Social Media. What a big topic. There are so many different websites and apps you may use every day to communicate with you friends and family. Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are just a few of the biggest ones. Did you know that the teenager spends an average of 9 hours on their phone and/or online on their computer? Think about it. When you wake up, what is the first thing you look at? When you are riding to school, what are you doing? When you walk between classes or are waiting for a ride home… When you’re bored or even right before bed… what is the very last thing you do for the day? You most likely check your phone. Social media is a huge influence on your daily life and as such, it is important we talk about it here and that you are safe in how you use it.
What do you think about before you make a post on social media?
Do you think about the content in your pictures? Or who can see them? Even if you have a harmless photo you want to post, do you think about how your location is being shared with everyone that sees it? Turn off those location services. If you are being followed on Instagram by a stranger, sharing your location can be dangerous. Even the background in your photo can give your location away.
Do you think it is okay to post suggestive pictures or videos on social media? Or to send to people through email or text message?
No! This is not okay. This is truly dangerous. There is never a way to keep your photos or posts completely private. Anyone that sees your photo can easily share it with others. Sharing “sexy” or “nude” photos while underage actually qualifies as child pornography. Posting or sharing photos (even if they are of someone else) can lead to child pornography charges, jail time, or you may have to register as a sex offender!
Social Media Safety Tips:
- Check your default settings – Most apps will default to the most public exposure. Some apps can share your location with your friends without you knowing. This becomes especially dangerous when you friend people you do not actually know, a setup for predators and stalkers. (ie. Snapchat)
- Do NOT share your passwords
- Friend only those you know – Strangers can see everything. Even the backgrounds in your photos can give away your location.
- Never post personal information – Such as phone number or address. If you need to share this information with a friend, do so in a private message or phone call.
- THINK before you post – Think many times about what you are going to post! Why are you posting it? What is it of? Would you be concerned if your parents, family or teachers saw this photo or post?
- Avoid using location services
- Don’t agree to meet someone in person that you met online
- Posting, sending, or forwarding suggestive photos can get you in trouble with the law, a serious crime
Below are some video links to teenagers own stories about social media safety: