If you still aren’t on Facebook or Twitter, or if you don’t have an account on Snapchat or Instagram yet, then you are not in. That’s how it is at school these days, right? You get the latest stories, not from the school paper or your community’s daily, but from the statuses or shout-outs of people from your school or community.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s not bad to be on social media. In fact, social media has tons of use for you. It can help you connect with your family who live in a different city or country. It can also be a platform for groups to share their advocacies. Others just use it as an outlet where they can blurt out their feelings at the time. For whatever it is that you use social media, just make sure that you do not overuse it.
Threats in social media
One thing, however, that you need to be aware of is that there are threats in social media of which kids like you must be aware. Technology has made our lives easier, and also easier for criminals, opportunists, and predators to get to us. Kids who use social media for a variety of reasons – homework, research, connecting with friends, and playing games – should all be aware of these threats.
Ways to be safe on social media
Remember, it’s always wiser to be cautious. There are a lot of predators and criminal elements out there who pose as someone else, just to take advantage of you. The following tips should help you have more fun and safe social media use.
1. Use the privacy settings
The majority of social media sites offer privacy settings. Use them and use them wisely. Allow only a select group of people to view your entire profile.
Best advice: Make your profile private and only add those you know personally.
2. Don’t post personal information or inappropriate pictures
Never include your cellphone number, home address, etc. in your social media profile. Likewise, refrain from posting inappropriate pictures of yourself or others.
Best advice: If you need to, send your personal information through a private message to people you know personally.
3. Never meet with anyone you “meet” online
If someone you met online suggests this, tell your mom, dad, or guardian immediately. The whole idea of meeting someone in person for the first time may be exciting, but it has its consequences, too.
Best advice: Tell your parents about people you meet online, so they are always aware of what is happening.
4. Never respond to inappropriate messages or comments
If someone is rude, inappropriate, or just being plain mean, do not respond. Some people are just confident because they can say things without being face-to-face with you.
Best advice: Delete these messages or comments. If they are your “friend”, delete them from your list.
There are a lot more precautions you can take to ensure your social media experience is safe and fun. Just remember to be smart in all your actions online.
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