What kind of impact does social media have on today's youth? Social media is no longer Facebook and Twitter. It's also Youtube, Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Tik Tok, and so many more platforms. Teenagers are literally all over the world wide web and keeping in touch with friends, as well as strangers. Social media can come with very dangerous risks and consequences. Further, Lin et al. (2016) confirmed in a study that social media usage is associated with increased depression rates.
Here are some things to keep in mind the next time you go on a social media platform to post a comment or picture.
One concern with social media postings is that sometimes teens tend to overshare. Oversharing information can make you vulnerable because you are putting information that others can use against you, if they choose to do so. Not only can others use information to incriminate or blackmail you, but hackers will have access to information that makes it easier to get into your email, computer, and even your phone.
It's also important to note that if you do find yourself a victim of cyberbullying, please don't stay quiet. Speak to your parents, a teacher, a counselor, or anyone you trust. Don't be afraid to speak up. Speak to someone and get help before things get worse.
Everything is Permanently Online
Once you post something online, it will forever be there. Yes, even if you delete it, the information will still be online. Someone could easily take a snapshot and whatever you posted will be easily circulated all over the internet. Once you press that "post, comment, reply, or publish" button, you can no longer take back what you wrote.
Before you make your next post, comment or reply, think about a few things:
- Are you okay with your mother or father seeing it? Somehow whatever you posted will end up being seen by your parents.
- Are you okay with your future employer seeing it? When you apply for your first job, the first thing your potential employer will do is look you up on social media. They will be able to see everything you have posted online and possibly make their decision whether to hire you or not on what they see.
- Are you okay with your principal seeing it? Once your post is online, your school principal will have access to it. Even if it's a private post or message, someone could betray your trust and spread what you sent to them.
- Are you okay with your future children and grandchildren seeing it? Time passing doesn't mean things will get deleted from the world wide web. Everything will still be online years and years later.
Your Picture Can Be Circulated Everywhere
Similar to posts, any picture you post of yourself or your family members will also be forever on the internet. People will use your photo for whatever they wish, be it for advertising their business or as their profile background pic. You can only control so much and once your pic is out there, it's out there without limits and can fall into anyone's hands.
Further, if you are for instance on Facebook, you are literally giving Facebook permission to use your images every time you post them. Here is a quote directly from their terms of service, which I will link below:
"if you share a photo on Facebook, you give us permission to store, copy, and share it with others (again, consistent with your settings) such as service providers that support our service or other Facebook Products you use."