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The Dangers of Social Networking

Robin Olsen holds a B.Sc In Computer Systems and has over 20 years of IT Experience. In that time he has worked in many different industries

Social networking was created with good intentions, but it can have many dangers.

Social networking was created with good intentions, but it can have many dangers.

What Are the Dangers of Social Media and Social Networking?

Sometimes a good idea can turn into something very bad. Social networking is a good example of this. It was created so that people could share thoughts and ideas with like-minded people and keep in touch with distant family. Then it evolved into the monster it is today. It is heavily involved in every aspect of your life now, even if you choose not to use it.

How many times do potential employers base their hiring decisions on what they see on social media rather than on the resume? How many stories are there of people losing their jobs, benefits and even their relationships because of something on social media that seemed totally innocent at the time? It's disturbing how much personal privacy we have given up in the 21st century, and I think most of us do not even realize it has happened.

On Social Media, Everyone Is Listening

Most who post on the Internet think they're safe and secure in their private spaces. It is a false assumption because they're not in a private place; they're actually in a crowded room surrounded by people on all sides, anyone of whom may, or may not, be listening in on your conversation.

Even those who are not on your social circle lists can still listen in to your conversations via wall posts and general tweets, responses to other tweets, etc. Think of it this way: If you are in a restaurant with your spouse having a conversation over dinner, it is reasonable to assume that those at tables around you, even though they're not specifically involved in your conversation, can still hear what you are saying, correct? Same thing with social media, except it is not so much your volume as it is the 'where' and 'what' you are posting that matters more.

The Illusion of Security

The internet is definitely not secure, no more secure than walking down a street in the middle of the day in a modern city. In such a scenario you are routinely filmed by CCTV, cell phone cameras, regular everyday digital cameras and even the occasional TV camera. The internet is the same way only instead of video, your every keystroke is recorded, every photo you upload is archived.

Did you know you cannot 'delete' a photo from Facebook? Oh sure, you can remove it from your profile and the button is labelled 'delete', but Facebook keeps a copy, they always have, it is in your Facebook end-user agreement. Have you read it? Have you read any of the end-user agreements on these social media websites? You should. Did you know you cannot delete your Facebook account? You can deactivate it but it will always be there and hackers love inactive accounts. The password never changes.

On many occasions, law enforcement has been able to track people and their activities based purely on internet activities alone. Most of the time this is for a good reason, to be sure, but have you ever asked yourself how they got access to this or that private chat message when they are obviously not a part of the social media circle in question?

Every website on the internet has a 'sysadmin' and he can see everything on their network. So, be sure of it, everything you put up on the internet stays and can be viewed by a wide variety of people for many different reasons. Every time you visit a website, your IP address is recorded in a log file somewhere and associated with that website.

The Illusion of Privacy

There is no real privacy on the internet. The government is only one of the groups watching you. Individuals and corporations are also watching and taking notes. The corporations are mostly doing it to track purchasing and to target advertising. Individuals are suspicious. Scammers are everywhere.

There are stories of teachers who have been disciplined for what was said in private chats or in rooms on sites like Facebook. Police officers, various other public officials, etc. I won't bore you with the specifics as they are discussed elsewhere, just remember there is no privacy on the net and there are countless examples that do not relate specifically to government spying or evil conspiracies. Don't do, post or say anything on the internet you would not do in public.

The Illusion of Safety

The internet is definitely not safe. Especially for your kids. The best piece of advice I can give in this area is to learn how to use the built in firewalls on your routers to block out specific websites from your child or even for your own benefit. Do not just rely on the built-in parental controls that come with software firewalls to work. Most of these do not screen out social media the way it should. In my opinion, no one under the age of 18 should even be on social media. It serves no purpose to kids other than to distract them, keep them inside and get them into trouble.

Consider the problem of online bullying. In the old days, before social media, a bullied child would at least normally be safe at home from the bullies but now they get no respite, bullying in schools pours over to bullying at home in the form of insulting tweets and constant insulting and threatening text messages. Cell phones, in the hands of children, are distractions at best and tools of aggression and hostility at worst. Constant and unrelenting bullying has lead to suicide among our young people.

Social media interactions involving children should be reviewed regularly. Review internet history. Review the log files that are generated by your routers and operating systems. Everything you need to know is probably there and don't be afraid to block websites.

