Risks of Using Networks
Social media has become a huge part of how people interact with each other in our society. The majority of adolescents use one or more social networking sites. Facebook is still the big one, but other sites, such as Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and TikTok are becoming increasingly popular.
Whether or not these sites are healthy social outlets is still debated. Some say that they are valuable tools for adolescents to hone their social skills. Others say just the opposite — as young people become more and more dependent upon social media as their social outlet, they are losing the ability to interact effectively in person. The debate rages on. However, social media presents other, more pressing dangers.
There are many risks faced by young users of social networks like:
- Not protecting their own privacy
- sharing information with people who don’t know or trust
- losing control over a photo or video has been shared
- identity theft
- seeing offensive messages and images
Too much passive use of social network – just browsing posts – can be unhealthy and has been linked to feelings of envy, inadequacy and less satisfaction with life. Studies have even suggested that it can lead to ADHD symptoms, depression, anxiety and sleep deprivation.
Here are also some other dangers of using too much social media:
1. Sharing too much
While it certainly isn’t advisable for kids to post information about the school they attend or their upcoming whereabouts, typically speaking, online predators work in much more nefarious ways than showing up at a given location they found out about on online (more on that in a bit). On the other hand, identity thieves thrive on knowing the everyday details of people’s lives, as they can offer more info than posters realize.
Identity thieves love social media because people talk about their pets, their hometown, their favorite sports teams, etc., which are all usually the answers to security questions and passwords” It’s very easy for somebody looking on social media to steal someone else’s identity just by paying attention to the things they say and do.
2. Assuming private means danger
Kids think that when they use social media, they’re safe if they set it to private. But when they accept the requests of friends of friends, mutual friends, people they may know and people they played games with, it’s a different issue. Privacy equals control, and when a child posts a picture or a comment, they need to remember that they’re transferring control of that thought, feeling, special moment or image to all of the people that they are sharing it with, and there’s nothing to stop followers and friends from sharing it with others or even turning it into an embarrassing meme.”
3. Not having clear-cut phone rules
Regardless of when you give your child a phone, you want to restrict their use on it to avoid the issues above. Furthermore, drawn-out rules should be put in place from the get-go to avoid power struggles and arguments.
4. Online bullying
Online bullying, gossiping, and verbally abusive language can send a teenager into a profound depression or spike their anxiety beyond their ability to manage it, resulting in panic attacks, phobias, and obsessive-compulsive behaviors.
Children who create or post inappropriate, offensive or even illegal content in their own or others’ web pages could get them into trouble with their school, or friends, or even break the law, depending on the nature of the material. It’s also important that young people understand the longevity of posting something online. Once content is uploaded onto a website, it could potentially stay online forever. Regardless of whether the owner takes down the content, anyone who had access to that content could have copied it for themselves, kept it for their own records or distributed it further. Content which is uploaded online can be copied, altered and reposted by anyone and it is very diffi cult to ‘take back’ things that may be later regretted. This can damage reputations and even future prospects.
Perhaps most importantly, members create a listing of friends which allows them to communicate online and gives mutual access to more private content (such as photos). The potential threats of the social network Privacy Privacy is always a concern for any communication exchange carried out online and children often do not understand the risks involved in giving out too much personal information on the Internet. This is of particular worry when such information is given to an individual who your child does not know personally to; they may argue that someone is an online ‘friend’ but to all intents and purposes that person is effectively a stranger. To many children the online world isn’t the same as the real world and they can often behave in a way they would never do face to face, and say things they would never say, leaving them much more vulnerable in an online environment. They may also be less protective of personal details such as their mobile phone number or address, which could have undesirable implications for them. Age-inappropriate content The Internet provides access to all kinds of content at the click of a mouse – but not all of that content is suitable for children and young people to see. While you may have the appropriate parental controls set up on your computer your child may still be able to access inappropriate material if someone in their social networking circle makes it
Imagine someone born in the early 1900’s entering a modern-day classroom. They would likely be confused as to what televisions, computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices are. It is also likely that they would be overwhelmed by the instant access to information that the internet provides. Digital media has become a large part of people’s everyday lives especially with the rise of digital media in classrooms. Digital media is growing so rapidly that people who are not adapting to this shift in culture are falling behind and becoming victims of the “digital divide”, this is leaving people misinformed. Digital media has a large effect on the way that people communicate, this is especially evident in the way that students interact with one another and the information that they learn. The use of digital media often leads to students being misinformed and / or being unable to communicate positively with one another. Many people are unaware of just how large the effect that this technology has on their life because it has become such a normal thing.
