Cautionary Tale Teaches Students to use Social Media Carefully

When it comes to social media, "Don't post anything you wouldn't want your grandma to read." This was the advice of Mr. Ben Tracy, a young professional who was on the fast track to a high profile career before being fired due to insensitive social media posts.
Mr. Tracy spoke to Upper School and Middle School students about social media safety and responsibility. He caught students’ attention immediately by projecting some questionable posts ODA students had published that he found through a quick search. He then shared his personal experience of being fired as an adult because of Twitter comments he had made while in high school, and the subsequent media frenzy that followed. His situation made major headlines across the country and created challenges for him to continue to work within his preferred industry.

Presenting his story as a cautionary tale, Mr. Tracy stressed that the best way to avoid issues in one's future was to always use social media in a positive, responsible manner. He shared statistics about the trend for colleges and companies to review applicants' social media history, and touched on cyberbullying, social media addiction, and social media's relationship to mental health and well-being. He cited that more employers review candidates’ social media profiles than their GPA.

Mr. Tracy recommended using social media to connect with colleges, for advocacy and awareness, and to raise funds for charity. He also suggested that students go back through their own social media histories and delete posts that could be perceived as derogatory, and moving forward, to stop and consider for a moment before posting.

Senior Fatima Demlak took the speaker's words to heart. "I know what [Mr. Tracy] told us was realistic, and I think a lot of the other students in the room also felt the same way. I'm definitely going to go home and look at my accounts to evaluate and make sure I'm making good choices." This is a valuable lesson for our young students who have grown up with social media but may not fully grasp the impact these profiles can have.

The Out-of-Door Academy

LOWER SCHOOL |  Historic Siesta Key Campus  |  Pre-K – Grade 5
444 Reid Street, Sarasota, FL 34242  |  941-349-3223  |  Fax: 941-349-8133

  |  Uihlein Campus in Lakewood Ranch  |  Grades 6 – 8 |  Grades 9 – 12
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