Keep yourself safe, too. Watch who you interact with. Don't be a 'bad internet story'.

The Workplace

All corporations monitor their own networks; I know, I have been doing the monitoring for years now.

Another thing people should remember is that corporate email accounts and corporate computers are not personal property, they are corporate property as is all information on those computers and in those accounts. They can seize it or review it at any given time without prior warning. Most of the time, you will not even be aware that you are being reviewed. It is best to do personal computing on personal devices.

It's a jungle out there.

It's a jungle out there.

Guidelines for Social Media Usage

So, in summary;

  1. Never do, post or say anything on the Internet that you would not do,say or show in public.
  2. Everything that goes on the Internet stays on the Internet—probably forever, as far as you're concerned.
  3. Social media should be restricted where children are concerned.
  4. Turn off roaming data on your child's cell phone. All cell phones can be tracked by GPS.
  5. Keep yourself safe. Protect your location and arrange to meet anyone for the first time in a public and well-populated place.
  6. Do personal computing on personal devices only.

Be Aware!

Social media was not created for evil purposes but, like anything, it can be misused by a variety of riff-raff. Is the government monitoring you on the Internet? In a general sense they are, but others are also watching as well.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2013 Robin Olsen


Robin Olsen (author) from Rural Canada on May 25, 2020:

Georgiana Collins - thanks for your post. Parental controls are a good tool as long as those that use them remember that the tool does not replace the parent but is meant to enhance their ability to monitor and protect their young ones.

"The Internet provides us with many possibilities" actually, it provides you with EVERY possibility... think of it from this perspective and you will know how to 'filter' what you want from all the rest.

Protect your passwords from your kids, most of us run into issues when we allow our kids to use the computer with the same login accounts as the adults in the house use, this makes parental controls frustrating for those adults and it usually gets turned off. Create a 'kid friendly' account, no password, limited system access and activated parental controls.

Robin Olsen (author) from Rural Canada on July 17, 2019:

Grace: if you wish to use this article onr any portion then I would require only proper credit for it. Others who have took this content did not cite me as the author and claimed they wrote it... those guys got a DCMA complaint filed... but if you include my name in the by line as the author then you can use it

Grace on July 17, 2019:

Please how do i cite this article??

itzel on April 25, 2019:

social media is not at all safe

awesome girl28481 on April 17, 2019:

can u shut up???? like socail media is super safe!!!!!!!!!!!!

Busta on March 06, 2019:

I would also add, never do social networking and online banking in public places such as cyber coffee and other free wifi network in public places.

Rianna on January 19, 2019:

I HATE social media bc it's just a WASTE OF TIME!!!!

Robin Olsen (author) from Rural Canada on November 30, 2018:

Glad to hear that.

kelly on November 28, 2018:

my debate team is doing why or why not social networking sites are harmful so this is really useful

Stephe on October 14, 2018:

I was doing this for a class assignment...has been really helpful

Robin Olsen #2 on September 17, 2018:

thank you Robin Olsen #1 for providing me with such information.

lamara on September 04, 2018:


Anonymous on May 26, 2018:

thanks for the info

Anonymous on May 17, 2018:

To be completely fair, I could go either way regarding this issue. Yes, there are many dangers on the internet that I am fully aware of. However, when talking about children, they are people too. They should be allowed some privacy on the internet. As long as they are aware of the dangers, I feel they should have some form of freedom. Anyways, this was a very helpful article and acknowledge your take on this situation.

anonymous on February 28, 2018:

we should not shut down anything because at the end of the day its the choice of the people on what they post and they shouldnt be blaming the hackers who take the photos and do stuff with them,you should blame the people who take the dum pictures and post them.

Anonymous on February 17, 2018:

Yeah but that doesn't mean you shouldn't give your child a phone.

Anonymous on January 11, 2018:

Wow... Its true... I will never use social media. Ever.

