A letter to the Government about a Social Networking Issue

I am writing this letter to bring to your attention to multiple Social network issues which I avidly feel must be strongly addressed immediately. My concern for this is very serious and I believe this issue is a major factor in our age. Social Networking is one of the literal essences of our era. Around the world, many people rely on Social Networking sites such as, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to express their feelings freely, to arrange events with others or to communicate with people across the globe or across the room.

Being protected on the Internet is as imperative as being protected in real life, due to the amount of hackers and spies there are. There are many hazards included with the package of a Social Networking account. Some of these risks are: hijacked information, viruses or spyware within attachments or pictures, access to age inappropriate content, cyber-bullying/stalking and many others. Although intended for good, these particular sites can lead to drastic harm, physical and psychological. Cyber bullying poses as a large threat among our society.

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Every day, children and teenagers alike are being bullied behind walls with no one to turn to. Cyber bullying can be as simple as repeatedly sending online messages or distressing somebody who has said they want no more interaction with the bully. It may also include repeated threats, false accusations, and pointless humiliation or otherwise continuously being tormented by someone online. By ganging up on a victim, this make the person the subject of teasing in online chats, posting false announcements as facts, aimed at interrogating or humiliating the targeted person.

Hiding behind a username is a simple thing to do. Bearing this in mind, bullies can easily send anonymous hate messages to victims who cannot retaliate because they are most likely to be weaker, this making them easier targets. I feel this is a very important task to deal with because according to the Cyberbullying Research Center, “there have been several highaprofile cases involving teenagers taking their own lives in part because of being harassed and mistreated over the Internet, a phenomenon we have termed cyberbullicide – suicide indirectly or directly influenced by experiences with online aggression. Another demanding issue is Phishing.

Phishing is the illegal practice of sending emails claiming to be from trustworthy companies in order to encourage individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers, on the internet. Phishing is a continuous threat which keeps growing to this day. The risk grows even larger in Social Networking Sites, where there are many people in one group, making them an easy target.

Hackers commonly use these sites to attack people at home, or in public such as, airports, internet cafes or libraries in order to take personal and security information which can affect the user or even a company, if set in a workplace environment. Another form of Phishing is the recently devised term, Cat Phishing. It is to create a fake online identity to deceive people into a long-term romantic or idealistic relationship. Cat phishing is not always built around romance. Some may create a fake identity to set a ploy for a cheating partner or to spy on someone, without leaving any evidence of their true selves.

These scammers may seem like real people but they are a few ways to know if they are truly legitimate. For example, unexpectedly an extremely attractive person begins talking to you online, this single finds apologies to not give their phone number, they will not give you a genuine house address or finally when you agree to meet up, an excuse will appear, preventing you from visiting them. Recent research from the Pew Internet Project suggests that 93% of Americans from ages 12 to 17 use the Internet, and 55% of those teens use Social Networking Sites.

Teenagers are posting enormous amounts of private information on their online profiles, so it is vitally imperative that the youth today use strict security settings and are aware about the people they permit to view their personal profile. Since these teenagers are frequently attempting to get the attention and gain a response from others, a few teens have a tendency to post content to seem popular or to increase a reaction from others in their online group of friends.

No information is truly private in the online world no matter the size, as big as The Pacific Ocean or as small as a neutron, an online ‘friend’ can forward any information posted in a moment. Sometimes, the fun in Social Networking Sites is to create new friends. But teenagers should remember, not everyone they add is a friend. By using their privacy settings correctly, people can keep their real friends whom they can rely on and trust and stay away from stalkers and scammers. There are many free security softwares available to download for free.

Parents should teach their children that these are the best defenses against viruses, malware, spyware and other threats. The Government can be a very good help in this mission of removing all causes of these problems. By making sure teenagers know how to stay safe, you can encourage them to tell you if they come across anything distrustful or if anybody says/does an action which makes them feel uncomfortable or vulnerable. Bots should be introduced to computers which are frequently used by children; in schools, libraries or at home. These bots will filter search results to limited content, free from adult-related material.

An alternative method will be to install an Internet content filter which works in a similar way. By discussing the risks and making up some rules which the parent and teenager both comfortably agree with, teenagers will most likely become more aware of what they do on the Internet. They should be taught how to report content which they feel is not suitable to their liking. There are many more problems not yet in mainstream consciousness which need to be more publicized around the world. I request your help in increasing the safety of users using Social Networking Sites.

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