These guidelines touch on what can happen if social media is misused, and steps you can take to safeguard your own wellbeing and reputation while being a student.
These guidelines are designed to provide advice and guidance to University of Glasgow students who use social media. The benefits and popularity of social media may seem obvious and well-understood, but these guidelines touch on what can happen if social media is misused, and steps you can take to safeguard your own wellbeing and reputation while being a student; personal safety and security; and even your current/future career prospects.
Examples of social networking include, but are not limited to:
Trolling: Remember not to feed the trolls, but putting the shoe on the other foot, could your own comments be construed as ‘trolling’?;
If you are not sure what a troll is, for an example of an unprovoked attack, please see the famous Mary Beard (historian) and Oliver Rawlings (notorious schoolboy) case, or another case where a student was jailed for offensive tweets regarding Fabrice Muamba;
Hate Crime – it is a criminal offence to make certain comments online if they are of a discriminatory nature; If you are not sure what comprises Hate Crime or a Hate Incident, see our guide to dealing with Bullying and Harassment.
Political/current news commentary – there is nothing wrong with having a political opinion, or strong feelings about an issue, but don’t be a Keyboard Warrior. Be wary of venting uncontrollably on social media, even when you are sure you are in the right. Familiarise yourself with the time when Ruth Davidson (Conservative MSP) was bombarded with homophobic abuse via social media;
Popular scandalous websites or some Facebook pages, e.g. ‘Spotted in Glasgow Uni Library’ – these sites are probably here to stay – for good or ill – but think twice before getting sucked in to the mudslinging and ending up posting something you may regret later on.;
Photos and videos: A picture is worth a thousand words. Bullying or harassment can be in visual form as well as written. Beware of posting inappropriate photos on Instagram/Snapchat, etc. These are not as anonymous or ephemeral as you may think;
If you think you have been the target of online harassment or bullying yourself, or if you have witnessed inappropriate behaviour, and you would like to speak to someone in confidence, there are a number of things you can do. Most sites will have a method of reporting unacceptable behaviour to the site administrators.
You can also adjust the settings on your site to restrict access to yourself, i.e. ‘Only me’ or only close friends, or you can block or unfollow certain individuals, or remove messages or photos which have been posted on your site by others if you feel they are inappropriate, or even if you just don’t like what has been posted.
If you feel that things have already gone beyond your control, consider speaking to your Adviser of Studies, or an academic member of staff, a University of Glasgow Respect Adviser, one of the university chaplains, or the SRC Advice Centre. They will be able to give you advice on what you can do if you wish to report the matter.
University of Glasgow Dignity and Work and Study – Full Stop Campaign
Citizens’ Advice webpages including taking action against online harassment
Cyberbullying – although aimed at school pupils, this site provides some useful links and factsheets about cyberbullying and advice for young people on how to deal with it.