Social Media Misuse – Meaning And Tips To Preventing Social Media Misuse
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Social media is using tablets, mobiles, or computers to share information and communicate with others.
This has become an integral part of modern society, allowing people to socialize and connect through websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. However, social media can positively and negatively affect society, and its misuse can lead to harmful consequences.
Social media is often misused despite being an effective communication tool for businesses and customers. This article will explore some of the ways in which social media can be misused.
Then what exactly is Social media misuse?
Social media misuse refers to the inappropriate use of social media platforms. This can include cyberbullying, spreading false information, harassment, stalking, sharing inappropriate content, and engaging in hate speech.
Social media misuse can have severe consequences, such as damaging an individual’s reputation, causing emotional harm, and even leading to legal action. Using social media platforms responsibly and respecting other users is essential to avoid misuse.
Social media companies also have a role in preventing misuse by providing tools to report and remove inappropriate content and behaviour.
Social Media Misuse Consequences
When social media is misused, it leads to sexual harassment, criminal offence, employment obligations breach, unlawful discernment, misconduct, violation of students, etc. These are a lot of illegal and serious activities due to social media misuse.
1. Child Pornography
The act of creating, printing, obtaining, or having child pornography is illegal according to the 1958 criminal act. Child pornography refers to any publication, photo, computer game, or film that depicts sexual activity involving someone under the age of 18.
It is also considered a criminal offence to solicit or invite anyone under 18 to engage in sexual activity. These laws were created to protect minors from predatory behaviour by adults.
However, with the advent of social media, young people are now engaging in sexting, which can be risky and potentially harmful.
According to the Crimes Act of 1958, stalking is considered a criminal act that involves an individual engaging in a repeated pattern of behaviour with the intention of causing physical or mental harm to the victim.
This can include various actions such as contacting the victim through electronic means, following them, posting harmful material about them online, hacking their computer, sending offensive material to them, or monitoring their activities.
3. Privacy loss
Social media networking websites pose a significant threat to individual privacy in the present times. These websites typically require users to provide personal information, which can be easily accessed by people worldwide. Although privacy settings are available, many users either lack knowledge or do not pay attention to the details.
It is crucial to remember that the internet creates a digital footprint, and once information is posted, it cannot be entirely erased like on regular paper. Therefore, users must be cautious before uploading pictures or other profile content.
A survey revealed that approximately 39% of British teenagers regretted their posts later. This is because digital footprints left behind by individuals can potentially harm them in the future.
4. Time Depletion
Social media networking is a major drawback for students as it consumes much time and is highly addictive. Time is a valuable resource that can be utilized for accomplishing productive tasks.
According to the Digital Entertainment Survey conducted in Great Britain in 2008, almost one-third of students between the ages of 15 and 19 spend less time on homework and more time on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others.
In addition to homework, students can engage in physical activities and other constructive pursuits. However, young people spend an hour daily on social media, squandering their time.
5. Lack Of Social Skill Development
Another negative aspect of social media networking is that it can hinder the development of social skills. Students tend to prefer communicating online rather than through face-to-face interactions. This means important social skills, such as effective communication, are not practised and developed.
Additionally, some individuals may even use social media as a substitute for real-life experiences, such as marriage or other significant life events. This can lead to an addiction to the internet and a disconnection from real-life interactions.
Furthermore, some people may use social media to engage in behaviours that are not possible or appropriate in real life, which can further exacerbate their addiction to social media.
Cyberbullying refers to using technology, such as the internet, to harm or harass others. Social media networking is often the platform used for such behaviour, as it is easy and quick to spread rumours, post embarrassing photos, make negative comments, or send inappropriate messages.
A recent study on British teenagers found that approximately 37% of them create social media profiles for the purpose of pranking their peers, and some even engage in hacking and sending abusive messages.
Tips To Prevent Social Media Misuse
Social media is gaining popularity as a medium for communication. Though there are many beneficial aspects, teenagers and individuals misuse social media. Let’s glance through a few tips about how to prevent social media misuse.
- Teenagers and kids can be advised to avoid unnecessary chatting, gossiping, and bullying, posting messages on social media. Such activities that spoil others’ reputations can be prevented.
- It would be good to advise kids and teenagers to avoid accepting friend requests from unknown people and those who don’t reveal their identity.
- Teach your kids that social media sites are public sites and not meant for personal use. In this way, the kids should have a piece of good knowledge about what must be shared and posted on a friend’s wall. Also, teach the kids about the consequences that take place if personal messages and photos are posted on social media.
- It would be good to have sound knowledge about the security features of social media so that inappropriate content can be avoided.
- A profile can be created on the site where your child is also a member. In this way, your child’s social media activity can be monitored. You can navigate your child correctly and help them learn new things in the digital world.
- Teach your children about digital reputation. As youngsters post videos and pictures or upload anything, they must remember that digital footprints are left behind. Marketing people or employers can gather such details and use them in the future in several ways. It is important to discuss with your dear ones about posting personal images and pictures and their consequences.
- A family media plan can be created to manage social media so that every teen can be monitored. Draft a plan with healthy technology use habits along with your children.
- Advise them not to use technology for long hours and close to bedtime. The sleep quality is disturbed, and the negative impact is sure when technology is used during sleep hours.
Social media websites have a higher potential to be misused than other tools. The impact of social media largely depends on how individuals use it. Due to its significant role in the lives of teenagers and children, social media must be used appropriately.
Therefore, parents are responsible for turning social media into a beneficial and educational platform for youngsters. They should educate their children about the rules and proper usage of social media while teaching them about the negative impacts and how to avoid misuse.
Although there are many ways to misuse social media, individuals should focus on positive uses, make proper use of social media, and achieve success.