Social media has become an integral part of our lives which keeps us engaged for around eight hours a day. The online networking platforms allow the users to connect with the people around the world; exchange messages; share photos, videos, and audios; make audio, video and conference calls; play games and enjoy the digital lives. Though the social media is the only and most efficient way to get connected with the rest, this gateway is not without dangers. The unbridled and unsupervised social media use may expose teenagers and younger children to the risks of cyber-bullying, child molestation, sexting, pornography, hacking, scamming and catfishing. These endangerments can have horrible consequences relating to the physical, emotional, psychological and mental health.
Social Media Dangers for Teens
Today’s teens never want to take a break from social media, and this is what keeps them stick to the social networking platforms for hours long. When remained unsupervised, they are more likely to be the victim of cyber-bullies, child predators, pedophiles, scammers and hackers.
Cyber-bullying is one of the most common social media dangers victimizing the teens around the world. Around 13 percent of teens have reported experiencing online bullying in form of harassing messages. There are two types of social media users who are more likely to become the victim of cyber-bullying – the popular and the dumb.
Online Child Molestation
While social media has fascinated the youngsters, it has also attracted many pedophiles and child predators. The scoundrels use the social media to find their victims and gather information about them. They use this information to trap he adolescents and exploit them for sexual or monetarily purposes.
The crooks are misusing social media to promote violent and suicidal behavior among teens. There are anonymous communities that are getting youngsters involved in self-harm acts through freaky and daring games. The recent and most dangerous example of these games is Blue Whale Challenge wherein the player is persuaded to carve body with the razor or jump from a tall building.
The self-deleted messages of social media apps such as Snapchat and Telegram have made sexting a new trend among teen boys and girls. The apps are being used for sending inappropriate and sexually explicit photos, videos and text messages. The messages exchanged through these apps get automatically deleted seconds after being viewed by the receiver. However, these messages can be saved and distributed in form of screenshots.
Social media gives freedom to post your photos and videos publicly or privately. Most of the content available on social media is unfiltered. The social media apps such as Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat and Vine are hosting adult-oriented and sexually explicit content.
Though various social media apps claim to provide privacy, there is no concept of privacy on social media in reality. The user can hide its identity on Kik, Line, Whisper and many other media apps but the stuff once posted to these apps cannot be concealed later. All your photos and text messages can be stored and distributed by the recipient or viewer.
How to Protect Privacy on Social Media
The foremost thing to memorize while using social media is that whatever you post on it remains there forever in any format. Do not post and share anything you may feel regret later in your life. Set the privacy settings and prefer making your profiles private rather than public. Do not add strangers to your friend list and never share your personal information and private photos with anyone if you do not have enough and authentic information about them.
Get your kids learn about the privacy settings of the social media apps and help them set the setting they feel comfortable with. Moreover, monitor the social media behavior of your children to protect them from the scoundrels in the digital world. There are numerous mobile phone and computer monitoring apps such as TheOneSpy that enable parents to track the social media accounts of their children. The social media monitoring provides great support to parents to protect their children from the cyber-bullying, online predation, scamming, pornography and self-harm activities. When the kids would know that their activities are being monitored by their parents, they would avoid engaging in forbidden and unethical activities on social media.