Category: Social Media Safety

Where is Everybody on Facebook?

It seems like everybody has a Facebook page. You probably do, and you probably have a lot of “friends.” And your friends may have a lot of friends. But Facebook, as an Internet site, is losing friends. Studies from organizations and from Facebook itself have found that Facebook users are spending more and more time OFF Facebook.

When they are on Facebook, they aren’t as “engaged” as they used to be. Engaged is defined as when a user does something, for example, “liking” a post, responding to posts and uploading their own posts. Some don’t even go on Facebook anymore.

Where is everybody?

After years of being one of the world’s most popular social media platforms, Facebook has found that people are going to other social media platforms to visit with others. Some teenagers go on Snapchat or Instagram or privately message people. They go to Reddit to join in on heated discussions. Tik Tok is popular now, but not only for young people.  It seems many adults from Facebook are now on Tik Tok as well.

Many older adults are only going on Facebook when they want to “catch up” with family. People are spending their time doing activities other than checking Facebook every few minutes. Those that do use Facebook don’t “share” or “like” as much as they once did. They post less and less and they log in less frequently.

Comments online point to problems people have with Facebook. Some don’t like all the advertisements that pop up. Some don’t like that their profile information gets sold to big companies. Other people are upset that Facebook sometimes deletes posts that don’t agree with their philosophy.

Still others think that Facebook is an outdated social media platform and even old-fashioned. Those people think that Facebook is like myspace, slowly getting replaced and fading into the past.

Of course, Facebook is still strong. The company is worth billions of dollars, but not as much as it used to be. Its strength is slowing fading. The business is trying to get people interested in it again.

They’re sending out “memory” reminders and “friend anniversary” notifications, hoping people remember how much they used to enjoy Facebook. Many people find the notifications annoying. Luckily, they can turn that off. They can also enjoy other activities, which many are choosing to do.

Where is everybody who used to be on Facebook? Maybe they’re playing one-on-one in the gym or reading a book. Some are hanging out with their flesh and blood friends in the real world.

Yes, Facebook is still there, waiting for you to log on and check your wall. Facebook can wait. Your life can’t.

Why Adults are Dumping Social Media?

You love your computer. You enjoy playing games online. Maybe your Dad lets you post messages to your cousins using his social media page. You can’t wait until you get your own social media account. Don’t hold your breath. By the time you are old enough, social media won’t be the same!

In the last few months, people have become very angry with Facebook. Upset. Facebook took personal details about their lives and sold those details to make money. For many people, selling their information was an invasion of privacy. Imagine someone you don’t know sneaking into your bedroom and picking through your dresser drawers. That’s what many adults thought it felt like.

So many people were mad at Facebook that they closed and deleted their pages. Steve Wozniak, one of the men who started the company that makes Apple computers and iPhone, deleted his Facebook account. So did Elon Musk, the tech whiz who just launched a car into space. And so did Will Ferrell, the actor who played the main character in the Christmas movie ELF.

More importantly, almost 3 million young adults under the age of 25 stopped using Facebook. These people didn’t like their private information being used to make money for a gigantic company.

Most of the time, when your personal information is sold, it is used to try to sell you something or to sell something to your Facebook friends. This may not seem all that bad, but it means that all the facts of your life online are being examined by strangers. These strangers don’t care about you or your friends. They do care about making money. You are just how they make that money.

Another problem adults have with Facebook is that their information can be used to steal their identity. Identity theft is when someone takes another person’s personal details and applies for things like credit cards, bank accounts and money from the government. Identity thieves sometimes use the stolen identity to get mobile phone accounts and run up huge bills. They even steal the identity of little kids.

Many of those victims don’t know that their identities have been stolen because most little kids don’t apply for credit cards or file tax returns or any of the other things that alert people to identity theft. When the child grows up and does apply for a credit card, he or she may discover that they owe money all over the world. This can happen when private information is used by thieves. This is another reason that many adults are leaving Facebook.

Parents are also deciding if they should be following their children to other popular social media apps.  But do kids want their parents watching what they do on social media?  Regardless, millions of people around the world are deciding that Facebook isn’t the most popular places to be these days.   What about you?

