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Social Media Teaching Tips for the Holidays

Posting on social media during the holidays can be fun, create connection, and have inadvertent consequences. Here are some teaching tips to help support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) using social media in a fun and safe way.

A good place to start is helping people with I/DD explore the positives and negatives of social media. Ask: “What do you like about texting people and using the Internet to contact friends and family? “What are some of the negative things that can happen with technology?”

Then cover the following information:

  1. Public vs private: Let them know that anything they post online is considered PUBLIC. Public photos are: being with friends socially distant outdoors, visiting your cousins, having holiday time with your family, and a picture of you and your sweetheart. Posting naked pictures is a private photo.

  2. Before posting photos or texting words, ask, "Would I want this post/text to end up in the newspaper of the town I live in?"

  3. Some people like to send their sweetheart sexy pictures through texting. You might think this is okay because it is to your sweetheart, but the person could send the photo to others and this could cause a lot of problems for them.

  4. What to do if anything bad happens while online: Make sure they know to talk with someone they trust to help sort it out.

You can also use this format, from *Healthy Foundations,* to think about scenarios and how to respond to certain behaviors:

  1. Name the behavior that you see.

  2. Find out the meaning behind the behavior.

  3. Decide what messages you want to give.

  4. Give messages simply.

  5. Encourage the person to give you feedback.

Here is a scenario:

A person posts pictures of their topless sweetheart in very sexy poses on Facebook.

  1. “I see that you posted pictures of your sweetheart without a shirt on.”

  2. “Can you tell me why you did that?”

  3. Use the tips above to think about messages.

  4. “You may think they look great, but these pictures are private and Facebook is public.”

  5. “Does that make sense?”

Enjoy supporting people with I/DD to connect is a safe and fun way this holiday season!

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