Social Media and You: Information for Users

1realistutopian By 1realistutopian, 19th Aug 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Web>Social Networks

While the list of benefits of the internet and social networking utilities cannot be disputed, there are some very real dangers that vulnerable people can fall victim to, particularly with reference to the phenomenal increase in social media use and online dating sites.

Tools of the Trade

Tools are invented to solve a problem or make life easier in some specific way. The human race has been developing and inventing ingenious methods to revolutionize their lives for centuries. The internet is arguably the most spectacular of all technological advances of our era, and teams have been working to develop it further ever since its humble origins in the late 1950’s. Today, it is a tool for all generations with a multitude of purposes. The plethora of information in cyberspace provides students, researchers and lay inquirers instant knowledge on any topic you can think of. Shoppers can deplete their credit card balance without leaving the confines of their homes, and writers find an expanded audience through social media opportunities which have annihilated distance boundaries, effectively bringing people across the globe together.

Too Good To Be True?

Whether a webcam is used or not, it is impossible to tell if the person you are communicating with is genuine and who they actually claim to be. Social cues that we unconsciously use in face-to-face interaction are evolutionary survival skills. They are designed to judge a persons’ character and truthfulness, but are absent in online interactions. Some of these cues include making eye contact, interpreting facial expressions, tone of voice, posture, and many other mannerisms that we take for granted.

Believing everything someone writes in a chat box, email, or even micro-message is usually a mistake. Unless you know your confidante personally, there is absolutely no way of knowing what they are telling you about themselves is truthful. Don’t we all like to tell people the good things about ourselves and try to avoid discussing the unattractive elements of our personality? Few people brag about their intentions, even fewer will discuss criminal motivations for contacting you.

Predators will exaggerate their good qualities and may present themselves as pillars of their community. They are intelligent, charismatic and look no different to anyone else you might meet on the street. There is no identifiable physical trait that separates them from the rest of the population but they are very skilled at manipulation.

Who is most at risk?


To put it simply, everyone. That is anyone who uses social media, whether for the purpose of finding a mate or just socializing and keeping in touch with friends and family.

Children should certainly be monitored if they have access to instant messaging clients, Facebook, Twitter and other networks. If your child has an account, it might be a good idea to make sure you have the passwords for the sites they use, so a periodic check on the users they connect with can be done. Not all of what is posted on some of the popular networks is visible to all friends. So, just being added to the friends list is not enough. They will most likely be utilizing private messages too!

Women are another primary target. Women with children they may be more vulnerable than most. It’s uplifting for anyone to feel that someone has a romantic interest in them, and it’s exciting when their knight-in-shining-armor miraculously appears in their life, in all his grandeur. It’s time to stop believing in fairy tales, ladies!

Let’s not forget the men; they are not always the perpetrator in this cat-and-mouse-game. There are women out there who target men too. Before someone is targeted, don’t give yourself any delusions on this, they are thoroughly researched. When someone has a purpose, they choose their victims carefully.

So, although we don't dispute that the internet is a wonderful resource, do not assume everyone is using it for good intentions.

Anything posted in cyberspace is permanent, and a skilled researcher can find the information they need. The things we post, publish, share, tells the person reading it a lot of information about us. Unsuspecting users can very easily be targeted for identity fraud, all it takes is one smart, tech savvy greedy manipulator to empty your bank account. But we don't have to worry about just one...they are an army!

Be Safe, Not Sorry!

Don’t be put off socializing online! I have many friends who have met people, and eventually married, and their first interaction was through online networking sites. Just know that if someone seems too good to be true, trust your instincts and block their communications. Ignoring someone online that you do not know is not rude, and does not make you a bad person.

Remember: There are many reasons a person will be deliberately targeted, sometimes for sex, sometimes for a relationship, sometimes because they are genuinely interested in you.

Trusting someone before you "know" them can be a fast track route to victimization. Don't give someone an opportunity to control and abuse you. When we consider the global expanse of the internet, and the amount of users online at any one time, it would be foolish to think that every single being using this wonderful technology has good intentions.


Be safe!

Tags

Inform, Information For New Users, Information Technology, Internet, Social Media, Social Networking Websites, Warnings, Warnings Signs, Web, Website

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author avatar 1realistutopian
Writing poetry, women's issues, education, about being a mom, and opinion.

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Comments

author avatar jkalwaye
19th Aug 2012 (#)

very useful guidelines .thank you for sharing .bye bye .jk

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author avatar Denise O
19th Aug 2012 (#)

Some good common sense. I have two kids (they are 27 & 29) and our computer was in the family room, for all to see. You really must keep an eye on them. It is so hard to trust folks online, I can only imagine how it must be dating online. I am so glad I do not have to be in that situation. Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar Md Rezaul Karim
17th Sep 2012 (#)

Well written and good sense of information. Thanks.

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