So a few weeks ago I went to a public lecture at my uni, I didn’t even know these existed before but it basically is a lecture open to the public. The lecture was around the safety of the internet and how to keep kids safe online. It got me thinking how safe is the internet really?
You only have to type in google “Tic Tok” or “snapchat” and you will have a page full of headlines telling you how dangerous they are and that they are the worst thing in the world. Now being an “Instagram Influencer” I definitely think about how safe I make myself online as I do share a lot online and its finding that line where you are sharing enough but not sharing everything that could make you unsafe. This area for me is still grey doing what I do on Instagram, I always worry am I posting too much, should I post that photo of me in a bikini, studying what I do as well it makes this grey area even bigger as we are meant to keep our social media pages more private. I still chose to post on my Instagram as I feel I can keep myself safe and I would never post anything I felt was going to come back and bite me.
The lecture spoke about what parents should do around their children’s internet usage, its crazy how many parents have no idea what these apps are and what they can be used for. Now I am going to add that it is a small minority of people who abuse these apps and use them to target younger sometimes vulnerable children but it does happen!! However, if you are a parent and you type these apps into google the papers would have you believe that everyone on the app is out to get you and that you can never be safe on the internet, this has some validity but there are some people who just want to use the app for what it was designed for. You can imagine reading these papers the first instinct for many is OMG what is my child doing, I need to take them off this immediately, but ask yourself what are you really gaining from this? Yes okay they may not use Snapchat and be safe from people on there but the next big app will come along and they will be using that instead. What are we really teaching people by removing everything from them? Are we not just giving them the opportunity to find the next best thing?
The lecture talked about how providing a safer space for people to talk openly about what they are doing online is much safer than taking it away. How can we teach safety when your instinct is punishment? Now I use social media a lot and there is so much that even I don’t understand, which makes me wonder well how safe can you ever be on the internet? As the whole world of apps and social media develops the way we need to look at online safety needs to adapt and move with it. What worked for me when I was younger won’t work now, the younger generation have the whole world at their finger tips and these apps bring everything closer. Instead of shying away from these apps I think we need to embrace them, learn about them, encourage safe usage, this is in my view the only way we can get safer on the internet!