The dark side of social media

It has become the norm of the younger generations to post everything from selfies to photos of animals and yesterday’s lunch on social media sites. In a lot of ways, Instagram feeds become a reflection of the person and the life that a lot of young people strive for, and Facebook feeds reflect the person that everyone wants the public to see.

Social media can be a great networking tool and can connect you with friends who may have moved away or you haven’t seen in years. It is an amazing way to see what people from high school are up to at a glance, and to learn more about local businesses.

But it can also be a dangerous game; in the realm of social media, anything you say can and will be used against you.

Many students have recently been reminded of how dangerous it is to be involved in a social media fiasco. A video surfaced of two Mount Royal University students arguing over a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat. Unfortunately it’s an argument the student wearing the hat has probably gotten into multiple times, the only difference this time being that it was filmed without consent. What was meant to be a small argument between students within the halls of the school was filmed and put on Youtube for whoever stumbled across it to see. Since then, the incident has gotten widespread media coverage. Even The Daily Mail in the UK picked up the story. And there is no shortage of opinion on the topic.

The young woman in the video has since been bombarded with death and rape threats, and Mount Royal University has been given a bad reputation, simply because someone decided to film the argument and post the video to social media.

Threats to anyone’s personal safety are never acceptable. The fact that social media even has the power to open doors to so much hate speech, slander, bullying, and blatant ignorance, is something that cannot be taken lightly.

It is vital to protect yourself online. Whether you’re an avid social media user, or someone who only uses it occasionally, make sure that you’re not sharing too much of your life online – you never know what could become the next viral sensation. Take some time in the next week to update your security settings, because no matter how much you think you can take, you may be up against an army someday.

And as a friendly reminder, what you see on social media accounts is often only what people want you to see. Nobody is perfect and your worth is not determined by a follower count. Keep your friends close, and be careful what you put online.