Living in a “Black Mirror”-esque reality: How to prevent the dangers of social media

The Netflix television show "Black Mirror" demonstrates the many hazards that can arise from the crucial community platforms of social media and modern technology through a series of disconnected episodes. Here are some ways you can prevent yourself from getting to the point where you are too far into the mirror and can't seem to find your way out.

How many times have you opened up Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat in the past day? If you’re like any normal college student, you probably look at your various social media platform a couple times a day, or, who are we kidding, dozens of times a day. It’s not hard to figure out that social media has taken a crucial role in our modern day lives as a means of communication. But that itself is the danger. The Netflix series “Black Mirror” perfectly envisions the dangers of the technology that the modern world has built. If you’re familiar with the series then you already know how harrowing the dangers of our technology can be. While the show can be viewed as over dramatizing the situations, it’s not far out of the realm of possibility that technology can have dire consequences for us. So how can we prevent such dangers in regard to some of the topics discussed in the show?

Spread of Information

Social media platforms allow you to put much of yourself out there, whether it’s status posts on Facebook or that new pic you’re dying to share on Instagram. Assuming that you’re only sharing these posts with your close friends and family, it can be very easy to share that information to various strangers around the world if you’re not careful. It’s always a must to frequently check your privacy settings on any social media platform. Make sure the information you post is only seen by the people who are meant to see it. Information travels fast on the web, so if you made a mistake in posting something that you don’t want to be seen, even if it gets deleted, people will see it, or worse, preserve it (eg. screenshotting).

While the show can be viewed as over dramatizing the situations, it’s not far out of the realm of possibility that technology can have dire consequences for us.

Be Wary of What You Do Online

While on the topic of privacy, it’s important to be careful with what you do online. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve logged onto one of the school’s computers at our libraries and seen someone still logged onto Facebook. If you absolutely have to use social media on a public computer, be sure to fully log off of everything after use. For example, if for some reason you login to Spotify with your Facebook account and then log out of Spotify, your Facebook account will still be open. It can be relatively easy for a stranger to wander around your account. So make sure you fully cleanse any traces of your social media in public, or you know, the best solution, just don’t use it in public.

Social Media Popularity

Whether it’s the amount of likes you get on a particular Facebook post or how many people like your new Instagram post, social media revolves around the idea of being popular. How many likes does one post of yours get? How many people see your Snapchat stories? Episode one of season three of Black Mirror, “Nosedive,” perfectly satirizes the dangers of social media popularity in how low a person’s self-esteem can be if he or she is not popular enough. In order to avoid this feeling of low self-esteem, it’s ideal to realize that popularity ultimately does not matter. What matters is not the online “fake” version of yourself, but the real version of yourself that exists outside the screen. No matter how great a friend’s life seems to be online, at heart, it’s not who they realistically are. It’s the person they want to view themselves as. So what if you only have a few likes or a couple dozen likes on a certain post? The person that your friends or family will come to love is not the one posting vacation photos of a trip on Facebook or food pics on Instagram: It’s the you that they have experienced being with in person. The online you does not compare to the real you.

Online History
No doubt we’ve all had a look at our social media past, especially if you’ve been on a certain platform for a long time. Looking back at your social media history can lead to many repressed memories coming back to haunt you. You might either cringe at some earlier posts or even make yourself suffer from looking at old posts and pictures of an earlier, failed relationship. It’s not a pretty sight. The best thing to do here is to forget the past and move on. After all, the past is what makes our present selves become a better person in the future. If you do have posts of an earlier relationship on your social media, it’s your decision to delete them off those platforms. You can either delete those moments that have made you become who you are and ignore that the relationship happened, or you can keep them. Whatever the decision, just know that it’s best to stop living in the past, because the future is something that you have the power to change.Online History

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