March 13, 2023

The Social Institute’s recommended social standards

Standards are a little different than rules. They’re ways of living and expectations of ongoing behavior that a group of people agree to and expect of each other. Standards are not easier to follow than rules. In fact, they may be harder to follow because standards take practice. The great thing about standards is that when a group of people agrees to follow the same ones, they can help each other meet them. Think of standards as a way to live, not just a way to behave. 

Below are The Social Institute’s seven social standards. Under each are ways to live up to that standard. You could say that the seven standards each have specific “rules” that, when followed, help you meet them. 

Think of standards as a way to live, not just a way to behave.

Play to Your Core: Reflecting our values, character, and interests in our actions online. 🙋❤

  • Share the things you won’t mind being made public, even if they’re sent privately. Remember: A screenshot lasts forever.
  • Turn the camera around to show what’s happening in front of you once in a while, especially if you feel pressure to share only a perfect version of yourself. No one is perfect, ever. Steph Curry (maybe you’ve heard of him?) says that the best person you can be is the best version of yourself.
  • Capture what that you love the most, not what will get the most likes and comments. Do it for yourself, not for others.
  • Example lesson topics:
    ★ Navigating the values of family and friends in social situations.
    ★ Playing to your strengths and appreciating your wins.
    ★ Preparing for colleges and employers to search your name online.

Protect Your Privacy Like You’re Famous: Staying in control of our personal information. 🤵🌟

  • Keep your location, email address, and phone number private. Do you know where Emma Watson lives? How about Lebron’s Skype handle? No? There’s a reason.
  • Change your passwords every three months. That’s quarterly or, for those of you who don’t like counting, once a season.
  • Never share your passwords with friends, even your BFF. And yeah, the code you set to unlock your phone is a password. Unlock it first before handing it over.
  • Consider a family password sharing solution like the one offered by LastPass, because it’s tough to keep track of everyone’s super-secret codes.
  • Avoid sharing photos or videos with your location or identity info evident, such as a street sign, mailbox, front door, car’s license plate, and — especially — your driver’s license.
  • Example lesson topics:
    ★ Examining how free apps and websites use your personal data.
    ★ Maintaining positive relationships while navigating explicit content.
    ★ Respecting the privacy of others online and off.

Strike a Balance: Balancing our time and attention on tech with the people around us. ⚖⏳

  • Prioritize your homework, chores, and other important things before using your device for fun.
  • Manage digital distractions, and look people in the eye when they talk to you. Heads up!
  • Value real-life moments without needing the real-time recognition by online followers.
  • Example lesson topics:
    ★ Balancing your time on devices to reach your goals.
    ★ Recognizing the science behind screen time and social media.
    ★ Examining how technology shapes your school’s culture.

Cyberback: Having each others’ backs and supporting each other online. 💪💻

  • Encourage and celebrate the positive moves your friends make online and off every day.
  • Back up other people with encouragement and support if you see them being bullied. When you do this online, we call it cyberbacking.
  • Depending on the situation, (1) stop, (2) screenshot the offense, (3) block whoever sent it, and (4) talk to an adult about what to do next if you are being cyberbullied. It rhymes, so it’s easy to remember: Stop, screenshot, block, and talk. No excuses.
  • Example lesson topics:
    ★ Having others’ backs online if they are being bullied.
    ★ Energizing others by celebrating their wins, not just your own.
    ★ Calling out posts that cross the line and go against your values.

Stop, screenshot, block, and talk.

Find Your Influencers: Surrounding ourselves with positive and credible influences. 👫👬👭

  • Surround yourself with positive role models who support you and encourage you to play to your core.
  • Stay away from anonymous platforms and websites that easily connect you with strangers, like some dating sites.
  • Unfollow anyone who makes you doubt yourself, and block those who send you inappropriate or rude content.
  • Example lesson topics:
    ★ Understanding who and what you follow influences your goals and values.
    ★ Filling your feed with people who support, respect, and inspire you.
    ★ Surrounding yourself with trusted and credible news sources.

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Use Your Mic for Good: Using social media as a microphone to create meaningful change. 🎤💬

  • Imagine you’re at a press conference with a microphone pointed at you and hundreds, no thousands of press and fans waiting for you to say something. Social media is that microphone. Your friends and followers — and potentially the world — are your audience. Use your mic to do great things.
  • Know when to turn your mic on, turn it up, and drop it.
  • Listen to what others from different backgrounds and cultures are saying, engaging with them in ways that broaden mutual understanding and learning.
  • Example lesson topics:
    ★ Identifying and addressing problems that you care about.
    ★ Amplifying your voice through thoughtful posts and campaigns.
    ★ Understanding the full story before judging and posting about others.

Handle the Pressure: Finding your own path no matter the pressure from others. 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦👨‍👨‍👧👩‍👩‍👦‍👦 

  • Handle our emotions even when it’s tough by recognizing and responding
  • Understand how your mind and body respond to stress and anxiety
  • Build habits that promote high performance under pressure
  • Example lesson topics:
    ★  Doing your very best and realizing the value of mistakes and adversity. 
    ★  Handling the pressure of social media defining who you are.
    ★  Examining the pressure to “always be on” with your family and friends.

Can you think of other ways to uphold these standards? Tell us!