Nowadays, internet plays an important part of our lives. I wonder how many of you reading this article ever tried spending a couple of days without internet. While I am sure that there are a few individuals who will be able to accept this challenge, I am even more convinced that that the majority will find it even difficult to spend a whole day without internet. What about Social Media? Would you let a day or two pass without logging in to your favorite social networking site/s? I will leave it up to you to answer this question.

In businesses, social media is used to create brand awareness, advertisements, recruitment, generate new business, connect to your customers and even create media analytics. Through social media businesses and employees may benefit from getting reviews on the product/ service being offered and even recommendations. Cool huh!

In terms of your personal and social life, social media amongst other things allows you to connect and share common interests with your family and friends, follow your favorite celebrity, search for products/ services in your area, join groups of people who share common interests, learn how to do new things by reading through articles and watching videos, create awareness such as against violence and much more.

Social Media may be a great tool if used with the right intentions; however it might cause problems if misused. I am sure that we have all heard or read about horrible stories on how individuals have suffered through bullying over these social networking sites, some of which even led to death. This may be prevented by being extra careful on who we accept as internet friends. Sometimes, I feel it’s just a competition especially with younger generations, does it really matter who has the most online friends? Ever stopped to think whether the person you are adding is an impersonator. Why should you sit and accept ungrateful comments, the privacy settings is available for a reason.

I am sure that some of you have found yourselves spending too much time on social networking sites, checking on who liked your latest image or even browsing through other individual profiles to learn some new gossip, which may lead to distraction that keeps you from studying, working, reducing family time and other chores. Besides, using social media to interact with others may also lead to laziness, reduce the ability of face to face communication skills and reduce emotional connection.

Some also feel confident with sharing their current exact location, while this might be a great idea to perhaps meet your friends, it’s not so ideal when unknown individuals view your exact current location, isn’t it kind of a bonus for them to “visit” your house while you are away. What about posting comments, such as how wasted you got at the pub last night or even worse posting your indecent pictures online. Did it ever occur to you that your current/ future employer/ clients might be checking your profile. While I do agree with the saying you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, some do. Remember once it goes up on the internet, it stays on the internet for a very long time.

Another social media threat might be that of hacking. While for some this might be a joke between friends in more serious cases this might lead to identity theft. Why make it easy for identity thieves to find out your birth date, address, telephone number, so on and so forth. After all what more information is required to create a fake ID? What about defamation? How would it feel if someone stole your picture, edit it and use it on unrated websites.

So the question is, how can you prevent your children from accessing such sites, the truth is that you cannot as there are always loopholes so my recommendation is to always keep an eye to help them use best practices when online. I believe that by being overprotective such as blocking, monitoring and tracking each online action, for example chat logs sometimes might do more harm than good so it’s important to find a balance between the two.