OPINION: Social Media – Think Twice

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OPINION: Social Media – Think Twice

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Posts, tweets, comments, likes, favorites, pins, re-tweets, re-posts, and the list goes on.

snip of twitter

Social media can be useful.  It comes in handy communicating with relatives. Twenty years ago, you would have to print out photos and send them in the mail to grandma and grandpa.  Social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram have replaced the mail; long distance family and friends are now only a few clicks away.

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Facebook has an added benefit for events. Rather than sending a large email, you can simply create a Facebook event and invite people in that way.

Social media outlets, such as Twitter, are also useful for real world matters. Journalists use it for breaking news.  With hashtags being used to display messages on a certain topic, Twitter is used more than ever now. Finding tweets from specific events is easy to do.

But hold on.

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If you’re about to update your status on Facebook or post a picture on Instagram, think again. Social media can be entertaining and a good way to connect with people, but it has its downsides. That doesn’t mean social media shouldn’t be used, just know what you’re doing.

Here are seven problems of social media, and what you can do about them.

It’s Not Social

If you think that being on social media makes you a social person, think again. As more research is done on social media, people are finding that far from increasing real social activity, social media decreases how much time people socializing in person. It can also cause feelings of loneliness and depression.
What you can do: Go phone your friends or play a game with your family. Social media is no substitute for a real, healthy social life.

It is Permanent

Everything you put on the internet is there forever. Even if you delete something it can still befound. Be aware that future job employers can look at everything you’ve ever done on the internet and that this is a common thing to do before hiring someone.
What you can do: Think about about what you put on the internet before you post it. A good rule of thumb is not to post anything you wouldn’t want your parents to see.

Social Media is Public

Privacy settings can only do so much. Hackers are good at getting into most anything. There is nothing private on the internet.
What you can do: Don’t put anything on social media(even in private or direct messages) that you wouldn’t be okay with anyone seeing.

It Wastes Time

Everyone knows it. All those articles, tweets, and Instagram posts are really not helping us in life. A lot of the time they are distractions to what does matter.
What you can do: Moderate how much you use social media. Set a time limit and a certain number of times you can check social media per day and stick to it.

Cyber-Bullying

Nearly 50% of students say they have been bullied online. Anyone, including homeschoolers, can be cyber-bullied.
What you can do: If you are ever bullied online, tell a parent or someone in authority immediately. Don’t try to handle it on your own.

It Can Lower Your Self-Esteem

Seeing how “perfect” others are over social media can lead people to feel that they are inferior. People then boost their self-esteem by counting up “likes” and “followers,” which leads to discontent when other people have more “friends” than them, which is inevitable.
What you can do: Don’t count how many likes you get or how many followers or friends you have, and definitely don’t compare them with others’. Remember that God “likes” everything about you and that’s worth far more than anything else.

Identity Theft

Many people have their birthday, school, and location as public information on social media. This opens people up to identity theft and other crimes.
What you can do: Talk with your parents before you share any personal information online, including your birthday and where you live.

So, social media? It has its  bad points. However, with precaution, wisdom, and moderation, it can be fun, entertaining, and safe. All right, go ahead and update your status or post that picture now. You’re ready.

Sources: Social Networking Pros and Cons

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