Social media is a huge component of today’s society. People use it for entertainment purposes, to communicate with others, and to find information. Teenagers today rely on social media for almost everything, whether it be help on their homework or asking their friend to hangout on Saturday night. People don’t realize how dangerous using social media can be if one is not safe. Not only does using social media expose you to online predators, but it also opens up the opportunity for cyber bullying.
In many of my classes lately we have discussed the dangers of social media because it is such a rapidly growing issue. I don’t think that teachers would spend time trying to educate us on the dangers, if it wasn’t important and relevant. Talking about it in class opened my eyes to see that people really do not know how to protect themselves from the damage social media can do. Instead of just absorbing the helpful facts that could keep me safe when using social media, I decided to relay them onto all of you in hopes you can successfully use social media for its purpose without being worried about your safety.
The first thing that is extremely important for all the parents out there is to make sure your child knows that there are dangers out there, and how they can protect themselves from them. Talking and educating your child on this is a must! If they are not aware that there are dangers out there, they won’t be able to protect themselves. Make sure you are also aware of what websites your child is using. More often than not kids aren’t aware that a website or application that they are using is not safe. It is your job to regulate and watch over them to make sure that they are not exposing themselves to harm.
If it wasn’t for my parents explaining to me when I began to use social media that there were dangers out there, than I would have never known. It is almost like if someone doesn’t tell you to watch out when it is slippery and you continue to walk without caution and you end up falling. If you aren’t aware of something, you aren’t going to protect yourself from it.
Another thing that can be done to protect yourself from social media harm is to make sure you have the correct privacy settings on your social media applications. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram all have privacy settings that allow you to decide who can see your profile. They also have a ‘block people’ feature if you absolutely do not want someone seeing your profile.
It is huge that on those websites you do not talk to people you do not know. So many people today become friends with strangers because they have ‘mutual friends’ or because they look like an average person, yet they have no idea who the person actually is. It is so easy today to make fake profiles and pretend to be someone you are not. Make sure you are only talking to and being friends with people you know personally. This is a huge thing to remember when texting. Do not text a number if you do not know who it is. People can easily hide behind a screen.
One last but super important thing is to remember that anything and everything you share using social media is PUBLIC. Everybody has access and can see the things that you post. Once it is on the internet, there is no getting rid of it. It is on there forever. So be smart about what you send and share. Not only can your friends and family see what you post, but employers almost always look to see what you have previously posted on social media. You don’t want to lower your chances of getting the job you want later in life because you posted a idiotic picture months earlier.
Current high school students do not take into consideration that colleges often also look at social media accounts. Having negative or inappropriate things on your account might not end well when trying to get accepted into a school. So please just consider your future when you post things on social media.
Taking all these precautions is a necessity when using social media. Cyber bullying is a huge issue in today's world, especially in high school. It is such a terrible and destructive thing. People need to remember to think about others and not post/share inappropriate things. People's lives can be ruined if the wrong thing gets posted on the internet, so please be extremely cautious about that. Try putting yourself in others shoes, and make the mature decision. Do not participate in fights, drama, and inappropriate actions when using social media. Most people don’t understand the harm they are doing until it is done.
Being a teenager myself, it is clear to me that social media isn’t going away. Everybody uses it. I understand that it is just a fact of life now, but people need to be aware of what they can do to insure they are protected from the dangers. My advice to not only my peers, but to high school students everywhere is to be smart and use your brain. Don’t post or share anything that you wouldn’t want your mother or father to see.
Now my advice to parents everywhere, talk to your son or daughter about the dangers. This ensures that they are educated about the issue in hopes that they make the right decisions on their own.
If used correctly social media can be an amazing thing. It can be a great thing that everything in the world is at your fingertips if used correctly. Just make sure to use common sense, and have your guard up when using the websites/applications.
Instead of using social media for just sharing pictures and communicating with friends, try using it to do something positive. Speak your opinion, research information, maybe even stand up for someone that is getting cyberbullied. Social media is such a powerful thing that can really make a positive difference if used properly.
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