With apps and technology making a way in education, one can't emphasise the concerns relating to the harms that come with it.
Social media has become an integral part of our lives, and as per researches, it is estimated that students tend to spend at least an hour using social media every day. It is emerging as the standard form of connecting with peers, making new friends, and seeing the world through it. Students, especially teens, are increasingly interested in making friends over social media and look at it as one of the critical components of their social lives.
Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are highly used to stay in touch with peers, make new friends, and share everyday life updates and more. While healthy social media interaction can help students be intelligent communicators, have better networks and gain social skills, it can also pose a threat to the privacy and security of the students.
Here are a few tips that you can practice to keep students safe on social media.
Educate students to be watchful of the people they connect with. Apart from friends, family and acquaintances, students may want to communicate with other people, expand their network or make new friends. There's no harm in it, but one must proceed with caution. Educate students to confirm the account's authenticity, and if they aren't convinced of it, they must verify it. Parents and educators can discuss this with students and ensure they're connected with genuine people. Many users set up fake accounts to harm the image of the person they pretend to. Fake accounts can equally harm the connections they make. It is advisable to have scan one's connections every once in a while to detect questionable profiles and delete them.
Utilise the Privacy Settings
Social Media platforms offer the flexibility to adjust your profile and its privacy settings. A public profile could largely benefit organisations or a public figure; however, students must check the privacy settings and keep their profile and information private. This would limit the information accessible to people who aren't a part of students' social networks. all the social media platforms offer a comprehensive option of privacy settings. One can use it to prevent unauthorised access and manage access to their pictures, posts, or other information they share. Students can speak to their parents or educator before creating an account on any new social media platform and ensure they are safe on that platform. Educators can ask for their parent's permission, especially for teens.
Reflect Before You Share
Students must be well aware of the consequences they may land up in if they are reckless with their information sharing. Navigating through social media, it is easy to land up on web pages that ask you to share your personal information to access what you were seeking in the first place. Stop there and reflect on what data is asked and how it can affect your privacy. Often, financial details like credit card details or digital payment information are asked. If that falls into the wrong hands, you may end up losing money or even compromising your bank accounts.
Students must be equally vigilant about sharing posts and pictures. Students must not indulge in posting strong opinions or sharing any derogatory remarks against a public figure or community. Be sure to think twice before posting anything on social media because you wouldn't want attention for the wrong reasons.
Block Unfriendly Connections
While social media offers you the opportunity to expand your network and connect with people globally, one can't be sure about their credibility. Students may come across unfriendly connections multiple times. Students must block people with questionable online behaviour to protect themselves from harassment, stalking, or unwanted connections.
It's inevitable to keep students off social media; moreover, it would be unjust to hold them back for something that can help them be more confident, explore greater opportunities and help them grow as individuals. However, ensuring their safety in the digital world is still in our hands. As parents and educators, it is recommended that you use the security and privacy settings on every social media website and ensure that there are ground rules to use social media and children adhere to them.
Also, do share your practices on protecting Student Privacy on Social Media in the comments section below.