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The Importance of Anonymous Social Media Post

We’re familiar with the slogan, “If you see something, say something.” This is a powerful message, something to think of when you’re scrolling through posts, photos, videos and tweets on your phone and computer.

The community must be vigilant and flag content that causes discomfort. Posts from family and friends offer a glimpse into someone’s life even if they aren’t seen in person very often and sometimes; in addition, there are cries for help.

Facebook has created and made available many resources within their Facebook Safety Center.

In this section of Facebook, users can read more about policies and access tools to make their Facebook experience better. There is also a Parent’s Portal offering expert advice and guidance. Online bullying has also become more prominent and Facebook has also provided teens, parents and educators with tools to help prevent bullying via the Bullying Prevention Hub.

In addition to videos and articles that have been published in partnership with many child experts, as well as the Yale Center of Emotional Intelligence, Facebook enables users to control their Facebook experience.

Users can easily customize their news feeds to “Snooze” friends for 30-days or the ability to “Unfollow” friend’s posts,  which means posts aren’t visible in news feeds but Facebook friendship will remain intact. Posts that a user finds annoying can be easily controlled with these 2 Facebook resources.If a post, video, photo or comment is more offensive in nature, it is advised that it is reported directly to Facebook. This can be done by selecting the 3 dots on the upper right hand of the post and selecting “Give Feedback on This Post”. From there, it’s easy to select a reason and provide additional information. Alternatively, users can fill out a form here. A single report is enough for Facebook to review the content. They don’t just remove it if it was reported a certain amount of times but only if it violates Community Standards.

On Instagram, the process is also similar. Seeing a potentially threatening or suspicious photo or video should be flagged immediately. Users can click on the top right 3 dots and select “Report” which will bring the next screen to select “It’s Spam” or “It’s Inappropriate”. Additional reporting options can be found here.

The Facebook team, which also owns Instagram, has a team of experts dedicated to reviewing content. Many of their backgrounds come from enforcement areas like child and women’s safety and hate speech. The team is global and can review over 40 languages with the help of technology and human review.

Twitter also makes saying something about a tweet easy to do by enabling users to click on the top right and choosing, “Report Tweet” in addition to the other features to control tweets from users. Additional information is located here.

Vanishing content, like what is found on Snapchat, may be difficult for users to report; however Snapchat does have reporting options in place for this reason. When viewing a story, the user is encouraged to press and hold the content to which an option for reporting will show. Alternatively, a form can be filled out online.

Screenshots of any posts – vanishing or not – are always recommended even though the platforms do feature the ability to retrieve deleted posts.

It is always recommended to contact local law enforcement if there is an impending threat to an individual or a group of people. All of these social media platforms do work closely with law enforcement, including government agencies to investigate reports. A reminder that any reports filed do stay anonymous. Don’t dawdle if there is dubious content being published by a friend or family member in the news feed.

Social Media Discussion Points for Parents

Just the Facts:
  • Social Media is not all bad or all good, how the kids use it is what matters.
  • Their decisions on usage have consequences, some serious sexting/legal.
  • Social media contributes to loneliness, loneliest generation on record.
  • Kids are losing the ability to develop and the know how to meaningfully connect with others.
  • How kids use social media elevates feelings of anxiety and depression, not simply because they use it but it’s what they are using it for and or exposed to.
    • Boys: Gaming, and not such a need to be seen/have a presence known.
    • Girls:  visual platforms, videos, and pictures.
  • Teens seek affirmation on social media, as when parents were themselves kids; however, the affirmation is given very quickly now.
  • Social Media usage is a privilege and not a right, must make sure kids are training and educated on the online world and have clear expectations of their usage and subsequent responsibilities.
  • The more things change the more they stay the same, just a different platform.
  • The Internet seems to have created a new way of doing old things, rather than being a technology that changes the manner in which people live their lives.
    • Relationships, socialization, popularity, flirting, etc.      
  • What kids are posting may not be really what they are feeling.
    • True feelings and or emotions may be hiding in plain sight.
  • When we know better, we do better.
  • Offline stress/issues carry over to the online world.
  • 70% of communication is not around actual words, body language.
  • Trend continues to move to visual effects over texting.   

Parent Involvement

  • Develop a plan around social media regulation with your kids.
    • I.e., setting time limits, putting it down at dinner table, time before bed.
  • Parents need to work with the kids on developing a healthy balanced view of what social media is and what can happen relatable to the real world.
  • Parents need to use their own examples of how social media has made them feel left out of things and that that’s OK, how they coped with that. Talk about not being included.
  • Parents need to model social media usage and behavior to be consistent with expectations of kids.
  • Parent need to talk to their kids about those other kids who may be left out and to teach kids to be thoughtful of those who may be left use.