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New York City school officials release social media guidelines

Sandra Bookman reports from Chelsea
January 14, 2014 2:51:14 PM PST
New York City's Department of Education has issued a new code of conduct to protect students online.

That's because with more and more people establishing Facebook and social media pages, some universities and new employers are scrutinizing the pages.

The DOE wants to make sure a photo from a student's past won't hamper prospects for his future.

For most teenagers these days, socializing isn't just done in the hallway between classes. Iin fact it's mostly online. But what you're tweeting, Facebooking or posting on Youtube could ultimately influence what a college admissions officer or prospective employer thinks about you.

That's one reason the DOE put together the social media guide to help students shape their digital footprint.

"It became clear as we talked to students that they wanted this too, and they wanted guidance. They didn't want us to say no, you can't do this. They wanted us to show them how," said Jane Pook, the DOE's Executive Director of Digital Communications.

The on-line handbook takes students through the ins and out of creating the digital image you want to share with the world.

Among the guidelines covered are posting responsibly: would you want your mom to see that?

Also, using privacy settings. Each platform offers ways to limit access; and cyberbullying: knowing how and when to ask for help.

At Hudson High School of Learning Technologies, the guide already has some fans.

Some students are tech-savvy seniors heading to college.

"They can tell a lot about what you are based on that profile," said senior Kevin Torres. "So you want to have a good profile, a good image."

"You take that around with you wherever you go, always, all the time," said senior Zainab Oni.

Teachers got their own social media guide back in 2012, so most see this as the next logical step.

"To act like social media doesn't have a place in our classroom is ridiculous," said teacher Jennifer Gunn. "Our kids are using it so why not help them use it in a positive way."

The guidelines are aimed at students 13 and older but the DOE fully expects to be issuing guidelines for younger students and their parents in the near future.

"It's not having to, but it's wanting to. That will be the next thing we do," said Pook.


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