Life of a 13 Year Old Girl in the Social Media Jungle

Her alarm goes off – much too early. She was up texting with her girlfriends into the early hours of the morning, stifling her giggles so mom and dad wouldn’t hear. She didn’t want to miss a single confession or inside joke, not to mention the late night activity on Twitter and Snapchat.

There are just as many posts after bedtime as there are during school hours, and she would feel pretty stupid at school if she missed out on something big from the night before. Drama actually happens pretty frequently online and over text when she’s burrowed under the covers with only the light of her cell phone – whether it’s an ugly feud between best friends, a rude meme about someone at school, or a nasty breakup with insults flying.

After snoozing once or twice, finally rolling out of bed at the angry threat of her mother, she stumbles through her morning routine, slowing only to double and triple check her appearance in the mirror.

She needs to look cute enough to be popular and desired by the boys; she can’t break the school’s dress code, and she also can’t look like she’s trying too hard or looking too promiscuous or else she’ll risk being called a slut. She knows what her friends say about other girl’s outfits behind their back.

She splits her attention between her teacher’s lessons and the constant stream of texts and snaps she hides under her desk. When she passes up the worksheets at the end of science class she hears stifled laughter from the punk boys behind her.

They’re always cheating off her papers and getting her in trouble. She looks down at the stack of papers in her hands to see that they also handed up a scrap of paper with a very giant and detailed drawing of private parts. She feels sick but just rolls her eyes at them, crumpling the paper into the trash can down the aisle as she leaves.

On the bus ride home from school she sits next to her next door neighbor, Summer, and they pass the time by showing each other Instagram accounts of cute boys at neighboring schools or connecting apps like Omegle and Tik Tok. They talk about the ones they know from church or sports groups, the ones they’ve talked to through direct messages or texting, and the ones they follow but don’t actually know at all.

She’s surprised to hear that some of these boys have also asked Summer for intimate photos – she’s had a few of those requests of her own.

“Did you send them?” she asks nervously.

“Well… no. I was too scared.” Summer replies sheepishly.

She feels relief that her friend also turned down the not-so-polite request from these teen boys. She frequently wondered if any of her friends had delivered on the request.

Charging her nearly-dead phone upon getting home, she has an hour or so of uninterrupted homework before a phone-free dinner – her parent’s rule.

“How was your day today sweetie? School good?” her dad asks between mouthfuls of peas.

“It was good. Just a regular day.”

About the Author:

Tyler Jacobson is a husband, father, freelance writer and outreach specialist with experience with organizations that help troubled teens and parents. His areas of focus include: parenting, social media, addiction, mental illness, and issues facing teenagers today. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn

It’s critical to talk to your teen girls – and not just about their homework. Social media has turned their world into something most parents wouldn’t recognize. Talk to your daughter about her friends, which social media apps she uses, boys, drugs, and even the taboo subject of her body.

You won’t regret the extra effort, even if it feels awkward. She needs you, and those conversations, to keep her rooted in a world of confusing values and social media.

A Teens Guide to Social Media Safety

Social Media Guide for Teens

Parents can worry about a lot. Like everything else in this world, social media safety is something that the adults in your life will be wanting to discuss with you.  After all, they get nervous about their teens and younger kids on social media.  It’s like a doorway in the house to the entire world where people can come and go as they please.

(This article is for teens. Parents, read what you can do here).

There are many different reasons why social media can be a dangerous playground. While the horror stories all focus on kids being lured or abducted, there are far more threats that are less severe. No matter your age or sex, it is important to follow some important rules for social media safety.

Before you roll your eyes, please know these guidelines exist to protect you! It’s not about telling you what you can and can’t do… it’s about empowering you as an individual to protect you from being ripped off, bullied, disrespected, scammed, or worse while you’re just trying to have a good time online.

Check Your Privacy Settings

The best place to start to ensure social media safety is to check  the privacy settings of any social media network you are using.  In most cases, the default privacy settings will give your posts the most public exposure which can be very dangerous.

Important Privacy Setting Resource Links:
Facebook | Twitter | TikTok | SnapChat | Instagram

There are too many account settings to list, so just Google “privacy settings for any social media platform you are using.

Why It’s Important

If you’ve never checked or updated your privacy settings, then people you don’t even know can see your posts. Even if you think you are being careful about what you post, it’s common for teens to post sensitive information without even realizing it. It could be something as simple as an identifying background in one of your pictures… but online predators find easy prey in public profiles.

