HOW TO BE WISE ABOUT THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA?

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While there are many good things about social media there are several harmful points that children need to be aware of and avoid. When you post something carelessly on a site like Facebook or YouTube, you are asking for trouble. So think twice before hitting ENTER.

The Good about Social Media

Social media can help us:

·        stay connected with friends and family

·        volunteer or get involved with a campaign or charity

·        enhance creativity through the sharing of ideas, music, and art

·        meet and interact with others who share similar interests

The Bad about Social Media

The flipside is that social media can be a hub for things like cyberbullying and questionable activities. Without meaning to, one can easily share more online than required.

One study showed that 9 out of 10 teens post photos of themselves online or use their real names on their profiles; 8 out of 10 reveal their birthdates and interests; and 7 out of 10 post their school name and the town where they live. Actions like this can make teens easy targets for online predators and others who might want to cause them harm.

And photos, videos, and comments posted online usually can't be taken back. Even after we think something has been deleted, it is impossible to completely erase it from the Internet.

Posting an inappropriate photo can damage one’s reputation in ways that may cause problems years later — such as when a potential employer or college admissions officer does a background check.

What can be done to make Social Media safe to use?

It's important to be aware of what we are doing online and not getting carried away by friends. Here are some helpful hints-

·        Tell elders. If you are facing problems of cyberbullying or any other pressure then share with your parents or a trusted elder. They will help you to steer clear of such threats.

·         Think twice before hitting "enter." What you post can be used against you. For example, letting the world know that you are off on vacation or posting your home address gives would-be robbers a chance to strike. You should avoid posting specific locations of parties or events, as well as phone numbers.

·        Follow the "WWGS?" (What Would Grandma Say?) rule. Know that "once it's out there, you can't get it back." You shouldn't share anything on social media that you wouldn't want your teachers, college admissions officers, future bosses — and yes, grandma — to see.

·        Use privacy settings. Privacy settings are important, and to highlight their importance, go through the settings together with your parents so that they can explain to you better. Also passwords protect you against identity theft and should never be shared with anyone.

·        Don't "friend" strangers. "If you don't know them, don't friend them." This is a plain, simple — and safe — rule of thumb.

 

Follow a few simple rules to avoid becoming a gadget addict-

Apart from the dangers from social media, another downside is addiction. This is true for all, but especially for children as they have more free time on their hands.

·       Limit the time spent on smartphones and laptops.

·       Never bring any gadget to the dining table.

·       Do not use two gadgets at the same time.

·       Using a smartphone while watching television is not a good idea.

·       Try not to make a habit of checking your phone for messages or updates every minute.

·       Fix a time of the day to spend on gadgets so that you have enough time for other activities.

·       During examinations refrain from using your smartphone to check your social media sites as this can be quite disturbing.

·       You can deposit your phone and laptop to your parents if you find that you are getting addicted. 

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