There was a time when social media and instant messaging services did not even exist. But today it has become almost unfeasible to imagine and live a life without these computer-mediated technologies. Facebook alone has more than 1 billion active users across the world and the figure is on a continuous rise. The perks of these social networking platforms are irrefutable as they provide a gateway to get introduced with the rest of the world but it is not without pitfalls. This article discusses the loopholes of social media and instant messaging apps in the modern world.
Illusion of Privacy:
Snapchat is getting tremendously popular amongst teens. The photo-sharing app claims to provide privacy to its users not saving and storing user data. The messages exchanged via Snapchat get automatically deleted 10 seconds after being viewed by the recipient which makes the Snapchatters feel secure sharing personal information. Though it sounds good it is not the way many assume it to be. A simple screenshot lets the user store and distributes Snapchat messages putting down the privacy claim of the app. Likewise, Snapchat, Facebook, and other social media apps delude users into the belief that they can have the privacy that does not exist in the online world at all.
Lack of Age Verification Process:
The minimum age on WhatsApp is 16, on Vine, it is 17, and on Kik and WeChat it is above 17. The Facebook and Twitter services are not intended for persons under 13. Still, a majority of underage children are getting their hands on the dangerous social media and Instant messaging apps. This is because the social media services have failed to create a reliable age verification mechanism. Also, the absence of age verification has made it convenient for the pedophiles and molesters to hide their identities and victimize adolescents.
Insane Social Media Contests:
Social media has become a platform for freaky contests. From the popular Ice Bucket Challenge to the recent Blue Whale Game Challenge, the social media has been facilitating hosting insanely dangerous challenges making the post-millennials lose their minds. The teens are being encouraged to jump from high buildings, carving their body with razors and putting their lives to end.
Sexting and Pornography:
The social networking and IM apps like Snapchat and Telegram encourage sexting and sharing explicit content. The self-destructive messages tempt users to share inappropriate photos and texts. According to a nationwide survey, almost 20 percent of teenagers practice sexting on social media and IM apps. Similar to sexting, the photo and video sharing apps like Instagram and Vine host explicit and adult-oriented content. There is no simple way to filter content to avoid exposure to pornography.
You might be familiar with school bullying, it is time to get introduced with the social media bullying that includes posting photos, videos, status and comments to make fun of someone, sending threatening messages and hacking or imitating someone’s social media account. The persistent online bullying can have a worse impact than the physical bullying causing depression and damaging self-esteem and social skills. It can even cause suicide in case an emotionally sensitive victim does not find support and fails to deal with bullies.
Online Child Predators:
The online child predators are the adult social media users who victimize teens and underage children for sexual and abusive purposes. They first find their target; get acquainted with their likes and dislikes from their social media profiles and lure them by showing attention and courtesy. When the target gets attached and caught into their trap, they exploit them for their intended purposes. While social media facilitate scoundrels getting familiar with the habits and likings of the target, the IM apps help to communicate with them and have audio video chats.
Social Media Jealousy:
The social media obsession makes people share almost all of their happenings to get them acknowledged such as what they do, where they go, what they eat, what they shop, what they give and what they receive. Meanwhile, there remains a battle for getting more likes, comments, friends, and followers. Those who succeed in getting maximum likes and positive feedback win the battle. This creates jealousy among those who do not have much to flaunt. The jealousy sometimes leads to depression and dissatisfaction towards someone’s way of living.
The Bottom Line:
The children and teenagers who remain unsupervised by their parents are more probable to be a victim of the meanness of Social Media and Instant Messengers. It is recommended for the parents to use Parental Control Software to monitor the social media activities of their family and limit their exposure to explicit content prevailing on the internet. Get yourself and your children learned about the social media menaces and the ways to recognize and combat online predators and bullies.