Robin Olsen (author) from Rural Canada on November 24, 2017:

your a good example of why the youth need to be monitored on the internet - let me correct you 1) Nothing you delete is removed from any servers - they simply remove YOUR ability to see it.... it is still there and still accessible to anyone with the correct access rights or the ability to hack. 2) people don't 'repeat' endlessly and no one actually said they would - it was stated they 'could' and anyone who has a beef with you will spread any post they can use to make you look bad -this could be a ex-friend, a teacher who does not like you, your ex-boyfriend /ex-girlfriend (this is a common one actually) as a child you are probably not even thinking about how that can affect you at this point in your life but something you post today can be brought back in a couple of years when you are looking for a job and be used to deny you that job - or get you fired after you get the job... I have seen teachers fired for their facebook comments that were only between friends in private messages.... your not actually old enough to understand the world yet, all it's little nuances, etc - hopefully you have parents monitoring you ....

Anas Assoufi on November 24, 2017:

This is blown out of proportion. I do agree to a certain extent, but the idea of taking away access to the internet from minors is ridiculous. There are risks in every system, and removing access can make minors even more susceptible due to their rebellious nature. Yes, once you put up something on the internet, you can't delete it completely from the internet, but you can "delete" it, meaning it is taken off the servers. You're also implying that humans have the memory of an elephant, and will never stop repeating something stupid you've posted. There are predators on the internet, but now child exploitation cases have gone down by 63% in the last decade. There are many articles, videos, and campaigns that inform adults, adolescents, and minors about the internet and how to navigate it safely, and location can be turned off with a simple tap. The case of the woman is a screwup on her side. If she wanted to get away with it, she should've used common sense and not posted. The information you put up also has privacy settings, which include Public, Friends, a certain group of people, or Private. Private only allows you, the user, to see the images, and Public allows anyone to see it. The companies also set forth the Privacy Policy and specifically tell you that the information collected by them is collected anonymously and try to put it into aggregate data. The only points I agree with are number five and six. The internet is a big place, and if used correctly, is a tool that can help you so much. You can find educational content not available previously, talk to friends, talk to people with the same interests, organize events, find information, and so much more. If used incorrectly, there can be consequences. In my opinion (or IMO), the pros outweigh the cons. And for number six, it goes without saying. You didn't buy the equipment, the company did. You use the work computer for work purposes, and the company monitors them to be able to track down potential fraudsters. I hope you can respond to this, and have a great day.

-Anas, 14 years of age, 14 years of experience and 9 years of experience with the web.

Billy on November 20, 2017:

Oh yes i like it

Dianna Mendez on August 17, 2017:

I agree with restricting the net to adults. Far too many issues result from children unable to cope with the harsh reality of negative social responses. You are right on with this.

Mary on February 21, 2017:

Great ideas. very informative.


Marlene Bertrand from USA on February 01, 2017:

This is excellent information. I agree with you. Nothing is private on the internet. I know someone who lost insurance coverage because of something a "friend" posted about someone else. Your tips are spot on. I especially heed #1 and #2 in your recap of internet security.

slayerof war on October 19, 2016:

The article was useful, great facts and your evidence backs it. if only parents were as strict and caring as they should be by hiding social media from their children.

someone out there on June 21, 2016:

good one. used to be my essay title

Robin Olsen (author) from Rural Canada on February 18, 2016:

you are welcome and thank you for sharing this

debbie on February 04, 2016:

As a victim of stalking, bullying, relentless harassment, identity and copyright theft (photos too) , hacking, via social media that included Facebook, readers please take this hubpage author's sound advice. Especially for your children as well.

Thank you for a fine article.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on November 20, 2015:

A good reminder about using caution when we post personal stuff. Thanks for the information.

Viravong Norodom on July 06, 2015:

someone hacking to my computer 15 time and I lost a lot of my document since i play facebook and Cambodian people's told me the dictator from my country want to throw a lot of Cambodia who play on facebook and criticise the dictator prime minister on facebook and some did go to jail and right now Facebook is control by Cambodia country and before we have peace in facebook and some Cambodian inside working for prime minister try to threat my life that i told to much that Cambodia land was lost by Hanoi country and Hanoi country did push the border a lot into Cambodia

China Abarquez on April 19, 2015:

I never expected that when i upload photos in my social media accounts I lose ownership on these photos. How come? I'm not really aware of it maybe because I am only active on Facebook and my account is private. And also I don't add people whom I don't personally know plus my photos is restricted to my friends only. It's a bit scary.

