With the advent of social media, people have come closer online. It has become convenient for them to reach their old friends, colleagues, and even distant relatives. While social media may have been beneficial for adults in some ways, the trends have revealed that it has been extensively used by teens across the globe for many reasons – be it interaction with friends, playing games, watching videos, sharing pictures, etc., and that’s where the rise of social media dangers begins.
Teens and Social Media
At the time when teens are spending time on the social media platforms, if not properly lead by adults, most commonly their parents, they may be indulged in wrong activities and put themselves at risk. Since teens are in a phase where they want a space of their own, wanting to be independent and taking decisions on their own, they would not like others, especially their parents, to intervene when it comes to their online privacy. However, they should be well informed about the right ways of using social media and what possible dangers they could be facing on the internet if they do not adhere to some strict policies.
It is important to establish firm boundaries for teens when they’re using social media so they can have a safe online experience. It would be likely for them to consistently press those boundaries and get indulged in risks, even if they come with serious consequences. Most of the major online dangers for them are cyberbullying, sexting, interaction with online predators (pedophiles), and viewing inappropriate web content. The reason why the internet, especially social media, is an outlet for possible downfall for them is that all these online dangers are damaging, putting a long-lasting negative effect on teens’ minds. These are some of the online risks that are being continuously talked about among everyone.
What most people forget pointing out are the subtle, everyday dangers pertaining to social media that can be extremely harmful to teens. These social media dangers either remain unknown or are being ignored by the majority of people. Teens need to be educated about these social media dangers so they can learn to stay away from them. Parents can play a vital role here by setting appropriate boundaries for their teens in order to keep them safe from the social media risks.
Common Social Media Dangers for Teens
Let’s talk about the subtle, everyday social media dangers for teens that are usually not talked about.
Teens often, out of habit, post their private pictures on social media, without realizing what consequences they may have to face at a later point. To receive attention, they put up pictures on their social media accounts, allowing everybody to see them – be it their friends, colleagues, family members, enemies, or even potential employers. When they’re posting the pictures, which may be even inappropriate, they’re not thinking about anything but the attention they’re going to receive through them.
Before taking this step, there are a few questions they must ask themselves: would they be okay if their parents and grandparents see their private pictures? Would they feel comfortable knowing that their school principal or a future boss may see them? Could your enemy use the pictures against you at some point? Teens should think about these questions first and then put up pictures for others to see.
Social media has become all about posting stuff with an intent to show off that you’re better than the other person. For most teens, it has become a show, a place where they want to make their life look more exciting and appealing than the rest. Social media has now become all about building a fake image, propelling teens to lie about their lives. All the time, they draw comparisons with others their age, thinking of ways to be ahead of them.
When they lie, they lose their true sense of identity and belonging, which are the two most important elements for teen development. Majority of their focus lies on building or creating a fake image on social media instead of embracing their true self. This heavily triggers an inferiority complex within them, forcing them to show a fake life on social media.
Teens, especially girls, may somehow believe that the only way to gain attention on social media is by wearing oversexualized clothes. They think they can use their newly discovered sexuality to seek attention from everyone on social media. This online platform provides them a wider audience, making them feel empowered.
The above-mentioned points definitely apply here. When they share pictures wearing revealing clothes, they may face some serious consequences as described in the first point. Similarly, they want to compete with other teen girls when it comes to showing off their sexuality on social media in an attempt to gain more publicity.
Making Viral Videos
Nowadays, every other teen intends to put up a video with an aim of making it viral. However, in an attempt to make their video viral, they may often have to go the extra mile – do something extraordinary and even extreme to an extent. Most often than not they may end up doing something dangerous which can be of physical nature.
At times, they may also do something humiliating, putting their family members at shame. While doing such crazy stunts, they may be putting themselves or others at huge risk without thinking about the consequences they may face after uploading that video. This social media danger leads to another point which is discussed below.
Public Shaming Others
Public shaming or offending others on social media has become epidemic. This does not only apply to teens, but to the adults as well. Every time when an unfortunate incident takes place with someone or does something embarrassing, the other person takes an advantage of their situation. He fishes out the camera from the pocket, records the scene on his phone and uploads on his social media account without giving a thought how adversely the video may affect the victim or his family.
A simple mistake on their end becomes a lifetime ugly experience for them as their wrongdoing is out in the online space where everyone can judge their morality. We may not realize but when we post a video, share on our social media accounts, or even post comments underneath, we are contributing to that person’s destruction. We are humiliating and public shaming that person.
Unfortunately, teens learn from their peers and blindly follow whatever they’re doing online. They wouldn’t stop unless they are explained what harmful effects these embarrassing viral videos can leave on a person’s life. They should be rectified for the silly mistakes they make and taught to use social media within certain boundaries so they can prevent themselves from the online dangers.