Over the years, social media networking has become an essential element in the lives of both adults and teenagers. Social media has become increasingly popular because of its ability to meet the needs and interests of the vast majority of people. Social media networking is a well-known method of communicating with people using platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Most adults use them professionally as a valuable tool for businesses to engage with like-minded professionals, customers, and other businesses. Teenagers use it to socialize with friends by sharing the latest events, photos, and videos.
With all social media’s benefits, it is easy to overlook the risks involved. Social media risks include threats and criminal activity such as stalking, cyberbullying, identity theft, and hacking. Also, users may fall prey to impersonators who can cause damage to their reputation and stand with the people they are trying to network with. To make the best use of social networking while avoiding the risks, users, especially teens, need to be aware of such threats and use the platform wisely.
This article enlists essential safety tips for teens that are easy to remember and highly effective.These golden rules are excellent for helping teens tackle social media challenges and stay safe:
Check Privacy Settings
To ensure social media safety, you must check the privacy settings of any social media platform you use. Usually, the default privacy settings will give your posts the most public exposure, which can be dangerous sometimes. There are many account settings to list, so it’s advisable to Google “privacy” settings for any social media platform you tend to use.
For instance, go to privacy settings on Instagram, and select “Private Account” to control who can see your content and maintain the privacy of what you post.
You can also deselect the “Private Account” option and click on “Switch to public account” option to make your account publicly available.
Don’t Accept Every Friend Request
Social media is about connecting with new people, but not all friend requests come from people with good intentions. When an unfamiliar person sends you friend requests, unexpected things may happen. Be cautious and accept friends’ requests from those you know in the real world. Apart from the obvious severe threats, requests from friends or strangers can often be spambots. Fake profiles may also be used in cyberbullying. So, when a new friend/follow request comes in, and you think you know the person, check their profile first and see if something looks suspicious. Only accept such requests when all your doubts are cleared.
It is imperative to represent yourself at your best on social media. Make sure your photos are appropriate. Do not post anything that depicts negative pictures of yourself, your friends, or your family, ridicules, sex, nudity, crime, drugs, discrimination, violence, obscene actions, or anything that might offend the public.
In simple words, avoid uploading anything you would not want your parents or grandparents to see. You need to maintain your reputation on social media platforms.
Post in Positivity
Be sure to post stuff after assessing your mood. Avoid dithering or arguing with others on social media and posting messages when you are upset or aggressive.
It would be very disrespectful to share your anger with the world. Share positivity and good vibes across the web. Also, be careful what you post for likes. You may not want to end up “instafamous” for something that could harm your future. Keep your posts as positive as possible, dignified and smart. Social media is a great way to build a web presence for future endeavours. Don’t compromise your future for “likes” or “followers.”
None has the right to harass anyone based on sex, race, age, orientation, personal beliefs, values, etc. The impact of harassment is heightened and can have extreme consequences when acted out over the Internet. Avoid engaging in cyber brawls on social media and status/story face-offs. In case of personal issues with someone, keep it off the Internet. If anyone says things about you on social media, report their account or let your parents know but do not indulge in confrontation or quarrel over the Internet.
React When Necessary
If you see anything on social media that bothers or harms you, you can report it. Many social media platforms allow reporting a particular post or photo or person’s profile if it is contrary to the community standards of the social media platform. Most social media platforms let you “block” a person so you won’t see their content, and they can’t contact you or send you messages.
Use Extra Caution with Posts and Pictures
You need to pay attention to your personal and financial data regarding social networks. But you also need to be careful about posts and photos, especially if you have a great sequel that includes people you don’t know personally. There are a lot of copycats and people with malevolent intentions, which makes it essential to understand the value of privacy. To avoid problems, refrain from sharing strong thoughts and disparaging remarks about a public figure or community.
Limit Apps Access
Facebook and other sites urge users to install applications, primarily games, gifts and promotions. Before doing so, you must read the information it attempts to collect. Most importantly, limit the application’s access to only the minimum it needs. Else the malicious application may steal your personal or confidential information.
Avoid Sharing Passwords
Never tell anyone else your social media password. At the same time, avoid using the same password across multiple sites. If any of your accounts are compromised, your other accounts will remain protected. If you have trouble memorizing passwords, you may use a password management app. Nowadays, web browsers and mobile phones offer password management as a native feature which is a very quick and easy solution.
Teach Yourself to Recognize Fake News
Fake news has been all over the place over the last year. Usually, if anything sounds too nice to be true, it is probably not. If you’re wondering how to stay safe online, it doesn’t end with social media. It’s about detecting spam as well. Avoid opening links or attachments submitted by a stranger, or they might release a virus onto your computer. Also, prefer keeping your personal information as private as you can.
Recognize When it’s Time to Go Offline
Using the internet securely isn’t just about going online and accessing information without compromising your personal details or falling prey to cyber threats; it is also about how much time you spend on it. The Internet is an excellent tool for keeping in touch with friends and being creative, but being online for excessive amounts of time can harm other areas of life, such as school and sleep. Knowing how much screen time is enough and when to disconnect and spend time away from screens, particularly our smartphones, is vital.
Don’t Compare Your Own Life Based on What Others Post
People post happy photos and stories online and don’t usually share their dull or sad moments or unflattering photos. So, don’t assume others have better lives than you based on their post. People live a “Reel Life” online, which is not the same as “Real Life.”
Be Smart When Using Smartphone
All the same, tips apply to phones and computers, along with some extra precautions. Be careful about who you give your number to and how you use GPS and other technologies to pinpoint your physical location, as almost all social media apps use geo-location tracking to map user activity. Also, you must use two-factor authentication for your accounts for more safe and more secure access to your accounts and usage.
Social Media Safety Tips (Video):
Taking the necessary precautions and appropriate care online can significantly reduce the risk of your account being compromised and the challenges social media may expose you to. However, nothing in this world comes with 100% surety; taking precautions can make it difficult for cybercriminals to access your social media profiles and personal information. And cyberpunks don’t want to waste time cramming a gut-wrenching account when they can access hundred other insecure accounts instead.
You may also read Digital Safety Tips For Parents.