The Hard Truths about Social Media
As one of the most connected nation in the world, with access to the internet almost everywhere we go, it is no surprise that Singaporeans are avid users of social media. A study done by the IDA found that about 97% of Singaporean youth aged (15-25) used social media actively. By extension, teenagers are spending an increasing amount of their time on social media websites and platforms, causing socialization to shift increasingly towards the virtual world and away from more direct forms of interaction.
As teenagers spend more and more of their life on social media, over-exposure of yourself and your personal private life on various online platforms might occur. As such, familiarization with the do’s and don’ts of social media becomes vitally important.
What you say online has real world implications
User of social media should bear in mind that whatever goes online is no longer exclusively your property. Many a times things posted online cannot be taken back, and you no longer have sole control over what is done with it. The idea of “online privacy” is only as reliable as one’s relationship with other users. You have no more absolute control over whether your information remains private, creating little guarantee that your online information will ever be kept secret.
The reality is that the choices you make online – what you post and share – can have real-world implications and outcomes. For example, imagine if you got accepted by one of the most prestigious universities in the world, only to get your offer rescinded because you shared something offensive online! That is exactly what happened to 10 students when Harvard University found out that they had shared offensive images within what they thought was a private group chat in June 2017.
Your online profiles might give you unwanted attention
Furthermore, social media profiles on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are all pieces of a puzzle that form a complete picture of who you are, where you go, your likes and dislikes. Placing so much information of yourself online exposes you to many dangers ranging from identity theft and cyber stalking.
Hard to judge authenticity on social media
Many times, what we see on social media may be an inaccurate representation of reality, or of someone. That influencer we looked up to and aspired to be life, might not actually be living that life that he or she is portraying. For example, Essena O’Neill, an Instagram influencer with more than 600,00 followers, revealed that many of the products that she was using and showing to her followers were in fact paid advertisements, and that her glamorous, spontaneous looking photos were actually carefully curated and taken. She remarked that “I (had) created an image of myself that I think others feel is unattainable, others look to as a role model, others look at as some type of ‘perfect human’.”