Sharing of information and human communication by means of a tablet, mobile or computer is said to be social media. Social media has become a vital part of today’s society. Socializing and interacting is made possible by means of various websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. There is an impact on our society by social media. There are various destructive as well as opposing effects due to social media misuse.
Being the best communication gateway that associates business and customers, it is being misused in current times. Let’s glimpse through a few aspects of social media misuse.
Social Media Misuse Consequences:
When social media is misused, it leads to sexual harassment, criminal offense, employment obligations breach, unlawful discernment, misconduct, violation of students, staffs or parent’s privacy, legal liability exposure, etc. These are illegal as well as serious activity that takes place due to social media misuse.
To produce, print, procure or possess child pornography is an offense under the criminal act of 1958. A publication, photograph, computer game, or film that represents the sexual activity of any person under age of 18 is termed as child pornography. To procure or invite any individual under 18 associated with sexual performance is a criminal offense.
All these criminal offenses were developed to guide and guard young individuals from predatory adults. With the help of social media, young adults indulge in sexting.
Under crimes act 1958 stalking is mentioned as a criminal offense. Stalking happens when an individual gets into the course of conduct with an idea to harm the opponent physically or mentally. Few examples would be by contacting the victim by means of email, message or phone call, following the victim, publishing any material online associated to the victim, by hacking the victim’s computer, providing offensive material to the victim, monitoring the victim, etc.
Individual privacy is lost with social media networking websites and is one of the greatest problems faced these days. Social networking websites these days, request for personal information to be filled and this is easily accessible by people across the globe. Though there are many privacy settings, many people aren’t aware of it or careless about the details.
It is also important to remember that the internet is a digital footprint, and details cannot be erased as on normal paper. Hence proper decisions must be taken before posting pictures on their profiles. There was also a survey conducted where British teens of about 39% regretted what they posted. This is because students leave digital footprints that may be a threat in the future. For examples, employers can take a look at their Facebook picture and profiles for illegal actions.
The biggest disadvantage of social media networking is that it takes up a lot of student’s time and addicting. Time is precious and can be used for a number of productive accomplishments. The Digital entertainment survey of 2008 in Great Britain mentions about one-third of students under age 15 to 19 allocate less timing for homework and more time on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Apart from homework, students can get involved in physical activities as well as in other productive activities. But youngsters are sitting with social media an hour every day and wasting time.
The biggest issue with social media networking sites is sexual predation associated with loss of privacy. There are many students who upload outrageous pictures as profiles and they do not think before posting. Youngsters also enter personal information that may have a phone number or can be obtained by chatting.
Sexual predators make use of this information for many reasons. It is important to understand that social networking is anonymous and anybody can develop a fake profile. There are many surveys that conclude that about 25% agreed that they have fake profiles. With such fake profiles, sexual predators can get related or convince youngsters.
Lack of Social skill development:
The other disadvantage of social media networking is that individuals do not develop social skills. This is because students are very comfortable chatting online rather than verbal communication. Aspects that must be done in real life are done in the virtual world with social media.
For example marriage, second life, etc. are on social media for certain people. Also, aspects that cannot be done in real life can be accomplished with social media. This leads to an internet addiction disorder.
By making use of the internet or some other technology when individuals abuse others is termed as cyberbullying. The base platform is social media networking for such issues. The main reason to blame social media is that it’s simple and fast to initiate a nasty rumor, comment, upload embarrassing photos, or send an intimate message.
A recent survey about British teenagers has mentioned that about 37% of youngsters have a profile just to prank peers. They can hack others personal life and also send abusive messages too.
Drug and alcohol addiction:
There are many people on social media, sharing their videos and ideas about drug addiction. By this way, many people follow such drug addicts and also become a drug addict. Many individuals are inspired with such videos and become drug addicts.
Deaths due to social media:
Social media has become a representation of much crazy stuff and stunt videos. There are many life-threatening stunts such as jumping on trains, crazy bike stunts, etc. youngsters follow such stunts that lead to loss of life.
Though there are many examples of social media being a positive media, it has its negatives too. A survey concluded that enhanced use of social media would surely have a negative impact on the self-esteem of an individual. Many individuals are bullied online. About 42% of users visit social media before bed. 15% of teenagers say that they are invited by strangers every day. About 60% of parents do not monitor their children about social media and its usage.
