30 Ways to Win the Game of Social Media

When was the last time you gave your child social media advice that started with the word “don’t”?
“Don’t post that picture.”
“Don’t join that platform.”
“Don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see.”
“Don’t ever think about sharing a nude photo with your boyfriend or girlfriend.”
“Don’t do this, and don’t do that.”

Sound familiar? Think about it: Any great coach doesn’t just coach players on what not to do. Rather than saying, “Don’t throw the ball that way” or “Don’t shoot it that way,” a great coach huddles with his or her players and coaches them on what to do.

Social media is no different. Consider it the largest game in the world that millions of people play every day — including, perhaps, your child. The moves we make are our likes, shares, posts, comments and whom we choose to follow. With each move, we potentially “win” by strengthening our reputation, building friendships and changing our world for the better. However, we can also “lose” by tarnishing our reputation and bringing down others. When we emphasize the do’s rather than the don’ts, we help our kids win at social media.

Let’s highlight 30 winning moves on social media — for kids and adults. Only do’s allowed — no don’ts. Because when we empower and equip, rather than scare and restrict, we all have the chance to win at social media and use it for good.

1 Do understand that what you share online publicly represents your character and reputation.

2 Do remember you only get one reputation — not two, three or one-and-a-half.

3 Do share what reflects your values, goals and interests.

4 Do be mindful that what you like, share and follow can influence others’ opinions of you.

5 Do remember that the number of likes you receive shouldn’t shape what you love.

6 Do understand that your social actions can affect your short- and long-term goals.

7 Do use social media to help you reach your short- and long-term goals.

8 Do protect your private information and know that apps, advertisers and bullies will come after it.

9 Do respect others’ privacy like it’s your own — whether it’s a friend or a stranger in the background of a photo.

10 Do remember that nothing is free. When you click “I agree,” you pay by sharing your personal information.

11 Do get your priorities done (homework, hobbies, etc.) before diving into entertainment-focused screen time.

12 Do value others by looking them in the eye, not down at your phone.

13 Do speak up and say something if you see a potentially dangerous post.

14 Do cyberback others who are being cyberbullied, even if it’s by sending a simple private message.

15 Do encourage and celebrate the winning moves you see your friends make every day.

16 Do accept friend requests from people you wouldn’t mind introducing to your parents.

17 Do follow people who encourage you to be the best version of yourself you can be.

18 Do avoid falling for fake news by knowing which sources to trust — from publishers to friends.

19 Do use social media as a microphone to spark positive change in the world.

20 Do know when to turn that microphone on, up and off.

21 Do use your microphone to inspire others to make positive changes in the community.

22 Do be open to listening to others who have different viewpoints, backgrounds and cultures.

23 Do “coach down” by helping people younger than you are know how to use social media in a positive way.

24 Do “coach up” by helping people older than you are know how to better understand social media.

25 Do help create common tech standards for your family that parents and kids will follow.

26 Do hold each other accountable to your family’s standards.

27 Do take regular breaks to “zone out.”

28 Do control your devices instead of letting them control you.

29 Do remember that you could be a role model on social media to someone else.

30 Do focus on the do’s, not just the don’ts!