Social networking has been the biggest revolution in 20th century and this information age has been taken by storm. Though there are number of benefits from social networking, it has its own negative page. Every other person one knows today right from your friends, girlfriend or boyfriend, boss, neighbor all indulge in these sites and are easily contactable through it. However since these attract a wide range of people, most of whom are blissfully unaware of the need for social security, it also attracts a huge bunch of cyber criminals who are out to make fast bucks from unwary users.
The threats in social networking range from just the basic spam advertisement that just pops out to the most sophisticated ones built to steal your account credentials or infect your system with a virus. These can result in loss of private data and money along with endangering the people around us. Though social media is a great platform to meet new people, extend friendships and get information but it also has serious risks specifically, negative effect on mental health, cyberbullying, dangers of sexual solicitation and exposure to illegal contents. Use of extensive social media results in teenagers of spending lot of time online but face peer rejection and lot of close friends in real life problems. It also results in emotional distress from receiving threatening, harassing and humiliating communication from another teen. In some cases youth are also drawn towards sexual predation where one engages with other on social fronts sexually. Careless use also leads to breach of privacy as most youth do not read websites’ privacy policies or may be unaware that their information is at risk of disclosure to third parties like advertisers.
Prevent from Social Networking Hazards:
Through a two way programme of awareness and engagement of parents with their teens we could prevent the abusive use of social media platforms. Parents need to educate themselves about social media and the ways their teens use it, as well as the day to day risks, to help them understand and navigate the technologies.Family discussions are positive for teens and can result in less risky online behaviors. There should be greater concern about safety and sharing of photos and personal information, lower incidences of talking or meeting to people they only know online. Another effective strategy could be discussing media content with their teens can be reduce the amount of personal information disclosed and less monitoring as teens perceive this as their privacy violation.
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Technological solutions could be Internet providers such as Google and networking sites such as Facebook and YouTube, need to continue to work with parents and policy makers to create awareness and opportunities for privacy protection of youth and to develop technologies that can assist teens in staying safe. Medical and mental health providers need to include routine screenings to assess risk for depression that consider a teen’s social media use. Social media forms have altered how youth socialize and learn, and adults can help teens think about online presence in moral and ethical ways specifically to help teens in understanding the consequences for themselves of participation in the socially networked world.