People have viewed social media as a great way of expressing themselves, connecting with friends, and making life easier. Social media has become an outlet for our emotions, but is it really that simple or does it go farther than that?
Though there are a lot of advantages to using different social media, there are also disadvantages. Keeping up with friends and fads doesn’t only bring joy, but it may also cause trouble for users. It is not all fun and games anymore. Jobs are sometimes at stake, sometimes even a person’s dignity, or even a life just because of a social media post.
We often hear instances of cyber bullying that has led to suicide. The one who gets bullied often receives messages online that insult their appearance, intelligence, or both. Sometimes there are taunts about ending their lives or about being saddened that they are still living. Logging on could be difficult for those bullied, but at the same time, they cannot turn their backs on the lure of this addictive medium. The cyber bully victims have no choice but to check their pages once in a while. They have to look at the messages they receive and see for themselves what has been written about them.
Social media has made people addicted to other people’s perceptions of them. Reading these negative messages that appear on Facebook, Twitter, Ask.fm, and other social networking sites torment the recipient. It is not physical assault that occurs in this case, but the mental and psychological assault, which could hurt just as much, if not more.
People are so dependent on the Internet that they are not aware that it ruins some people’s lives. A mere speculation or rumor could destroy your hard-earned reputation, and the consequences can be huge – from a job to a life. Making irresponsible updates about clients, bosses, and colleagues could be fatal. You may have heard tales of prospective bosses turning down job applicants because of pictures they saw on Facebook. Those who love drinking and partying may have difficulty finding a suitable job if they are fond of posting their activities on social networking sites.
And who could forget the OB-GYN in St. Louis who complained on Twitter about a patient who couldn’t be on time for an appointment. She suffered the consequences of her actions by receiving a lot of complaints online. She was even called unprofessional by some. This doctor may have just been venting her frustrations, but the problem was that it was not the right medium for it. Her words may even ruin her reputation as a reliable and trustworthy doctor since she can’t keep her client’s privacy. She may get fired, lose her current patients, and be unable to obtain future ones as well.
Infidelity can also be a danger when you use social media. You can easily pretend to be single without attachments since it is very easy to invent an identity online. There are cases of cheating online all over the world, not just in the United States. Often, divorces are filed because of messages found on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and other social networking sites. Some inappropriate messages sent by people to the opposite sex have been used as evidence of cheating that leads to separation and divorce.
Youngsters can also get into trouble with their schools because of social media. There are some instances when students get into hot water because of suggestive pictures they have posted online. The said pictures may be against a student’s code of conduct and even the school’s policy. Students can get kicked out of school because of these incidences.
Posting full information may also be dangerous for impressionable minds. They may be persuaded to do certain tasks that could be used against them. An example is the case of Canadian Amanda Todd, who was harassed online because of her nude photo. She was persuaded to pose topless when she was very young. She suffered from that mistake and was stalked even when she transferred schools a number of times. Every time she transfers schools, the administrator and her classmates found out about what she did, which led to cyber bullying that cost her life.
These are just some of the dangers you might face using social media. Since this medium is here to stay, it would be better to protect yourself from it. It always pays to be careful. It would be better not to provide private information about yourself like phone numbers or addresses to strangers. This information is supposed to be private and thus, should be kept private. You also need to choose the messages and pictures you post online. Could the messages hunt you in the future? Are they helpful or could they ruin your life?
It has been said that if you do not have anything good to say, just keep quiet or better yet, not tweet or post about it. It also pays to set some messages in private mode. It would be better for only family and friends to see your posts since they would understand better and not judge you. There are a number of ways to protect yourself when using any social media, but in the end, it really pays to be smart in establishing your online presence.