Social media is one of the greatest movements of our generation. The ability to stay connected to family, friends or business associates is easy. Documenting your adventures in life allows you to easily keep fun and accurate records of your life. Social media is like an online journal. However, with all the benefits associated with social media, there is a dark side. Here are a few things that I have learned in regards to the dark side of social media.
1. No secrets
Once you or your child puts something on the Internet it will most likely be accessible forever. I feel thankful every day that social media was not around when I was a teenager. How embarrassing! Though you can do your best to control your online image, you cannot control what others write or say about you. Whether it is true or not, anyone can post whatever they want about you or your family.
I’ve also discovered that some people, particularly teenagers, have a completely different persona online than they do around their family. You might be surprised to discover a side of one of your family members that you did not know existed. Be aware of all of the social media accounts that your family members have. Occasionally check up on their online self. Don’t forget to be a digital parent as well; providing guidance to your family if they are going down a dangerous road.
2. Wasted time
Games, apps and mindless entertainment abound on all social media outlets. If you are not careful, you can get sucked into the latest time wasting black hole. The Time Thief is constantly looking for ways to get the upper hand. One way to judge if you should involve yourself or not is by asking, “Does the time I put into this produce any lasting benefits to me or my family?” If the answer is no, beware how much time you allow this activity to consume. You get good at what you practice. If you want to be known for your Candy Crush skills, by all means go for it. Just know that there is a whole world of things to learn and experience outside of the Candy Crush Saga. Try choosing activities that strengthen your character, enlighten you or that bring your family closer together.
3. Exposure to pornography
This might shock you, but it is important for you to know. Pornography runs deep through social media. I recently conducted a search on twitter using an extremely innocent word in an attempt to discover family-oriented bloggers. I was shocked to discover that my innocent search revealed pornographic images. Do not pretend that pornography is difficult for you or your children to find. I am sure that it can be discovered on any social media site, intentionally or unintentionally. Internet filters will not protect you or your family. The best filter that you can have is yourself. Do not be afraid to discuss the dangers of pornography openly with your family members. It is critical we understand that pornography exists in places that all of us frequent.
I hope that the dark side of social media does not discourage you. For all the evil that exists, there is an abundance of good. Please just remember that there are no secrets with social media. There will always be a myriad of things competing for your attention. Give your time only to those things that will enrich your life. Finally, develop a system in your family to win the battle with pornography and your online experience will be a blessing.