Social media advantages:
Apart from the various disadvantages discussed above, there are many advantages to social media websites. People leave the best aspects of social media and misuse it wasting time and energy. Here are a few hints about the beneficial aspects of social media and the way to use social media in a proper way.
Social media helps students as well as teachers for educational purpose. Social media can be used as a medium by experts, teachers, and professionals to teach students. By using social media, one can follow anyone in a specific niche and enhance their knowledge. Irrespective of your educational background and location, you can obtain knowledge without paying.
Updates and information:
The latest updates and information across the globe in all fields can be gained with social media. True and instant messages can be known by means of social media rather than print media and television.
The main beneficial factor in using social media is connectivity. People irrespective of their location and religion get connected by means of social media. Connectivity is beneficial for a number of reasons such as business, getting new customers, marketing, etc.
Social media is a vast platform where people from across the world are connected. Hence seeking help, donation, social service, etc. can be achieved to a greater extent with social media. Communities can be formed and helping services can be carried over with the help of social media. There are many noble causes for which social media can be utilized.
Guides government and agencies to fight crime:
The other important advantage of making use of social media is that it helps agencies to spy and find criminals. Many cases are narrowed down, by researching social media accounts of associated individuals.
Improvement in business reputation:
The reputation and sales of any business can be enhanced with the help of social media. Goodwill and sales are improved by gaining positive comments from followers. Moreover, there are millions of people who see and also follow your product to purchase it. People have the freedom to comment anything on social media and hence positive comments are always a booster.
Developing and participating in communities is a beneficial factor when social media is considered. People of specific niche develop and form their community. For example, car lovers form their own community; game lovers form their own and so on. They can discuss and share all the details about their field.
Tips to Prevent Social Media Misuse:
Social media is gaining popularity and a medium for communication, though there are many beneficial aspects, there are teenagers and individuals who misuse social media. Let’s glance through a few tips about how to prevent social media misuse.
- Teenagers and kids can be advised to avoid unnecessary chatting, gossiping, and bullying, posting messages on social media. Such activities that spoil others reputation can be prevented.
- It would be good to advise kids and teenagers to avoid accepting friends request from unknown people and ones who don’t reveal their identity.
- Teach your kids that social media sites are public sites and not meant for personal use. By this way, the kids should have a piece of good knowledge about what must be shared and posted on a friend’s wall. Also, teach the kids about the consequences that take place if personal messages and photos are posted on social media.
- It would be good to have sound knowledge about the security features of social media so that inappropriate contents can be avoided.
- A profile can be created on the site where your child is also a member. By this way, your child’s social media activity can be monitored. You can navigate your child in the right way and help them to learn new things in the digital world.
- Teach your children about digital reputation. As youngsters post videos, pictures, or upload anything, they must remember that digital footprints are left behind by them. Marketing people or employers can gather such details and make use of it in the future in a number of ways. It is important to discuss with your dear ones about posting personal images and pictures and its consequences.
- A family media plan can be created in order to manage social media so that every teen can be monitored. Draft a plan with healthy technology use habits along with your children.
- Advise them not to use technology for long hours and close to bedtime. The sleep quality is disturbed and the negative impact is sure when technology is used during sleep hours.
- Apart from teenagers and children, staffs in an organization also misuse social media. Organizations need to include policies on using systems, IT and social media in the organization. They need training about the usage of social media usage, for example, Twitter usage, LinkedIn connections, posting on Facebooks, contacts organization on Google + and privacy settings. Organizations also need to conduct risk assessments to monitor positive, negative as well as personal uses.
- They also need to monitor the happenings on social media as employees may bad mouth about the organization. The organization’s digital footprints need to be checked periodically with the help of social media monitoring sites.
- The social media tool kit can be utilized by an organization that brings together various policies and tools.
When made a comparison with other tools, social media websites have enhanced potential to be misused. The impact of social media mainly relies on individuals use and misuse. Social media plays a major role in the lives of teenagers and kids and hence need to be used in the right way. It is hence the duty of the parents to turn social media a beneficial, and educative one for youngsters and kids.
They need to guide their children about the rules and proper usage. They also need to teach the negative impact and avoid misuse of social media. With many ways to misuse social media, it is good for individuals to think of positive uses and make proper use of social media and reap success.