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National Youth Day: Safe Social Media

Youth Day: Social Media Safety

In celebration of National Youth Day in South Africa, Farosian will be sharing some pointers for younger individuals who are beginning to make use of social media. This is a very important day for South Africans, as it is a day to celebrate not only the role of the youth in our present day society, but also their role in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. It is important to point out that in our current day and age – social media can serve as an incredible tool for change-making and a unitive force to combat issues such as this.

While social media can be a powerful tool to help us form connections, build relationships, learn new skills, and ultimately access an abundance of information – it can also be used by shady individuals who are looking to take advantage of unsuspecting users who may be unaware of these dangers.

Here at Farosian, we acknowledge the fact that social media is an important and significant part of our lives. Therefore, we believe that rather than avoidance, the best approach is to equip yourself with the skills and knowledge necessary to navigate this digital realm safely. Without further ado, here are our top tips for the youth who may be joining and beginning to make use of social media.

PRIVACY SETTINGS

One of the most important things to keep in mind when using social and digital media is to ensure that you are protecting your private information. It is crucial that you remember to refrain from oversharing – this includes things such as your home address, your school or university address, your car number plates, your bank card details, your passwords, email address, and your cellphone number. By controlling your privacy settings, you can control what is shared and with whom.

This is a tool which we highly recommend learning about, and although it may seem complicated, it is really not as bad as it seems. We recommend following some of the tips and tricks mentioned in this blog post by Social Pilot which covers the settings recommended for each individual platform.

CATFISHING

Catfishing, a term used to describe the phenomenon where a person is essentially pretending to be someone they are not, and which was popularised in the show Catfish. Usually, in this scenario, it involves someone attempting to kindle a romantic relationship in order to draw out personal information. It is usually initiated by the “Catfish” who reaches out to unsuspecting victims.

Once the victim has engaged with them, they will usually begin attempting to build up a sense of trust. Once this has been established, the “Catfish” will most likely attempt to either get money from the victim, get hold of personal information which could be used as blackmail, or simply cyberbully them for personal gain. You can spot a catfish in a number of ways, some of which include:

  • Poor grammar and language skills
  • Unrealistic profiles
  • Avoidance of video/voice calls
  • Fake profiles

The most important thing you can do if you find yourself in this scenario is to block the account, and report it to the relevant social media platform. Do not try to engage with them or reason with them as this is most likely going to result in further complications.

PHISHING/SCAMMING

Phishing is a type of cyberattack which involves an attacker sending fraudulent messages designed to trick the victim into revealing sensitive private information or to make use of malicious software which is deployed on the victim’s device such as ransomware. Although this sounds like something far-fetched, it can happen to anyone. It is important to note that about 96% of phishing attacks occur through email. Astoundingly, figures show that around 75% of organisations globally experienced a phishing attack of some sort in the year 2020, so to believe that you won’t be affected would be naïve to say the least.

The most common data that is captured during a phishing attack are:

  1. Credentials (passwords, usernames, & pin numbers)
  2. Personal Data (name, address, email address)
  3. Medical Information (treatment information, insurance claims)

Some of the best ways to avoid falling victim to phishing scams are to ensure that you carefully review the email address of the sender and make sure that the email is coming from a trusted source. You should also remember to inspect URLs in emails before clicking on them, as well as keep in mind that an authentic businesses would never ask you to hand over sensitive information.

CYBERBULLYING

According to “Bullying Beyond the Schoolyard: Preventing and Responding to Cyberbullying,” cyberbullying is defined as “willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices.” Cyberbullying can occur in a number of ways, and through a number of platforms. It can include pictures or videos being posted online or in a private chat without consent from the individual, making threats, insulting an individual, impersonating an individual, or even as far as hacking their personal profiles.

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you see someone else getting cyberbullied, or you find that you are a victim yourself, ensure you report the individual responsible. Remember not to take it to heart, and be mindful of how you react. A fantastic resource for a more in-depth read about this topic can be found here. Further reading for parents around these issues can also be accessed here

Finally, it is very important to understand that what you do on social media today, can affect you tomorrow. Everything you do, post, share, like, retweet, and comment on, is out there for everyone to see. Be very mindful and think twice before hitting the send button. Your online presence is a digital representation of who you are as a person, and you need to ensure that what you do is in line with that.

Be kind, have fun, and be authentic, but remember to be careful.

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