- While sharing pics on the internet, we go crazy, how safe is that? The teens are even more non-committal about sharing.
Most digital natives revel in the ability to instantly share all information, and they appreciate the ability to connect with a maximum number of people online with ease and at one-go. As such it is likely that they go overboard sharing their lives with their family and friends on social media platforms. Moreover, social media platforms like Instagram have become a craze with new mothers, foodies, amateur photographers, and adventure-lovers alike, by clicking and sharing personal information, often being unmindful of the long-term consequences of their actions.
As long as it is a generic photograph of scenery, a pet or a project, it is okay to share with like-minded groups and enjoy the interactions. But these are open platforms that can be viewed by all. So a post of children and their activities can attract all sorts of attention-not all of them positive. There are platforms where teens upload pictures to get rated and then suffer from depression if they receive a lot of negative responses.
Many kids are reticent but for those that are not, I believe that the adults need to set an example in this respect. If they do desire to share all their family photos, they need to have a separate account with select friends who will neither share nor download their content. Better still, create albums and share links with only those you want to. It is unsafe to share pictures of kids openly, considering the number of cyber criminals online. Same goes for teen parties because colleges and companies often check online profiles of probable candidates. Similarly, if they post a picture of their family going off on a vacation, you are likely offering an open invitation to burglars in your absence.
Sometimes, images and videos go viral and can become matter for cyberbullying. So one has to be cautious about what one shares online.
- Parents need to still get accustomed to Twitter whereas teens are far more active. With teens sharing pictures and personal life updates, how safe is this?
Parents should ensure that there some ground rules are set for teens signing up on any social media platform, including Twitter. They need to keep privacy settings at maximum and control who they would like to friend. Further, parents should ensure that their kids follow simple cyber etiquette like being diplomatic, restrained and polite. Further, they should ensure that kids are educated against stalking or spamming celebrities.
Twitter is a wonderful way to get real-time news, connect with new people and broaden horizons. But teens have to remember they will be responsible for whatever they post. If their posts attract negative attention and trolls, they might face a lot of flak and abuse. Inflammatory and abusive content might attract legal consequences. If they share pictures, there can be another set of consequences, and they need to be prepared for that, including derisive comments. Moreover, pictures can be retweeted and they may attract all kinds of unwanted attention. Also, they shouldn’t trust everyone or everything they see on Twitter. Fact verification is a must. They also need to keep in mind that anything that is in public domain can be recovered from taking screenshots of the original post, even after they delete it on their own page. So teens signing up for Twitter must remember that safety is in their own hands and act accordingly.
- A lot of people check in at the location they are at. How safe is this?
It all depends on how much of your private life you would like to make public. There are apps (like Swarm- Foursquare etc) that allow people to track/check who is in their vicinity and a teen’s location wouldn’t be safe if it shows up on a stranger’s search without the kid’s approval. Additionally, strangers who follow you online could get an opportunity to connect in person if they happen to be nearby. Given this reason, I think it’s scary to use applications to share your exact location with the online world, especially if you are alone. To avoid this, teens should not check in at locations randomly and keep their phone’s location-based service switched off.
These were some major concerns we had and could think of, I am sure as parents you have a lot more questions, and I am sure after this post you have a few up your sleeve, so do let us know and if possible we might ask Anindita to answer those as well.