Dangers of Social Media
Social media is one of the biggest innovations of our time and pulls in around 2.34 billion people.It wedges itself into our everyday lives with temptations of continuous notifications and friend requests, but are these daily interactions more dangerous than we think?
Lets start of by addressing one of the most obvious dangers of social media. Catfishing. Catfishing is when someone makes a fake profile online in which they create a fake persona that usually includes profile pictures with very attractive people. With these fake personas these people can get involved with actual people on the internet and end up destroying a person's mental or financial health. Say you are friending people on Facebook and you find a person that seems to be genuinenly interesting. You message them saying, " You look interesting!! I would love to have a friend like you!" Two weeks later you find yourself messaging this friend constantly. Then one day they ask for money to come see you. You of course willingly give them the money and hope to see them by the weekend, but they never come. The $2,000 you sent them is now gone and you are getting no responses. This is the all to real reality for many people and can cause someone to even go into depression! According to CNN over 83 million profiles are fake on Facebook alone! This further constructs the danger that is catfishing, but there are ways to avoid these profiles. Good ways to avoid fake profiles online are:
- Make sure you know them or have a friend that knows them
- Look out for people who seem to live extravagant lives
- Do not friend anyone that looks suspicious or have very limited information on their profile.
Be especially careful on dating sites in which you can be easily fooled or fed false information. Most catfishers are people that usually have little social skills and are looking for someone to whom they can talk too. Don't be fooled!
Another monster issue in the social media is cyber bullying. Cyber bullying is bullying using an online outlet like social media. Bullying is an intense reality for many teens in real life but the struggle only intensifies when they open their social media profiles. According to BullyingStatisics, 25% of teens and adolescents have been continually bullied through the internet. Body shaming is one of the more popular forms of cyber bullying and can lead to someone's self-esteem and confidence to plummet. This type of behavior seems funny to cyber bullies and usually have no remorse for their victims. Some ways you can avoid cyber bullying are:
- Distinguish what is fact and what is not
If the things being commented on your post are not true, ignore them. You know what is fact and it doesn't matter what they might think.
- Keep your account private and only friend people that are genuine friends
This tactic is very effective because it gives you full control on who can comment on your profile, hence eliminating the chance of getting a mean comment.
- Block anyone that is harassing you
This tactic is obvious and will pretty much eliminate the chance of getting mean comments from that person again
Do not let cyber bullies get to you. People who bully usually have no foundation in their comments and have no reason to say the stuff they do. If you do get a mean comment, block them and then go on. Do not stress!
One of the darker dangers of social media is suicide. Suicide has become a major player in teen death rate according to the CDC. The easy access along with public profiles creates a playground for bullies and trolls that are looking to create drama. Enough of these mean comments and trolls can eventually cause someone to look at themselves in a different light. These thoughts and feelings are all too much for a young teenager and can ultimately lead to self-harm and suicide. If you are having any thoughts about self-harm or suicide talk to a parent, school counselor, or call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1(800)273-8255.
As we have seen, social media can be a very dangerous thing if used incorrectly. While social media isn't going anywhere, we can get rid of the bullying. If you are being mistreated on social media, talk to an adult or friend that can help you fight off the hate. Also keep your social media private. Popularity might seem important, but if it takes you making your profile private, do it. A few extra followers are not more important than your well-being.