While social media is a great way to stay in touch with friends and relatives in far-off places, it’s also a hub for nefarious activity. Some of the worst kinds of people scour social media looking to manipulate naivety most commonly found in younger people. If you’re a teen in this day in age, safety becomes a high priority in this regard.
We’ll go over the top five essential safety tips for teens when using social media. These include not using social media at all and protecting sensitive information along with being discerning and selective, among a few others.
1. Don’t Use Social Media
While it may seem ridiculous, don’t use social media. The best way to avoid danger is to not make yourself so accessible to predators, pedophiles, scammers, con artists, etc. in the first place. Plus, it leaves you vulnerable to attacks from hackers along with spying from agencies and advertising sources.
To illustrate, one of the original creators of Facebook once admitted they use emotional triggers to see how people react. When exposed to such things, you may not understand your shift in mood. This can have dire consequences in reality in terms of personal relationships and psychological well-being.
2. Protect Information
If you are going to be on social media, then it’s best to keep profile details to a minimum. This also means utilizing and understanding the platform’s privacy settings. Don’t share things like email addresses, your full name, your current school, or your phone number. And don’t allow your profile to be public for anyone to search. Parents can choose to monitor their teen’s activities on social media as a proactive measure to safeguard their online experiences. In today’s digital age, where teenagers often navigate complex online landscapes, parental monitoring can provide a safety net.
By keeping an eye on their child’s social media interactions and content consumption, parents can better protect them from cyberbullying, inappropriate content, or potential dangers. However, it’s crucial to strike a balance between monitoring and respecting a teen’s privacy, and fostering open communication and trust to ensure a healthy online environment for their development.
3. Be Discerning with Connections
Teens should also understand that they should not engage strangers who directly message them. If you don’t know who the person is, avoid contact with them at all costs. Any requests for friends and connections should come from individuals you know, trust, and talk to outside of the virtual world.
4. Digital Footprints & Postings
Whatever you post on a social media site is there permanently unless you remove them. If you post something offensive, sexual, or harmful it opens you up to a world of pain and criticism.
And, if one of your friends shares the post (especially if it originates from your profile), it will allow nefarious characters access to your information. Even with privacy settings in place, they can peruse your timeline and attempt to manipulate you through the comments section.
5. Seek Support & Help
In the event you fall into the hands of a stranger online who begins stalking you, reach out to an adult you trust. If at any time you feel unsafe or encounter a situation of concern, talk to your parents, teacher, or other kind of person.
Even if you don’t follow the tips mentioned here, it’s imperative you devise a plan of action to maneuver the dangers and risks. Social media can be a great tool but it can also create serious problems with real-world consequences.