Social networking fits hand in hand with my generation, infact instead of being partners in crime I think it's one step ahead and defines our generation. It's at the heart of most friendships, disagreements, arrangements the list goes on... I am very guilty of constantly checking my phone, not even because I have new notifications or messages to read, but because I am unfortunately and rather embarrassingly addicted to swiping through page after page of other peoples Instagram pictures, reading other peoples tweets, checking my Facebook newsfeed and just generally living precariously through other peoples uploads to their corner on the internet.
As amazing as social networking is and the opportunities it has brought us it's actually stilted socialising and has created a generation that can hide behind screens, living their daily lives missing everything right in front of them because they are too busy focussing on a tiny screen and dissecting other peoples lives. I know I'd rather pick an email over a phone call any day, even though if I pick up a phone I'll get a direct answer, the thought of actually picking up the phone and chatting makes me nervous. Whilst we are shying away from communicating in the real world some people have found a new sense of confidence online, saying and doing things they'd never dream of in person. Not having to look someone in the eye and see their reaction to a comment has almost provided a sense of security and people are using this incredible tool to become your typical playground bully. Only difference is these hurtful words are there to re-read over and over and if you are told something enough times you begin to believe it. Many sites have ways of making your profiles private to minimize the traffic viewing your personal information, but sometimes it can be people who you think are your friends and you've allowed to follow you. Best thing to do is screen shot the entire webpage, including the url, date and time etc and print this off - show it to an adult or a friend you trust and depending on the intensity of the comments work out what the next step is. Then of course block them, delete them, unfollow them and don't let anyone's words bring you down EVER.
Sites which give you a chance to share what you're up to quickly, such as Facebook statues, Instagram and Snapchat have created a platform for childish boasting. Yet whilst they may feel it's necessary to share their incredible achievements, luxurious holidays and toned tummies they are suffering from a severe case of over sharing. You wouldn't stick a poster to your door saying the dates you're away so why do you 'check in' at the airport on Facebook and then update us everyday with pictures of the incredible views and delicious food your eating abroad. You wouldn't just lift your dress up at work or in the street to show your amazing tan line, so why do you upload a suggestive image to your Instagram for strangers and work colleagues to see. Snapchat is a little different as you are more likely to just have friends on there so I have noticed it can be used for plain boasting, although I have heard some friends have been roped into sending inappropriate images because of the promise that it can only be viewed for 5 seconds and then disappears - let's not forget that screen shot button.... The main cases are just over sharing - I could definitely tell you how the last month went for a girl who I went to school with four years ago and haven't spoken to since was, because of the insane amount of uploads she does. I know when she's working, who she's going out with, where she likes to eat, what she got for her birthday, when she's on holiday and when she's had a bad day/argument through cleverly chosen quotes. Yet if I bumped into her on the street I'd walk straight by afraid to talk in 'real life', as on one hand I feel like a complete stalker and that I know all the answers to any questions I'd ask, and on the other hand we aren't actually friends anymore even though I virtually know her so well.
So enjoy social networking, it can be fun and can lead to exciting things, but just remember you're not completely safe behind that screen and however much you think it not everyone out there is as innocent as you - so think before you post
1- Would I do this in the real world?