Social Media: The dangers you might not be aware of

Social Media: The dangers you might not be aware of

Social Media is the new way of life for millions of people worldwide. In 2020, logging onto the many popular social media sites has become second nature.

How often do you check your phone? Once a day?  Five times a day? Every time you remember? 

It is the first thing most people do in the morning and the last thing they do at night; scroll, like, share and comment on thousands of posts. 

Children from as young as 12 have accounts and spend an excessive amount of time on their devices. These kids, in fact, don’t know a world that isn’t constantly online. 

To most users, social media sounds like a harmless, common pastime, but here are some downfalls to using social media; particularly in excess.

Social Media Addiction

A 2017 survey by the Royal Society for Public Health in the United Kingdom describes social media as ‘more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol’. A bold statement, indeed. 

Addiction Centre warns that, although most people will have no problem going a day without logging onto social media, people who have addictive personalities may have a more challenging time with self-control and limited time online.

Social media addiction is a behavioural addiction. This, according to the centre, is characterised as being overly concerned about what is being posted online and being ‘driven by an uncontrollable urge to log on’. Addiction can also be classed as devoting so much time and effort to social media that it impairs another aspect of the user’s life.

Mental Health

Instagram has the biggest effect on youth, says a survey by the Young Health Movement (YHM) in the UK. Young users are continually seeing people living their “best lives”. 

There’s the devastating ‘realisation’ that your own life is not glamorous or happy enough. This can cause depression. Many people have found themselves in financial disarray from living above their means to impress people on social media.

Social media has given people the false idea that everyone else’s life is great all of the time. The thing is, people are only sharing the good parts of their lives, like a highlight reel of sorts.

The images on social media can be misleading most of the time.

Catfishing

Another problem that is in the same vein as the previous one is catfishing. Catfishing is when someone online uses a fake profile. They can do this in order to scam people for money or even as a means to gain information. It informs the idea that not everything online is as it seems. People who catfish usually make fake celebrity profiles and pose as influential people.

If you think you are engaging with a celebrity, be sure to check that the account is verified, particularly on Twitter.

Candice Modiselle, a South African celebrity, took to her social media to reveal that she had found 50 Facebook profiles that claimed to be her. She said;: “I don’t have Facebook. If a “Candice Modiselle” interacts with you, makes promises to you about job opportunities, asks for money etc, it’s a fake account. I don’t have Facebook at all.”

Privacy

Social Media has changed the definition of the word ‘private’. Your profile is peppered with sensitive information – enough for someone to copy your identity or overstep the boundary of online and ‘real-life’. 

People have access to your birthday, address and even marital status.

To delve even deeper into what we unknowingly share online, other users can see your likes and your dislikes, depending on the pages you follow and the groups you join. 

Gulf News explains that, when you’re online, if you want to join a social networking site, you have to disclose your personal information to be accepted. Once you become an active member of the site, they delve into who you are and what you like. They find out about your habits, your browsing history, where you want to go, what you like to eat and who you interact with the most. You get unsolicited messages from strangers and pokes from long lost acquaintances. In what real-life world is poking someone okay? It’s not. But it’s just online. You don’t feel it.

Stalking on Social Media

Putting all of your information on the Internet means that anyone can have access to you. Even though most people have the decency to respect your privacy, unfortunately, criminals may use this information to their advantage.

Pictures of your home, your children or your place of work may give burglars and other perpetrators a heads up of your possessions. Also, ‘checking in’ to venues and events could alert these predators that you are not at home and that your property, family and belongings are unattended.

Be careful of what you share online.

iER

The iER app is a free emergency application that can be downloaded on any smartphone or tablet. It gives the user peace of mind by offering a no-cost solution for emergencies. The App is a panic button that can be used in a variety of situations to ensure that the proper response team is sent to the scene of an emergency or crime. It is a one-click solution available to everyone. 

There is no membership fee to make use of the iER application, although data or a Wi-Fi connection is required. Anyone who has the App, which can be downloaded from all app stores, can make use of the emergency response facilities. This is because the App was designed to be accessible.