Imagine each one of us having a newspaper of our own to write about everything we do, everything thing we like, and about people we love. Imagine your own TV Channel to broadcast your family shows and your own music videos or a radio station on which you are the RJ… such mediums are called Social Media.
Facebook is your personal newspaper, your personal TV Channel, your personal Magazine. Likewise Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, WeChat, Sound Cloud, Google+ and a thousand others.
Let me present to you the ugly side of Social Media. Like I told you millions of people are there in that free world. Just like in the real world there are good people and bad people; don’t worry about the good people. What type of Bad people would we find on social media- thieves, frauds, criminals, liars, bullies, rapists, murderers, and the list goes on. The biggest danger is their access to millions of innocent people right there on their screen. You can be their victim.
How do your protect yourselves? First, beware of strangers. Don’t just make friends with everybody. If you don’t know the person, and has no reason why he should be your friend just don’t accept requests.
If there are some nasty people who bother you all the time, remove them from your list of friends. Also avoid those people who are always negative, these people could influence you over time.
If someone tells you that he is going to send you parcel or money, just know that he is a fraud. Many Bhutanese fell victim to this sort of international scams.
There are many other ways of people can cheat you, but you have to know just one important rule: if someone talks about money then that’s the clue, because no stranger will randomly send you money or diamond ring.
Anonymity is another issue on Internet. Most wrong doers on social media are anonymous. They hide their real identity, use fake names and pictures to do all the wrong things. They know we can never find them. Therefore, you have to be smart enough to know that some people you are dealing with on social media, whom you don’t know personally, are fake people.
The next important thing to remember is being mindful of what you post online and whom you share with. Good things are hard to notice, but bad things spread like wild fire, so be very careful about what you are putting online. Ask yourself, ‘Will I not regret after putting this up?’
Be mindful about doing anything with electronic devices in the first place. Your mobile phone and laptops have many secret things you don’t know. You think you have deleted something but people can use simple software and retrieve it. And nowadays, these smart phones are connected to Cloud servers; every picture you take on your mobile automatically gets backed up on the cloud. The Cloud can be hacked or if you are not careful with your password people could sneak into all your files and pictures.
These days, if you are on Facebook, you will see many of your friends posting dirty pictures. The truth is they aren’t doing it. In fact they themselves don’t see the pictures. It’s some sort of infected link that hacks into your account and misuses it. Therefore, you must be suspicious about unknown links anywhere on Internet. Clicking on such links is like giving them the key to your account.
Social Media is growing each day; opportunities are growing and danger is growing too. If there are things you are unsure about don’t take chances, just ask someone in school or at home. Never do something you are unsure of and never hesitate to seek help.
Opinion by Passang Tshering
The writer is a Teacher at the Royal Academy in Paro