The world is at our fingertips. With a touch of a screen or click of a mouse, we can share our thoughts, opinions, and interact with someone halfway across the world. We can live stream footage or share snippets of our lives in 30-second stories.
That is the power of social media.
Having this much power online, we should also learn how to properly use it. Or face the consequences.
We have watched celebrities lose credibility because of one irresponsible tweet. And it's not limited to celebrities!
There are also instances where ordinary teens lose their scholarships due to irresponsible use of social media.
That said, be mindful of what you post. Learn how to use social media responsibly. In this post, we've listed easy tips to avoid negative consequences. Plus, how to keep your personal information safe online.
But before we get to that, let's first take a look at some of the most common consequences of using social media irresponsibly.
The Common Consequences of
Irresponsible Use of Social Media
Social media revolutionized the way we interact with each other and with the world. So, what could go wrong?
It's tempting to think that social media is safe. Unfortunately, the irresponsible use of these platforms can have destructive consequences. Here are some of them:
Social Media Addiction: Yes, some people are addicted to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Tiktok. This is especially true for children, teens, and young adults. The fear of missing out is one of the main reasons why they're glued to their smartphones or tablets.
Some of the negative side effects include eye strain, sleep disorder, and social withdrawal.
Mental Health Problems: Most social media posts look picture perfect. This is especially true on Instagram. Constantly consuming such content creates unrealistic expectations in life.
And when there's a huge disparity between our reality and expectation, it can lead to mental health problems. Irresponsible use can lead to anxiety and depression.
Cyberbullying: Social media makes it possible to stay connected. It's also an excellent channel to make new friends and find new connections. Unfortunately, it’s also used to bully others.
Perpetrators of cyberbullying hide behind fake names to be cruel towards other people. Celebrities aren't the only victims. It also affects kids and adults alike.
So how do you avoid all these? Do you have to delete your apps? Get off social media for good?
No, you don't have to go that far. In the next section, we've listed the top tips for responsible social media usage.
Easy Tips for Using Social Media Responsibly
Follow Online Safety and Privacy Measures
With one click of a button or tap on the screen, we can share live videos, photos, statuses, and our current location. Using these features has been part of our daily routine that we barely think about them.
Unfortunately, one small mistake can expose your personal information. Malicious people can then use it. That said, protecting your information doesn't stop at password diligence.
Here are a few tips:
Whatever your post online will stay online forever. You won't have control over who'll share, save, or screenshot your posts. So even if you delete the original post, it might still be there somewhere.
That said, don't post sexually explicit videos/photos, harassing comments, or compromising information.
Be in Control of Your Feed
Managing your feed is one of your social media responsibilities.
Stay in control of who you follow or the pages you "like". Be mindful of the content you choose to consume.
Platforms such as Facebook or Instagram should uplift and inspire you. But according to multiple studies, there's a link between heavy social media usage and increased risk of anxiety and depression.
So how do you manage your feed?
Unfollow accounts that spread fake news. Unfriend or block accounts that make you uncomfortable or are being mean or rude towards you or other people.
Recognize unhealthy accounts and unfollow them. Spend less time on the app if necessary.
If certain individuals harass or bully you, seek help. Talk to family or friends. Or seek legal assistance if things seem pretty bad.
Be Responsible in Sharing, Posting, and Reposting Images or Videos
But for the most part, you own the images, videos, and other media you produced. This is also true for your personal information. That said, consider opting out of automatic facial recognition tags.
In doing so, you won't be automatically tagged on random photos or videos.
Secondly, be careful when sharing and reposting other people's images or videos. Even if it's a meme, make sure to ask permission from the original source. In doing so, you'll avoid possible legal issues.
Remember, every content is subject to Intellectual Property Rights. This can be divided into two categories:
Share News Responsibly
Never share fake news. Only read and share news from credible sources like official local, national, or international news pages.
More importantly, avoid posting or sharing content that is disruptive, threatening, abusive, or defamatory. Don't share, reposts, or like images, videos, or status that is hateful and racially offensive.
Think twice before you click. Assess the content and whether it's insulting or offensive to others. If you're unsure, it's best not to share.
Use Your Profile to Highlight Your Skills and Expertise
We don't mean faking a perfect life.
Instead, use social media platforms to your advantage. For instance, turn your profile into a portfolio. Showcase your character, skills, and expertise.
So what can you share?
This isn't only helpful for adults looking to find a job. It's also beneficial for teens who want to impress the college or universities of their choice.
That said, don't …
Be a Responsible Social Media User
Social media is now part of our daily lives. It's nearly impossible to stay off these platforms for good. For this reason, we need to learn how to be responsible users.
But most importantly, be aware of how often you use social media. Go on a digital detox if necessary. For instance, turn off notifications for an hour or two. Find purpose during your screen time. In doing so, you'll avoid mindlessly scrolling through your feed.
P.S. For those who mainly use social media for business, check out my article Solving the 8 Most Common Issues With Social Media Marketing Plans.