In days long gone, social media was a fun place where long lost friends, family and close contacts could catch up remotely. However, as we speak, social media has permeated all aspects of our lives and what you post and do online can have serious and long lasting ramifications. This calls for restraint on our part when using social platforms. To use social media appropriately, you need to:

Educate yourself on social media applications

Whenever you are purchasing or downloading social media applications, ensure that you read the reviews and the privacy policy. Hackers use applications to get users personal details hence it is important to secure your account. Be wary of apps and games requesting to access your phone. Also vet the people you accept as friends as there are fraudsters and sex predators online.

Watch out for cyberbullies

A study published by Clinical Psychological Science journal reported that cyberbullying is one of the factors that has led to suicidal acts. A survey on more than 4,700 teenagers from across the world found that a-fifth of those who had experienced cyberbullying contemplated suicide and more than half acknowledged that being taunted online was worse than being bullied in person. Apart from ignoring cyberbullies, you can also block them so that they can’t access your page and be sure to report the user. Look for a ‘report’ button available on most social media sites.

Ensure your location and password are private

Media’s filtration does not fully protect one’s personal information. Make sure you do not turn on your location, don’t use the same password or pin on all your social platforms and don’t share your password with anyone for the sake of your security.

Keep it real on social media

Social media is a medium where we showcase our work and achievements but some people take it far by living a fake life online. Eventually your lies will catch up with you and you will lose people’s trust. You will also be putting a lot of unnecessary pressure on yourself to live the life you portray. Also, don’t fall into the trap of believing everything you see on social media as people will often stretch the truth to hide their perceived flaws and build up their positives to get people to follow or friend them.

Be wary of social media relationships

It’s a fact that there are successful relationships that have been borne out of social media. On the flipside, social media can break a relationship or even lead to a disastrous one. If you plan to physically meet someone you have met online, take precautionary measures like meeting in a public area and be sure to have a friend watching your back. Also get to really know the person before committing to anything.

Be careful about what you share

First and foremost, you don’t have to tell the world what is going on every minute of your life. Many people are busy with their lives to care about yours. Secondly, there are laws that govern social media use in Kenya, so think twice before writing something unverifiable, offensive or sharing that breaking news. Using social media to settle scores can also get you in trouble. In this era of screenshots, be wary of the conversations you are having with your friends as they could get you in trouble.

Thirdly, statistics show that more and more employers are verifying and evaluating their would-be employees based on their social media profiles. Before you’re even hired, recruiters and hiring managers are looking through your social media posts to learn more about you. So it’s wise to have a good online reputation. Also, watch out for social media addiction lest it costs you your job.