The younger you are the first time your parents let you have any sort of social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), the more likely you are to not be completely aware of the dangers. Social Media can be a great thing, a place to connect with friends and family, but it can also be a very risky place. So many
young people, especially girls, trust social media to be an outlet for their feelings. You have to be careful about what you are willing to post. There are a few things you need to ask yourself before you press that permanent “post” button.
Before posting, ask yourself these things:
- Will I be ashamed of this a few years from now? Think about a job you might really want or a college you’ve dreamed about since you were a child. It is becoming more common to check a possible recruit’s social media as a part of the application process. You do not want to be the person who loses something you really wanted because of a post from three years ago. Do not assume that because your profile is “private” this does not apply to you.
- Would I feel comfortable showing my parents this? This applies to both “private” message and public posts. If you think your parents would freak out over something you are about to send out into the world wide web, you should rethink it. Remember when you send anything over private
message that even if you delete it from your screen, you’ve sent a copy to someone else to use as they please. Through private message, it might only be one person, but if you post it to your wall or feed, someone could easily screen shot and save it.
- Would I get in trouble with my school? Another thing that is becoming more common is the suspension/expulsion of children for what they do on social media. Most students think the school has no control of what they do outside of school, which is not completely true. If you post something and they decide it applies to the school’s safety, the school can take it into their own hands. In both my junior and senior years of high school, three students posted incriminating pictures of guns on their social media accounts with violent captions. Those pictures may not have had anything to do with the school or anyone in the school, but they showed a violent tendency in the students who posted them. If a school sees that, they are required to take precaution.
- If you are about to post an opinionated/controversial statement, ask yourself “Am I willing to argue with someone over this opinion?” It’s becoming popular to debate on social media, but you also see people post about controversial subjects and then get mad when people post their opinion in retaliation. If you post something on the internet, it’s no longer your property. If you post an opinion on Facebook, be ready for other people’s opinion.
If you ask yourself these questions every time you are about to post something, you are on your way to having a safe and clean social media experience. Remember that nothing you put on the internet is ever really “private,” no matter how many blocks you put on your profile. Do not trust profiles of people you’ve never met, based on what you see on their profile. If you’ve never met a person in real life, you probably should not accept their friend invitation at all. But if you do, remember that just as easily as you can make an account for yourself, they can make an account with information that is not truly theirs.
I encourage everyone to watch the video “The Dangers of Social Media (Child Predator Social Experiment) Girl Edition!” by Coby Persin. In this instance, it was to teach the girls a lesson, but it easily could be real and any of us could be taken from our families into a life we don’t want, because of who we trusted on