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Risks and dangers of social networks

We explain what are social networks problems (the risks and dangers) , in emotional, social and security aspects.

Social networks Problems (Risks and dangers)

Social networks are digital spaces of exchange and social entertainment. In them, a diverse number of users share messages, photographs, videos and other multimedia material, according to established communication criteria , thus forming a virtual community more or less open.

All social networks are based on the principle of the six degrees of separation , which dictates how all human beings are connected in one way or another from the link we have with a friend, relative or acquaintance, this one with some other relative or known yours, and so on up to six degrees of deferral.

This same principle, led to cyberspace, was enhanced since the massification of the Internet and the appearance in 1995 of the site classmates.com, which offered the possibility of connecting with former classmates from college, university, etc. This is considered the first social network in the history of the Internet.

But social networks have evolved since then, just as the Internet has done. Smartphones integrated social networks into other aspects of our lives . In fact, the use of these phones exceeds telephone communications: they are tools for reading, payment, socialization, etc. The possibilities that this technology entails are endless.

Consequently, along with the flourishing of social networks, new risks and dangers also emerged , which we will review separately below, classifying them based on the type of danger that each one entails.

Risks of privacy in social networks

risks and dangers of social networks privacy security
It is necessary to protect confidential information such as credit card numbers.

One of the great inconveniences of the Internet and especially of social networks is the ease with which private or confidential information can be made public or fall into bad hands .

From data as simple as the location (registered by the cell phone or any device equipped with a GPS), age, address of our work, school or home, to others much more sensitive such as our credit card number (or our parents), our phone number or bank account, everyone can be intercepted.

Theft of information can be done by hackers or unscrupulous users who impersonate friends , or intercept messages intended for third parties. In other cases, the information is obtained through fraudulent sales campaigns, donations or misleading offers.

Something similar occurs with intimate material (such as nude photographs or erotic messages), which although it is intended for a specific user and not to be freely disclosed, can be made public or sold on pornography pages, without the consent of the person who issued them, Believing safe in the privacy of a direct message.

The general advice to avoid these situations is to manage private information with an alert criterion: to know that our information can be used for harmful purposes , and that not everyone who uses social networks does so for the same purpose.

Do not accept requests from any kind of strange or mysterious people, or ever provide sensitive information in response to offers that seem too good to be true. Delete sensitive private information or encrypt it behind secure passwords, which must be renewed from time to time.

In the case of minors, it is necessary to instruct them in this regard and teach them that, although they seem a safe place, social networks are as dangerous as a lonely street or plaza.

Security problem in social networks

The contact through social networks is as insecure as contacts with complete strangers in the street , because the profiles are private and we cannot always have access to the information of who is on the other side of the screen. Making appointments with strangers, informal economic transactions are risky behaviors in social networks.

A case of special vulnerability is represented by minors , who can see on social networks an environment free of parental supervision to expose themselves voluntarily or involuntarily to the reach of strangers, or access sensitive or illegal material that they later do not know how to handle on their own. own.

The malware , malicious programs and scammers or hustlers abound in social networks. A simple way to avoid them is to always apply a rational criterion to the interaction .

For example, if you’re out of nowhere a beautiful Thai girl writes to tell you that you have been elected in a contest in which you did not participate, and that you will earn a fortune in exchange for revealing your bank details, it is most likely that it is a fraud.

Emotional risksrisks and dangers of social networks emotional depression

Social networks can make us believe that everyone has better lives than ours.

The impact of social networks on our emotions is a controversial issue and is studied a lot today. It has been studied that the networks forge a kind of addiction , inciting its use through subliminal rewards. It is known as the ” dopamine hit ” to the effect that their notifications produce in the brain, similar to what drugs induce in the mind of the addict.

On the other hand, the use of social networks can have a negative impact on our self-esteem , associated with competition for group approval . Social networks expose a world of popularity, happiness, intensity or success that rarely corresponds to the real life of its users.

The unspoken message is always missing: everyone has thousands of friends except you, everyone is very successful except you, everyone is happy except you. The paradoxical effect of this is to depress the user and encourage him to compensate for this feeling with a frantic online activity, dedicating more life to social networks than his own real life, and thus reproducing the cycle of sadness.

On the other hand, the algorithms that govern social networks pursue as many interactions as possible, based on an in-depth analysis of the data entered by the user: each time we interact with an entry in social networks, we are telling the algorithm that Show us more similar content.

The effect in the long run is of an echo chamber, in which we only consume opinions similar to ours and we reinforce the idea that those who are not in our select ring are little less than idiots. Thus, social networks have become a place full of radical opinions and much extremism, in matters of politics , religion and other controversial issues.

The consumption of so-called fake news or fake news is also an example of this toxic content, which only contributes to misinforming, spreading rumors or delusional ideas, radicalizing the opinion on a topic and, in the long run, emotionally impoverishing most vulnerable users.

Socialization risks

Social alienation is another important risk in the use of social networks. There are people whose virtual life is much richer than their real life , or who live a kind of alternate experience (an alter-ego) in social networks.

Thus, crucial aspects of his real life are neglected, such as productivity at work, study, interpersonal relationships in his family , etc. In many cases, social networks should be treated as an addiction , and some professional psychological guidance may be necessary.

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