Drug Deals, Twerking and Sorority Girls
What a week for news in San Diego! There were three news stories which affected teens and university students this week, where social media played a heavy hand in getting “caught.”
Don’t set up meetings on Facebook.
Students at Abraxas, Mission Hills, Poway and Ramona high schools, and were able to buy narcotics, according to sheriff’s officials. The variety of drugs purchased included heroin, cocaine, marijuana, oxycodone and hydrocodone. Wow. That’s some pretty serious stuff for high school! Are you wondering how the authorities track some of these sales? You guessed it. Social Media. The students arranged many of the drug deals over social media.
I now know what Twerking is!
Before I saw this new report, I had no idea what “twerking” was. I’m not sure what to do with this knowledge, but I now know what this suggestive butt-shaking is all about. And this twerking story also revolves around social media. Scripps Ranch High School students found themselves in very hot water after one student decided to share a student-produced twerking video on YouTube. A few problems with that? The video was made on campus and with school equipment.
I say many, many, many times in my social media sessions, “Nothing is private.” That speaks to things you choose to record or allow others to record (and even things you didn’t know are being recorded). It certainly applies to the things you post online.
A series of bad decisions led to this video getting made and posted to YouTube. This is not only a “think before you tweet” lesson, but a “think before you do.” What purpose does any of this serve? How will college admissions officers judge this video, and the decision to be in the video? This is another example of a misguided use of social media, and decisions which will only hurt these students in the long run.
Train students to use social media responsibly.
Even at the college level, students made a poor choice this week when it came to posting photos on Instagram. Members of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority at CSU San Marcos posted photos of themselves dressed like Latina gang members. Apparently the photos were taken during a retreat.
A few things are disturbing, in addition to the blatant cultural disrespect. A friend of one of the Alpha Chi Omega members said, “We can’t nit-pick every little thing, because there’s a lot more worse things that could happen.” This tells me that many students might think this is “no big deal.” The other problem is that the news report ends with,
“A spokesperson for CSU San Marcos told 10News no disciplinary action will be taken against the sorority, but that extra diversity training will soon be offered to all students, especially incoming freshmen.”
Where is the social media training? These students will continue to do “stupid stuff” on social media if they are not taught the impact their actions have online. Yes, they need to be more culturally sensitive, however, they need to be more responsible with their communication via social media. I’ve spoken with fraternities and sororities who made similar mistakes on social networks and were disciplined by the university. Part of their requirement to lift sanctions? Learn how to use social media more positively and for better purposes.
These three news reports differ drastically in what actions occurred, however, what they all have in common is that our San Diego high school and university students have a grave misunderstanding of how social media can work against you when you do not behave responsibly online. I’m sure all of these students thought that they wouldn’t get caught, either. And that’s a behavior that’s even more disturbing. Our young adults need to understand that what they do online is just as serious and just as REAL as what they do offline. Behaving badly online is not something you can get away with. Your actions in both realities will catch up to you. I’d like to see more of our students truly understand that.
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