|Dangers of social media|
|Written by The Vidette Editorial Board|
|Tuesday, 26 February 2013 12:00|
Social media is everywhere we look. It seems almost everybody we come in contact with on a daily basis has some sort of social media they use in order to keep in contact with friends and family. People “stay connected” by posting statuses, tweets, pictures and personal information that numerous people, including strangers, can access without difficulty.
Privacy settings may prevent certain groups of people from accessing one’s information, but his/her information is still floating around the Internet for somebody to view. Privacy settings do not prevent hackers and identity thieves from accessing your information.
While social media has its benefits, the dangers of it are often ignored.
According to Identitytheft.info, identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America, “show[ing] more than 15 million victims a year and over $50 billion in damages.” The main cause of the rise in identity theft is the prevalence social media has in today’s society.
Many people use social media as a “safe haven” for their personal information, and they do not realize how unsecured the Internet is if the necessary precautions are not taken. Information such as personal phone numbers and addresses should be left off social media pages to prevent kidnapping and identity theft. According to the Huffington Post, sex trafficking rings have used Facebook in Indonesia in order to “recruit” new girls.
These men would send out friend requests to possible “employees,” and these girls would accept the friend request because they wanted more Facebook friends. The men would access the girls’ personal information and kidnap them, forcing them into sex trafficking.
This Editorial Board believes people should be more educated on the dangers and repercussions of social media use.
Although danger is present when using social media, social media can be beneficial to the user. Social media can help students right out of college become recognized among potential employers. But it all depends on the contents of the student’s Facebook page. If a student’s Facebook page portrays a successful, hard-working individual, an employer might be impressed and set up an interview with the potential employee. But if the student’s page contains 1,000 drunken group photos at random college house parties, then social media can be extremely detrimental to that student’s future.
It works both ways.
Along with information being easily accessible to the public, once information is posted onto the Internet, it can never be deleted. Sure, you might “delete” a photo, status or tweet, but the information is still stored away, allowing it to still be accessed. Facebook, for example, allows its users to deactivate their Facebook at any given time. But, once it is deactivated, the information is stored, not deleted. Reactivating Facebook is as easy as signing back in, and all previously-posted information is brought back to the surface.
Why do social media websites not allow its users to delete their information? What do they need it for? Will this information haunt us in the future? To be honest, it is a little scary.
Googling yourself is a great way to gauge your presence on the Internet. Googling yourself can serve as a good wake up call to change, and then monitor, what you put on the Internet.
The Internet may seem safe, but if somebody is not careful, it can be a dangerous place.