In a nutshell, keep your social profile strictly private… the best settings are where only friends can see what you post because you never really know who your friends are friends with online, so the “Friends of Friends” setting can leave you exposed and vulnerable.

Be Cautious of Friend Requests

Sure, it’s great to connect with new people through social people… but isn’t there something suspicious when a complete stranger sends you a friend request?

Play it safe and only accept friend requests from friends in the real world.

Apart from the obvious (more severe) threats… friend requests from strangers can often turn out to be spam bots (meaning you’ll be spamming your friends). Fake profiles are also created for cyber bullying. So when a new friend request comes in, and you think you know the person, be sure to check their profile first and see if anything looks fishy.

Think Before You Post!

Your social media safety is directly related to the personal information you allow others to see.  Limit the contact information in your profile and posts. Never give away your phone number or address. Keep private information private. If you want to share this information with a friend, do it directly by phone or text.

Why It’s Important for Social Media Safety

Teenagers tend to have a reckless, impulsive approach to social media. (No offense.)

That’s why it’s important to think first before you post what you are thinking or feeling. Even though you can delete something (a post, picture, comment, etc.) you can never permanently erase something that has been published on the internet.

Social Media can effect teen girls especially because they are more apt to express their feelings, while opening the door to receive feedback about themselves. Unfortunately, these interactions are not always positive.  Teen boys tend to use social media to communicate on lighter subjects, such as jokes and entertainment.  In either case, it’s important to reserve very private and personal emotions to friends in person.

More Tips for Online Safety:

  • Avoid using location services like Foursquare and disable location services on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. when posting photos. It’s cool, sure… but it’s not necessary and the risk is greater than the reward.
  • Avoid posting that you are going on vacation, or posting pictures while on vacation… until you are back home. Be also aware of the ramifications of using your cell phone at school and discuss responsible behavior within school guidelines.
  • If you do meet somebody new online, never agree to meet them off line. If somebody you met online sends or requests provocative pictures, tell an adult. You have to approach online friends (who you don’t know in the real world) as a potential predator… because even if it feels like you know them; you really don’t know who they are.

Now, let’s review more in depth social media safety tips in this article below:

Social Media Safety Tips for Kids

Online Safety When Posting Pictures Online

Talking to teens about internet safety can often be frustrating, especially if they pretends to listen, giving one word responses at the right times. For that reason, the first tip for talking to a teenager (about anything) is to make it a routine.

If you truly want to have meaningful two-way conversations on a variety of topics, including the short term and long term concerns of posting pictures online, laying the proper ground work is essential.

Making Time for Open Conversation

It can be weekly, or monthly, or as often as every day after dinner. Families that “enforce” open conversations are more aware of what’s really going on with every family member, and that’s important. Discussions about online safety for kids doesn’t have to (always) center around extremely sensitive, awkward, uncomfortable, or otherwise personal topics. In fact it will feel easier to talk about anything when your family has a routine of open conversation.

Some general guidelines to follow include:

  • The dinner table is a good place for casual family conversation about almost anything, but avoid topics that are too personal or uncomfortable while eating. Use these times as a good starting point to learn what your kids think and feel about various topics.
  • Open conversation should take place in a relaxed and comfortable environment. However, nobody should be distracted… and that means you should not have open conversations while driving or with the TV on.
  • During open conversations, everybody should have their cell phone off or in another room. This includes you!
  • Give your teenager your undivided attention. Ask open ended questions that can’t be given a short answer. Wait for an answer, and listen.

Above all else, having an open mind as a parent is crucial. Your teenager must feel comfortable talking to you, without fear of repercussion, or she will only give you the parts that she feels are safe to tell you.

Be Easy to Talk To

It’s frustrating when you try to talk to a teenager who won’t say much to you, but is always texting on their phone. Surely she has something to say… why are they so aloof with you?

Before you go blaming the phone, ask how difficult it might be for your teenage daughter or son to get your undivided attention. Remember that you have a lot on your mind too, so sometimes you might be too distracted and equally difficult to talk to.

Then there is the parenting style you follow. Parents who say “No, because I said so” are less easy to talk to then parents who say “No, because {explanation}.” Although your teenager is still a child in your heart, you are still raising a person who has reached a point of independence that you aren’t happy about. It shows, but there is nothing you can do to keep her a baby forever.

