Instagram, SnapChat, Facebook, TikTok – these are the most common social media platforms used in Leman 1. The platforms encourage users to share content and be rewarded with likes, hearts and comments. We all have an internal want to be liked and this is fed by the satisfaction of seeing your post or picture commented favourably on, or liked by all your friends.
As users gain this gratification there also then becomes a competitive element with friends, as to who gains the most interactions on their post. Somehow those who do better on these platforms become influencers and therefore role models for others. And in turn, people aspire to also having a following and growing their friends and followers.
This means that users who do not set their account to private, end up accumulating followers who they do not know. Amassing 100’s of followers to their account and now feeling the pressure to continue posting to feed this audience. Showing off their life in a favourable way to again gain the interaction from their followers.
So what is the problem with this?
Students can become vulnerable if they find themselves in this dilemma. They open up their lives to strangers. This then exposes them to the possibility of harassment, loss of privacy, stalking, bullying, identify theft, unwanted contact and predators. With anonymity online it becomes very difficult to know who is behind a username or profile. We, therefore, need to make sure our students are educated on how to deal with these vulnerabilities.
We teach our kids from a young age not to talk to strangers in the real world. But now a portion of their “real-world” is online.