Social Media: Stop Kidding

2015-01-26 20:25

Technological advances are aimed at helping us cope with the strain and stresses of our modern lifestyles.

Sadly, some individuals and especially teenagers are abusing this technology. The misuse of cellphones, instant messaging apps (Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and BBM), the internet and e-mail, are playing a major role in leading to the self-destruction of our communities and children.

While social networking apps/sites do have various benefits and advantages as it offers a diverse methods to share and store information and it also enables users to instantly communicate with family, friends or business associates around the globe, there are also many disadvantages and negative scenarios which manifest, due to the uncontrolled and unsupervised use of social networks.

Social networking apps/sites have the ability to control our lives. Very often, during the course of the day and even the night, users of social networking apps/sites go on to their profiles to “check-up” on the latest updates.

Moreover, some children and young adults are gaining access to information and content that are way out of their league and range.

Unfortunately, many users of social networking app/sites do not know how to draw the fine line between public and private life. This leaves users vulnerable and exposed to danger by the irrational sharing of information.

Everything can be read or seen by a huge number of invisible viewers (otherwise known as friends-of-friends-of-friends), and, once something is posted online, it’s difficult to delete or remove.

The harm that is being caused by the uncontrolled and unsupervised use of social media, has reached alarming levels, and this is something we all, and more especially parents should be cognisant off.

According to a survey carried out by Common Sense Media, the following alarming statistics were revealed:

• More than 1 out of every 10 teenagers has posted a nude or semi-nude picture of themselves, or others online - a “digital tattoo” that could haunt them for the rest of their lives.

• Aside from the nudity, the survey also found that at least a quarter of the young people polled had posted something they later regretted, made fun of others or created a false identity online.

• 22 percent say they check their sites more than 10 times a day - they don’t seem to be aware of the long-term personal havoc they could create with a click of a button.

• Parents generally have little idea or no idea about what their children are up to.

• It’s a “playground with no parental supervision.”

• There’s definitely a case of ‘not-my-kid syndrome’ that has developed.

• People forget that everything they say online is a public postcard.

James Steyer of Common Sense Media says, “We’ve got to stop kidding ourselves about this.” “There are enormous consequences from inappropriate behaviour online.”

Users of these social networking apps/sites need to be aware of the positive and negative effects of these apps/sites and use them with care and great precaution.

Parents need to structure their lives to spend quality time with their children, monitor and censor their children’s reading material, monitor the sites that children surf on the net, be mindful of which recreational and entertainment centres they attend, and know their children’s friends.

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