The past two decades have seen dramatic change in the way that people interact, and this largely has to do with the rapid development of digital media. There are many different forms of social media, and all of these forms are constantly changing the way in which young people are communicating. This technology has become a significant part of the everyday lives of many students, both in and out of the classroom. The education curriculum has been slow in recognizing the trends of the internet.
One big negative of Facebook is that it does create a safety risk. Children can encounter child predators, which has already happened to teens and children all over the world. Kids on Facebook could also be exposed to foul language, inappropriate adult talk and pictures, and R-rated content. In addition, they could become the victim of cyber-bullying, or become the bullies.
There are people who lie. There are people who are under 13 [accessing Facebook]. Facebook removes 20,000 people a day, people who are underage. He adds that dealing with underage users is something the site works on all the time. (Tan)
In fact, the law provides some protection when it comes to children under the age of 13; it gives parents control over what information children can disclose. (Schaffhauser) To help protect children, there is the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which requires parental consent before they can collect information and allows parents to view profiles. The Federal Trade Commission determines if the web site is directed toward children by the content and if they deem it is geared toward children, they must comply with The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. (COPPA) Another negative, is that children need to spend more time outside enjoying real life activities: hanging with their friends in the real world skating, playing ball, riding their bikes, and playing at the park. Hanging out in front of the computer is contributing to childhood obesity.
Consequently, being a parent comes with the responsibility of protecting and ensuring that our children are safe. Parents use to tell their kids not to talk to strangers, not to take candy from strangers, not to open the door for strangers are all well and good but now we have to add, watch out for strangers on the Internet. This can be proven to be even more dangerous, if we don’t monitor our children. Many kids on Facebook and MySpace post pictures, full name, addresses, and the school they attend and even cell phone numbers. Thus, all this information is easily accessible at the click of a button to anyone. These sites are providing child predators with the exact information they need to track down our kids, right at their own back yard.
In Feb. 2009, MySpace identified 90,000 registered sex offenders with profiles on the site, while Facebook declined to reveal how many were present on its site. (ProCon)Social networking sites can’t identify every sex offender. Therefore, parents can get software that can help monitor their children. Internet security firm Check Point released software that lets parents monitor their children on Facebook, it scans friends request and communications, and it alerts parents to certain words. Check Point vice president of consumer sales Bari Abdul said:
It’s about protecting your kids from the social threats out there, while still respecting their privacy and fostering open communication. We are offering Facebook users a simple way to embrace social networking safely. (Software)
Check Point cited a survey indicating that 38 percent of teenagers have ignored requests from parents to be friends on Facebook, and that 16 percent of children have only done so as a condition of using the social network.
However, some will argue, that with the proper adult guidance and monitoring, Facebook can be a safe and healthy place. Parents can set the account as private, and log in frequently to monitor their behavior. Or, they could even sit next to them and monitor them at all times while on the site. Also, there are some websites that have minimum age requirements to set up an account. MySpace, for example, requires users to be at least 14 years old, and the profiles of all users under the age of 16 are automatically set to “private” so they cannot be found during a general search. There some advantages of allowing a child to have a Facebook account.
It helps them become acquainted with using the computer and today’s technology. It can help children stay connected with their long-distance Grandma. They can get homework advice and can keep up with the happenings of other distant family. Also reported 50% of students with a social networking site, use it to discuss homework. (ProCon) In. addition, we can keep kids safe by letting them go on social network websites geared for children
Above all, it’s important to be a part of your child’s life. It’s hard when they want their own lives, and their moods change by the minute. But you are still their parent and they are still children in many ways. Whether their behavior indicates it or not, they need you. Truly, parents need to also open the lines of communication between their kids. The truth, parents are the ones who pay for the computer and continue to pay for the Internet each month. Therefore, we have the absolute right to ask our child about their sites and have the right to see their MySpace and Facebook accounts.
As a final point, MySpace and Facebook have changed society in many ways. It’s a parental choice to allow their children on Facebook. While there are disadvantages, with the right parental control, it can be a positive experience for youth.