The “Eye Opening” Dangers of Social Media

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The “Eye Opening” Dangers of Social Media

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In the 21st century, technology is no stranger to the vast majority of young children and teenagers. Social media websites and applications enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. While this can be looked at as a great invention to communicate with virtually anyone on the internet, it comes with possibilities of dangerous repercussions. In this article, you will learn just how social media is affecting young kids and teens. (The statistics below has been inspired by “What is Socia Media” & ”What is truly happening to social media.”)

What is Social Media?

Social Media enables users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. Most Social Media’s are rated for 13+ but, apps such as Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and many more are rated 12+. While those young children may enjoy the fact they are allowed on these applications, many kids of the rated age for the apps are uneducated on the dangers that come with the use of them. The apps are used for communication mostly, but when you sign up for any social media page it instantly gives the application users from anywhere around the world access to message you. Now you may ask, “Why is this important?” This is important because any kid can be messaged by a stranger, and anyone amongst any age or country this is where things can become dangerous. Parents, most of the time, will give their kid a phone and be unaware of the activities their children are quite doing with the device. Here are some interesting statics revolving the application giving access to young children; 55% of parents of 12-year-olds said their child was on Facebook, and 76% percent of those parents admitted to helping their child gain access to Facebook. Another interesting statistic is that 55% of teens have given out personal information to some they don’t know, including photos and physical descriptions. Now with this information, where does anyone draw the line?

What Is Truly Happening on Social Media?

While everyone probably looks at the creators and CEOs of these applications and think they are geniuses, they created more than what the platform was meant to exceed. The people who created some of these well popularized Social Media platforms created ways for young children to be harassed, hurt, and traumatized for the rest of their lives due to the actions of strangers who were allowed access to their profiles. The well put together applications create outlets for cyber-bullying, sexual harassment, and many more scary situations no one would ever want to face. The fact of the matter is that while these apps are rated in App Stores a certain age, this feature doesn’t matter because anyone of any age can download these applications with one click. A very alarming statistic is 43% of kids who signed up for Facebook at an average age of 12, those children have already messaged strangers. This article is not stating that these platforms are bad but is providing information about the true dangers involved in creating profiles with these applications.

How To Prevent

With dangers come preventions, you can absolutely prevent yourself from dangers with these applications. I advise that younger users of these Social Media applications do certain things to obtain the most possible safety, upon creating a social media platform that makes your page private. You should do this to make sure immediately no strangers can view your profile, and the only way for people to see your profile is to accept users’ requests. I also feel that it’s not even necessary for anyone this young to have Social Media anyways. Tips such as keeping your name unknown on your page, not posting your location, etc. can really maximize your privacy. Parents are a big part of this process as well. Restrict your child’s phone until you feel they have enough responsibility and knowledge of defending themselves against strangers. Developers, parents, and young children of social media all need to work together to make this platform a safer place for users of all ages. Instagram has a system of recommending certain photos and videos to anyone amongst the platform. No young children are safe, any and all measures of privacy matter.

How to Make Social Media Safer

If I could control the privacy of people on these applications, I would do many things. First, have the availability to decide who you give permission to see your account. I feel like there should be more implementation of privacy options, and let the user decide who they allow viewing their accounts. Secondly, since the rating on these applications are 12+ lower it, and anyone who signs up 12 and under, automatically set restrictions to their accessibilities. Many people hide behind usernames on social media, forcing users to use their legal birth name would really wind down the thought of trying to hurt any user on the application.

With this information, what are your thoughts and opinions? Feel free to leave feedback!