What is social media?
Social media refers to any website or phone app where you talk and interact with other people. Some of the most popular social media sites are:
What should I do if I need help?
What are some dangers of social media?
If something exists on social media, it is very easy for other people to find it and see it. Even if you aren’t friends with someone, people can hack social media sites and access your profile and see everything you post.
As soon as you post something on a social media platform, it doesn’t belong to you anymore – even if it’s sent privately! Each social media platform has terms and conditions that allow them to legally have access to whatever you post – your pictures, your addresses, your phone number and email address, and everything else. If you don’t want the entire world knowing where you live or other private information, make sure you don’t post it on social media!
Once you post something to a social media site, you can never completely undo it – it will always exist somewhere on some computer that you don’t have access to.
Consequences of social media
When we post content online – thing like drug and alcohol use, inappropriate photos, bad language and more – we are setting ourselves up for a lot of potential consequences.
- embarrassment, humiliation
- objectification/possible victimization
- loss of friends, bullying
- feeling sad, depressed, withdrawn
- thinking about or actually hurting self/others
- employment (thirty-seven% of employers check a candidate’s social media!)
- college admission (thirty-one% of colleges check an applicant’s social media!)
- joining the military
- re-living the emotional consequences when old photos/messages re-surface
What is catfishing?
“Catfishing” is the process of creating a fake profile on social media and pretending to be someone else by using another person’s pictures and/or personal information. These catfishers:
- use readily accessible information that is often already available on various social media sites
- use a person’s name, biological information, pictures and other information to create an online persona
- bully, demean, embarrass, humiliate and harass their intended target
Catfishing is a form of cyberbullying.
How can I protect myself on social media?
- Never take images of yourself that you wouldn’t want everyone – your classmates, teachers, family, strangers – to see.
- Be careful about the personal information you post such as your age, location, school or other details. This information can be used in very negative ways.
- Check your location services and carefully monitor which apps can access your location. Remember, these apps must have explicit permission from you for anything they do.
- Never add anyone on any form of social media that you have not met in real life.
- If you are being bullied online, tell a trusted adult immediately!