Thelma Alberts from Germany on April 16, 2015:

It sounds really scary. We should be very careful of what we do in social networking. Thanks for the infos.

Alliacia agba on April 09, 2015:

I think it's a bad thing.

Robin Olsen (author) from Rural Canada on January 27, 2015:

Actually we do know exactly how electricity works and how to generate and how to use it safely.

This article was never meant to 'scare' anybody. Simple awareness is all I am generating, and based on news stories, this is needed. At no point do I suggest it should not be used at all except where children are involved.

I stick to my guns on that one. Children should ALWAYS be heavily monitored and have all their online contacts screened by the parents. they should never have a single contact that is 'unknown' to the parent.

TTGReviews on January 26, 2015:

I feel like this is trying to scare people away from using social media sites because of the few dangers. For instance, we don't know why electricity works, it just does, but people still use it almost all day long. Just because you can drown in water doesn't mean we shouldn't drink it. Everything we do has some sort of risk or danger involved.

Although, I do agree that we need to be careful about what we do and say on the internet.

Robin Olsen (author) from Rural Canada on December 03, 2014:

Thanks for the comment. Hopefully not too scary - the goal was just to get people to think while on the internet the same way they would think when walking down the street in public.

There are certain things we wouldn't do and certain things we wouldn't say in public but the internet seems to 'trick' people into the illusion that somehow what they are doing is private and no one else will hear it even by accident.

Hopefully I am succeeding in changing some simple thought patterns when it comes to internet usage.

HK from London on December 02, 2014:

Very helpful and informative. A little scary too :)

Dragos from Romania on October 28, 2014:

You can never be too careful nowadays. Great hub!

Kristina Pitts from Newry, South Carolina, United States on October 08, 2014:

Interesting and very good article but you can delete Facebook. Here's how:

Robin Olsen (author) from Rural Canada on February 13, 2014:

what is a bad website?

hailey hallalla on February 13, 2014:

this is a bad website.

cliford on December 25, 2013:

Very helpful as a new user i find

this imformative

Robin Olsen (author) from Rural Canada on November 29, 2013:

This is just a warning to inform you that privacy laws vary from place to place.

Remember though, laws don't mean anything when your country has organizations that are allowed to simply ignore them or to 'work around them' - laws only work when they are enforced unilaterally.

So even though they say they respect and obey the laws, there may still be organizations which can either 'hack' the info or simply order the site to surrender it. If the organization giving the order is in the same country as the company that hosts the website then they would have to comply with the order. Foreign sites ... not so much.

So remember the golden rule always - Never do say or post anything on the internet you would not want repeated over and over again. Most of the security policies this site advertises are standard ones throughout social media but these companies that run these sites do not always have the last word in the matter.

funny123 on November 27, 2013:

Thank you. I was reading the privacy policy for instagram and found the following a bit troubling:

Instagram, its Affiliates, or Service Providers may transfer information that we collect about you, including personal information across borders and from your country or jurisdiction to other countries or jurisdictions around the world. If you are located in the European Union or other regions with laws governing data collection and use that may differ from U.S. law, please note that we may transfer information, including personal information, to a country and jurisdiction that does not have the same data protection laws as your jurisdiction.

Robin Olsen (author) from Rural Canada on November 26, 2013:

Had a look at this and, on the surface, it looks OK. they say they never give out info but you need to match that up with laws. they could be FORCED to give out info regardless on if they want to or not.

All websites have sysops so there is always a couple of people who could see your stuff but sysops are usually trustworthy. I would go ahead and use it if you want but just remember the golden rule. Never do, say or post anything on the internet you would not want repeated over and over.

Try to find some user feedback on the site before you join. Look for feedback on security (a big one, it is irrelevant to 'not sell data' if their system can be easily hacked) and privacy.

just type 'glom feedback' into google and see what comes up.

funny123 on November 26, 2013:

I just read your article. I was wondering if you ever heard of I recently stumbled across an ad about it. I went to the site and the privacy policy satisfies my needs as well as bunch of other concerns such as who sees what. From what I saw, you can do just about everything you would need to do as far as social media is concerned. If you have heard of this site could you let me know what you think?

Robin Olsen (author) from Rural Canada on September 19, 2013:

here is an example of what I am talking about when it comes to privacy and your photos on facebook

check it out yourselves