In today’s world, social media is a way of life. Whether it’s Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, or another platform, social media can be used for many wonderful things. Keeping in touch with family and friends, spreading the word about lost pets, or talking with others about life’s struggles all make social media an integral part of our lives. However, it can also have numerous pitfalls, causing problems along the way. To learn how to avoid falling into a social media trap, here are some common pitfalls and the problems that come with them.
Photos Containing Alcohol or Drugs
If you want to get in trouble at work, church, or with any other group where a positive image is a must, post a picture of yourself drinking alcohol or taking drugs. This is especially true with teenagers as these pictures can sometimes paint a picture of irresponsibility and recklessness, and even lead to you losing a job, scholarship, access to your parents’ car and have negative consequences at school or any leadership position.
Sexual Conversation or Photos
Needless to say, sexually explicit photos or conversations can also present numerous problems. If these are found posted to your site, teachers, administrators, and coaches will assume you have very poor judgement, and in all likelihood suspend you, bench you or even turn you over to the police. Be careful what you post as once it goes viral, you will never be able to get it back..
Revealing a Secret
If you think you can reveal a secret on social media and have few people know about it, think again. For example, if you’ve got a criminal record you’d like to keep hidden, or got fired from a previous job, posting that on social media will essentially let the whole world in on your secret. If you’ve got an employer preparing to do a background check on you, chances are you’ll be looking elsewhere for a job.
Posting During Work or School
In many schools and workplaces, policies are in place prohibiting posting to social media during class or while on the job. In one instance, a city clerk in California lost her job when she was caught posting while she was taking minutes from a meeting, so take these policies seriously.
Putting Yourself at Risk
Whether it’s your high school buddy or some adult you think you know, make sure you know exactly who you’re talking to on social media. If you meet someone online and want to meet face-to-face, let others know when and where you’ll be, and also be careful not to reveal important information like your address or phone number.
By recognizing these pitfalls and the problems they can create, you’ll find yourself not only safer, but also being able to do well in school, hold a job and network with others in a healthy manner.