founder and president of The Social Institute, which offers students positive ways to handle one of the biggest drivers of their social development: social media. She also recently became a mom. Learn more at thesocialinstitute.com.

Categories: College Planning, Education, Technology, Teens

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