With technology fast advancing every single day, many teenagers in the UK have turned to social media sites for connections with their friends so they can share information. Many teenagers who have access to mobile devices such as Smartphones, iPads, Mac and laptop computers have access to the internet and subsequently they get into social networking sites which are usually free to join and do not have an age limit.
This shows how important it is for the teenagers to be educated and informed about their security and relevance while using social media platforms.
Pros of social networking sites
- A major benefit that teenagers get from these social networking sites is the establishing of connections with their friends. This allows the teenagers to expand their networking capabilities.
- Ssocial media platforms also help teenagers to inform their friends about happenings in their lives.
- The sites also enable teenagers to communicate with friends and express themselves regarding the situations they face in their daily lives.
- Social media platforms have also provided a cheaper way of staying connected with family and friends over long distances.
- Social media platforms have also provided a private means by which teenagers use to communicate with friends.
Cons of social networking sites
- Teenagers are usually influenced by what their mates are doing. This has led many teenagers to traps by engaging in risky activities on the internet.
- Social media platforms also provide an easy means by which teenagers can be bullied, humiliated, stalked and even lured into traps.
- Teenagers who like posting their photos, videos and personal information may open routes for external target and harm.
- Teenagers who are not able to access these social networking sites often develop a low self-esteem because they feel their mates ate more informed than them.
- Also the comments posted on the sites may portray a negative image of the teenager and this can affect their job prospects in future.
The role of parents
- Parents should encourage their children to connect with people who are known to them only.
- They should engage in discussions about safety precautions that should be taken while online.
- The parents should also discourage their children from going to “blind” dates especially with people they have only met on the internet.
- Parents should also teach their children on the importance of updating their privacy settings in order to keep system hackers at bay.
- Teenagers should also be encouraged to inform people of their itinerary using social sites.
Finally, both teenagers and their parents should know the opportunities that social networking sites present and how best they can exploit them. Privacy settings are a feature that cannot be ignored when displaying one’s personal information anywhere on the internet. Therefore teenagers should properly understand the implications of not updating their privacy settings. In the event of a child is contacted by a person who claims to own an online company that offers services such as employment among others, the United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) should be contacted for verification. Ukba helps to prevent online criminals from taking advantage of unsuspecting internet users.