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 when using social media but should also be considered when posting on University Teams channels & networks. 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.
From push notifications to targeted advertisements, the manipulative practices of social media are real. To be blunt, these platforms are designed to lure us in and keep us there (the more time we’re plugged in, the better it is for the company and the more money they make!). Unfortunately for us, the negative impact of social media only gets worse the more time we spend on it. And once we’re hooked, the platforms tend to be the only winners.
Overuse of social media has been found to result in users experiencing anxiety, low-mood or depression and sleep disruption.
There are some simple things you can do to keep track of and reduce the amount of time you spend online. Headspace have compiled some handy tips to try and use social media more mindfully.
Hate Crime – Do not post anything that could be considered discriminatory against, or bullying or harassment of, any individual e.g. making offensive or derogatory comments relating to sex, gender reassignment, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief or age.
Aside from breaching the University’s own rules & regulations, it is a criminal offence to post anything online that is 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.
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 temporary 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 policy – this also contains links to how to report an incident or how to seek support if you’ve been affected by bullying or harassment online.
Citizens’ Advice webpages including advice on 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.