In this time and age of social media, we are overwhelmed with information. We browse through our timelines and see lots of different posts. From news to memes, to status updates and photos of our friends. Indeed, it is crowded out there.
There are times that we feel that social media is becoming to be very toxic. Each post of each network of friends that you have seems to have the same undertones, blurred meanings, and what-not. Worse, we have friends who shares just about anything on our timelines including fake news.
Let us then be one less problem in the online world. It doesn’t mean that we have ‘free speech’ that we should always practice it online. The mere excuse of ‘this is my account so I can say anything I want here’ is just petty and pathetic.
Right now, what we need in the online world – especially in social media – is some responsibility, accountability, and critical thinking. Gone are the days that we can make endless excuses about what we post online. But this doesn’t mean that we are setting up ‘laws’ or ‘rules’ to restrict you.
Here are some guidelines on what not to post in your social media accounts to keep yourself (and others) safe, well-informed, and sensitive to the goings-on in the and out of the online world.
Sensitive or Disturbing Images
Remember those images of close-packed holes or bumps?
To some, it may be fun to share these gross images. But for those suffering with trypophobia, there’s no fun in it at all. This does not only ring true to trypophobic images but to any disturbing images as well. Remember that you’ll never know for far your posts, shares, and likes would reach. You also don’t know what your network’s fears are or what strikes as disgusting, riveting, and just utmost insensitive for them. For all we know, they are about to eat out to their favorite restaurant only to see gory photos!
Another thing that some people find it ‘funny’ in social media lately is sharing scary photos or pranking people to click a link that would lead to a jump-scare GIF or photo. People often do this when it is late at night and they know their friends are about to sleep.
There are people who post and share stuff like these to poke fun or prank other people. Little do they know that it triggers phobias and we know how phobias are linked to mental disorders.
Be sensitive. Always ask yourself if it can harm others – especially emotionally or mentally – before you click that share button. Coz you sure don’t want that to happen to you.
Depressive and Suicidal Undertones
In connection with the previous item, what could be sensitive and disturbing could might as well be depressive or suicidal.
There are a lot of posts (like memes, quotes, etc.) that can trigger depression. While not everyone would like to share something enlightening or encouraging (that of religious or Bible quotes since we practice faith differently), but we might as well not share what could be super depressing.
Another issue that’s going around social media since the birth of live video feeds (i.e. Facebook Live) is using the feature and the platform to broadcast suicide videos.
The most insensitive thing that people did or can do is sharing the video to others or, even worse, downloading them to have their own copy to share.
Not only is it insensitive to the bereaved family, but sharing suicide videos can also trigger suicidal tendencies of other people. Remember, mental health isn’t something you mess with and surely, a suicide video is an obvious trigger to those who might be thinking of the same thing.
Save a life by not sharing the videos, reporting the video so Facebook can take it down, and report others who share the videos. If it is of any help especially if you have a huge network, call out friends or even post a warning and a reminder on your social media account that you are against the sharing of such posts.
Gone were the days when we wanted to really complete our social media profiles; compete with birthdays, addresses, and phone numbers. Right now, more than ever, everyone should be careful in posting and sharing personal information online.
We have learned during the huge Facebook data breach that our online information is being used and sold by social media to different marketing or market-study companies. They want to know who we are and what we want so they would know our buying and decision-making mentality. Creepy, isn’t it?
Let’s not make it too easy for them to target us by not posting too much personal information. When it’s not necessary to make a profile, then don’t fill it out.
Also, if you have seen the recent #10YearChallenge on Facebook (where they ask you to upload your photos of 10 years apart), don’t fall for it. It may be fun to see the transformation and share this to your friends, but this is making it so easy for social media and their data analytics to create face recognition automation in their end.
And if you have the knack of answering those quizzes, it’s time to stop. Never allow any third-party application or website to connect to your social media accounts. If you have done this in the past, check your Apps settings and unlink these apps or sites as much as possible.
Photos and Information of Children/Minors
Parents and the entire family (including relatives) should be sensitive about this somehow and realize that there is an equal amount of danger in posting photos of children as when they upload personal information.
While you, as an adult, already have the discernment to decide on what to post, but these children don’t have a say if they don’t want to have their faces online. Of course, because they are children – especially infants.
Posting your kid’s face on social media makes them a target of kidnapping and (for older children) trafficking and pedophilia. Worse, if you post photos with geotags and their names.
Always remember that any personal information posted online can be used by online predators. Then, you have to realize that this is more dangerous on your children.
As a parent, remind your family members and other relatives and close friends about this. Let them ask your permission, too, should they want to post a photo of your child. Do the same for them and their children.
Geotags and Locations
The “check-in” feature when it was first introduced looked fancy. It’s like you have the very right to brag that you’ve been to places that people don’t always get to be.
However, this feature has become more problematic than it seems at the beginning. Lesson learned: never post anything that shows your location. Doing so will make you an easy bait for robbery or theft or even assault.
This is the same thing with posting your future vacation plans. It’s like giving people an idea how, where, and when to track you down.
Inasmuch as it seems enticing to brag that you are or have been going to places, keeping it low key is much better for your safety.
Embarrassing Photos or Videos
Sometimes, it seems funny to post those old, throwback photos of our awkward teenage phase. Old-fashioned at its best. But sometimes, they can also backfire at you or to a friend.
A little poke of fun from time to time might seem like a good idea. True. But if you post those and even tag friends, it will end up on all your timelines and it could embarrass you both to all your network of friends. It could harm both of your possibilities of future employment, projects, business deals, and (even) relationships.
Save yourself and your friends from embarrassment. Think if what your posting would affect you in some way. This goes with posting photos and videos of your kids. You’ll never know what that post would haunt them in the future and would count as something embarrassing for them.
The Bottomline is…
…think before you click. However cliche that sounds, but in a very predatory online world we are in right now, safety and security should be the top priority. Critical thinking should also be the top quality you have before you share any content online. Make sure it’s not fake.
Also provide the proper context whenever you post anything. If there’s one thing you should do online, it is to make every post meaningful, clear, and informative.
So what about the fun thing about social media? You may ask. Yes, you can still enjoy it without putting yourself and others in danger. Be discerning. Be cautious. Be wise in every post or share you make.