What Are The
Dangers Of Social Networking?

The dangers of social networking include the trivial like loss of valuable personal or work time to the more serious like teenage suicide following online bullying or blackmail. See other disadvantage of social networking here.

Yes. Everyone should be alert to the dangers of the use of social networking sites. This is true, whether you are a teenager, adult, or parent. It does not really matter whether you are a savvy user of the internet or online forums, or a newbie like me.

Social networking portals or sites have many uses and can be helpful in many aspects of life. However, this modern phenomenon may still present dangers to its users. These dangers are not to be ignored.

Top 7 Dangers And Risks Of Social Network Sites

The following are the seven most common risks or dangers of social networking site usage.

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1. Addiction

Believe it or not. Many people are becoming so addicted to the use of social networks that they are unable to resist checking their handheld device or mobile every few minutes, waiting for messages from friends.

They become frustrated if they do not receive any update from friends or comments. It has resulted in anxiety states, needing  psychiatric treatment. Do you know what? In England it cost about £13,000 to £37,000 to treat some adults who have become addicted to their online presence.

If you are finding it difficult to stay away from your Facebook or Bebo account, or indeed which ever social networking site you use, be careful; you may be walking gradually but surely into a common danger of social networking site usage. Addiction.

2. Time Wasting And Loss Of Productivity

Have you found yourself dashing to check your FB  (I have use FB here as an example, as it is the most common used social network site at this moment) account every few minutes?

Many employees find it difficult to concentrate and must log into their account, posting updates and catching up with the latest gossip. Is that you? It could greatly impact on your productivity.

If you find yourself trapped in this web of social networking site obsession (pun unintended), you must look for ways to block yourself from going online. At least during work hours. Many an employee has lost their job because of this.

3. Identity Theft

Another danger that social networking sites may pose is identity theft. On these sites, people may impersonate you and trick your friends into sharing personal information, downloading malware (harmful software), or providing access to restricted sites.

Social networking sites encourage users to enter and share as much data as possible.  An imposer may collect as much information as they need from your posts or regular updates to plan their attack.

Other times, friends’ accounts might be hacked and the imposer might send you malicious emails or attempt to get personal details from you. They may even send viruses or other malware to your account when you open those documents or attachments. In addition, people have been stalked through their indiscreet updates on social networking sites.

4. Loss of Privacy

This is perhaps the most subtle danger of social networking. The personal information posted on social network can be exploited by anyone, since it is open to the public.

Large websites like social networking sites back up their databases regularly. Therefore, information about you collected over time or posted by yourself never disappears completely, as they get backed up away and stored perpetually in their system. It can be considered permanently visible.

Once information is posted on a social networking site, it is no longer private and may be freely open to others, no matter how strong you think your privacy settings are. Default settings may even allow more people to see and comment on your page than you may realize. There was this story of a girl who thought she was inviting just a few friends to her birthday party, only to find out that almost the whole school turned up for her party because she sent out invitations using a public setting and everyone in school with a FB account got invited!

5. Cyber Bullying And Blackmail

Is it not sad that some kids and indeed adults resort to the use of the social networking space when practicing their cowardly act? Yes. Social networking sites are common places for cyber bullying to occur. Bullies may use these websites as a way of sending you malicious emails.

In a recent case reported in England, a young man leaped to this death because he was blackmailed with the threat of having nude pictures he sent to a poser in another country, posted on a social network site. He was tormented with words like you are better dead than watch your nude picture posted online, if he did not do their bidding. The result? He actually committed suicide!

You think this could not happen to you or someone close to you? Well, every user of these wonderful online spaces should also be awake to the inherent dangers and take steps to protect themselves.

6. Phishing Attacks

There is also the danger of Phishing attacks. You may receive an email that seems to be from a social networking site, but it actually encourages you to visit fake websites.

Those who have an account on a social networking website are often a main target for such attacks. A victim may be told to enter fake details onto a site like this and your personal details gets exposed to phishers. Phishing emails may also contain links or files with malware.

7. Threatening Associations

You may not plan to contact with some old friends or associates when you start off with a social networking account. As things happens, you could inadvertently get linked up with acquaintances that may eventually lead you into trouble. 

It could start as an innocent exchange of messages. Then pictures. Then the gradual building of strong bonds and meeting face to face.

A recent research published showed that those who spend a lot of time on social networking site are more likely to develop extra-marital affairs and cheat on their mates or even lead to marital and family break up.

In even more extreme cases, friends met through such sites have turned out to be sexual predators and in a case reported in Nigeria, a young lady was contacted through FB, lured to an hotel and killed.  Extreme, but not that uncommon. Does this not truly highlight the fact that there are real dangers of social networking site usage we should all be wake to?

If you are a parent with young children already exposed to the use of social networking sites, a must read book for you is The Parent's Guide to Texting, Facebook, and Social Media: Understanding the Benefits and Dangers of Parenting in a Digital World.

Dangers of Social Networking: Have Your Say!

Do you use any of the social networking sites? Have you or your friend had any problem as a result? I would really love to hear from you. Please post any experience or story or even solutions to any of the dangers of social networking site usage mentioned above or any related info. Just post it here!

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