Make Them Laugh

The tough conversations are even tougher with a teenager. Teens know that babies aren’t brought by a stork, and at least one of their peers probably already has one on the way. When having a tough conversation with a teenager, you want to contribute information from a different perspective while also gaining an understanding of where they are coming from.

While being a good listener, you must also understand that this conversation is a million times tougher for your son or daughter to be having with you. Consider how awkward you feel bringing it up, and multiply it by infinity.

The most helpful thing you can do is set the tone to ease their discomfort. Use humor to make them laugh (but not humor that will only make her more uncomfortable!) and your child will be more likely to relax and open up to you.

Talking About Posting Pictures Online

This might come as a shock to you, but many teenagers can be reckless with the photos they post online. This is particularly true of girls. They want so badly to be seen as mature adults—and as attractive females—that they will share pictures of themselves that are various levels of inappropriate.

Did you know that pictures you share online can be traced to your location, even if you don’t tag it on Facebook? (You can start with that too, maybe even share an article that talks about how location services in smart phone cameras place a stamp that can be used by computer-savvy web users to find out where a person is located.)

The important thing is not to go through your teenagers’ social media page without her permission and comment on pictures belonging to her or her friends. (A teens privacy on Facebook is up to each parent’s discretion and it may be as easy as ‘being friends’ with your kids on Facebook so they know you expect a certain standard of conduct). Raise awareness about various issues regarding social media and plant the seed of a new perspective.

Note- It is perfectly okay to inform your daughter that “duck lips” are terribly ridiculous looking, but a genuine smile is much more beautiful and attractive to boys!

The point is that you aren’t entirely in charge of the conversation and shouldn’t try to stick to one point. Encourage your daughter to participate by asking her opinion on inappropriate pictures (where does see the line drawn?) or finding out what she knows about geotagging.

Rather than taking the cliché paranoid parent approach, talk about posting pictures online as a casual conversation. You’ll get the answers you want, and it will give you both a chance to learn from each other.

Pictures on Social Media Pictures Almost Never Lie

Pictures say a thousand words, or so the saying goes. And pictures never lie. However, a picture posted in the wrong context and twist the truth. News stories on television and the Internet are not complete without an image and personal profiles seem empty without a selfie. People trust a picture. But should they?

You can get a better understanding of how editors and website managers pick images by performing a simple experiment.

Take out your phone and turn on the camera. Set it to record a selfie video. Then take a moment, prepare, suck in a breath and record yourself singing the national anthem.

Put your heart into it. Sing with strength and feeling. Then save the video and take a bow.

Now sit down. Pick an emotion: anger, love, envy, shock, happiness, sadness. With the emotion you decided on in mind, watch the video. When you see an image of yourself that matches the emotion you picked, pause the video.

If you were making a post on your social media page about your emotion, you could use that picture to show how you felt. But you know that the picture is simply one note sung from the national anthem.

Again, thinking about your social media page, go through the video, imagining which screen capture you would use as a profile picture. Some images show you with your eyes half-closed. Some show you with your mouth open like a fish.

If you were being mean to yourself, you would post the pictures that make you look like you just woke up.

That happens every day in editorial offices. Public figures like your favorite singers, movie stars and government officials are always being photographed or caught on video.

If an editor wants to show that singer, star or official looking funny or heroic or attractive or strange, all he or she has to do—is pick the right picture.

Like you singing the national anthem, every person in the public eye can be seen with eyes half-closed or looking angry or strange.

Some editors use photo shopping software to make people appear the way the editors want them to look.

Editors of fashion and celebrity magazines are notorious for changing faces, slimming down figures or smoothing rough spots on the celebrities they like.

There are many famous people you probably wouldn’t know if you met them on the street because all of the pictures you’ve seen of them have been changed.

Pictures never lie?

Maybe the photographs don’t lie, but sometimes the people who pick the photos do.

Safer Search

What does it take to provide a safer web experience for kids? It takes a combination of tools and resources working together in unison: internet filtering, secure browsing, apps for parental controls, and education. That is our mission at Safe Search Kids as we work to deliver these four cornerstones of online safety to parents, teachers, and students.

Search public records to find people, connect with long lost friends, family, or conduct background checks to learn about strangers or acquaintances that have contact with your children on the people search engine.