Social Media – The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly
This is blog three of three, a continuing review of Social Media and it’s affects on society. In my last blog, ”Social Media – The Bad” affects were considered including hindering personal relationships, developing poor grammar habits, overwhelming selection, difficult learning curve, and time consuming. Unfortunately, there are even worse outcomes of social media use which I will consider in “Social Media – The Ugly”.
Social Media – The Ugly
Lack of Privacy
Many social media networking sites such as Facebook and Linked In lack privacy. A person may intend for only friends to see their pictures, comments and personal information, it can easily be accessed and made public. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of how public their information is or how to move around the website to block their information. As a result people have lost jobs their jobs because of compromising photos of unprofessional conduct “11 Brutal Reminders that You Can and Will Get Fired For”.
Additionally, comments can be held against you, and personal information can be accessed to find you. Houses have been robbed after vacation timelines were posted or similar personal information carelessly revealed, “Picture of Money on FaceBook Lures Robbers”
Social media privacy can be summed up with the Miranda Warning… “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say (or do) can be used against you…” For tips on how to increase your privacy settings, see “Basic Privacy Settings for FaceBook” .
Social media bullying has become a source of extreme social pressure especially amongst our youth. Unfortunately, this was the case for our daughter only 1 month ago. Her classroom teacher left a note for the supply teacher with the names of students who had behavioural or academic challenges and their specifics. (It was not written within good political/professional conduct.) The supply teacher carelessly handed it out with some other papers. The student who received it, kept it, and showed his/her friends. The friend took a picture and put it on Snapchat. Within minutes the entire class had the list and could see everyone’s “damning” personal information. This series of careless mistakes and immature decisions resulted in embarrassing and hurtful comments with lasting social repercussions for many young students.
Unfortunately, this type of act can be extended to damaging photos and rumours which get posted and go “viral” over social media causing self-esteem issues leading to depression and suicide. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth age 15-24 years old. Amanda Todd from BC is only one of the many stories of this happening to. Amanda, age 15, committed suicide in 2012 after being blackmailed into exposing her breasts via webcam, being bullied, and physically assaulted. She posted a video on YouTube prior to her death using a series of flashcards to tell her experience.
Social media has become one of the easiest channels for cyber crime. It provides ideal sources to obtain personal information for crimes consisting of identity theft, phishing schemes, fraud, and data mining. In spring 2014 a 19-year-old man was charged for hacking into a Revenue Canada data base resulting in financial vulnerability and possible identity theft for over 900 Canadians, see “Revenue Canada Hacked”
Hatemongering, terrorism, child pornography, and other violent crimes have also learned how to effectively use social media to further their objectives. The convenience, affordability and the broad reach of social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter have allowed these groups to further their goals and/or spread their message. In 2014 an American Journalist was beheaded, videoed, and posted on YouTube as a warning to the American people after air strikes on Iraq. Read his story “CNN – Story of James Foley”
Social Media – Tool or Weapon?
As children, our parents would teach us what was right and what was wrong, what to say or not to say, how to act or not to act. These teachings must extend to the world of social media. Each of us must learn and be mindful about how to use it for good and how to protect ourselves and others from the bad and the ugly. Social media can be a productive and powerful tool. However, in the wrong hands it can be a destructive and powerful weapon.
How are we going to use social media… as a tool or a weapon?