With technology growing and becoming increasingly advanced, more people are entering the world of social media and using social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to post information and consistent status’ about what they get up to each day, almost like an online journal, open to the public to read. What people are not realising is that these social networking sites are not as private people may like them to be. Each social networking site lets you set your settings to private so that only people you know can read your information and look at your photo’s, however the big question is do you really know everyone that you have added as a “friend” on Facebook or have as a “follower” on Twitter?
It is so easy to make a profile on any social networking site, all you need is an email address and a name. It is also easy for someone to steal your identity through social networking sites as they can easily access your information such as your name, your gender and your age and they can also save any images that you may of uploaded. Unless you have your profile set to private almost anyone can look at your profile and your information. Those that have their profile set to private will still have people being able to look at their profile such as “friends” but do you really know who your friends are? First of all lots of people just accept anyone as their friend to make them look popular and then there may be times where you accept someone you think you know, but how do you know it is actually them on the other side and not just someone who has created a false profile? You have to be so careful with privacy on social networking sites and make sure that you are only accepting friend requests from people that you actually know. Don’t give out too much information such as your home address and phone number and also keep your date of birth private as this will help prevent identity theft. If you need to give out any personal information then do so in a private message and make sure that you are only sending it to someone that you know is 100% them on the other side.
Social networking sites can pose as large threats towards any job application and even the job that you are currently employed in. Employers keep a close eye on employees social networking sites and will always catch people out if the job is being bad mouthed about through social media or if other employees are being virtually bullied online. If you are applying for a job and an employer see’s something on your social networking site that they don’t agree with or they feel is abusive, then your application will be automatically denied.
Virtual bullying is a big thing at the moment and people will be too scared and frightened to say anything about it. Virtual bullying happens a lot on social networking sites as they are so public that the person being bullied can be humiliated in front of their friends as well as the bully’s friends. Unfortunately, most of the time, the victim will shy away and let it happen. The only thing they can do is report it to the social networking site, block the bully from their profile and delete any comments that have been made, but at this point it is usually too late as the damage has been done.
Social networking sites make everything in life so instantaneous, especially as most people will have their profile on an App on their smart phone so that they can stay constantly logged in. Lots of news comes through social media before news sites now, so that we can read updates as they happen. This can sometimes be harmful to those who may not wish to see this sort of news or they may find it offensive and upsetting.
As good as social networking can be, you just have to be aware that are many disadvantages of social media and that there are people out there that will take information from you and use it to their advantage for identity theft for example. Make sure that the only people you share information to is your friends and also make sure that your profile is set to private as this will help protect your information.