Our research has come up with a general assumption that every social media app or website, irrespective of their nature, usage, acceptability, and popularity, poses severe constraints and threats to the users. Good and evil go together on Facebook and WhatsApp. These two social media apps have become so much popular that millions of people use every day for communication and information sharing. This write-up aims at the parents who should be aware of the dangers of Facebook and WhatsApp along with the precautionary measures to minimize the negative off-shoots.
Before we discuss the dangers of both, we would let the parents know what Facebook and WhatsApp are. Facebook is a social media website that is totally free and accommodates millions of users either with original or fake accounts. The site offers entertainment and recreation to all the people. The forum has no strict policies when it comes to registration and account creation. The open access granted by Facebook team accumulates grave dangers associated with every activity and eventuality users do on the site. Likewise, WhatsApp is a free message service that operates when the smartphone is connected to the internet. The statistics regarding use and number of users on WhatsApp inform that this is the matchless and unbeatable SMS service in today’s social media world. Not only can a user communicate via SMS but sharing of pictures, audio files, videos, links and group creation is facilitated as well.
The brief introduction to the two social media apps would let the parents understand about these. Most of the parents nowadays use themselves as well, but the non-tech savvy parents would benefit out of these to gain know-how of their kid’s use of Facebook and WhatsApp. Though both the platforms are for improved communication and better connectivity, the policies of the either are favorable for many irrelevant factors as well. The irrelevant factors can be defined as the unwanted users, cyber bullies, sextortionists, extremist groups and other social media culprits. Here we have collected the common dangers of both that teens come across while using them.
Possible Threats and Dangers:-
As we have already mentioned anyone can access these forums for communication and non-strict policy regarding use becomes very favorable for the teens to join and start using. Facebook allows people with age of 13 and above while WhatsApp requires being 16 years old. This flexibility offers immense space to the teens to use the sites that are only for adults and young people. The content shared here is not controlled, and anyone can share any material. Porn stuff, sexual material, abusive content and such others are very common on Facebook and WhatsApp. Moreover, no safety measures regarding profile and setting of the account on users’ end invite cyber bullies to join them with anonymous accounts and exploit their rights.
The kids using these forums don’t know exactly who is behind a particular account unless or until they talk to them on live video but here they may seat anyone else as well. The point is, the teens are not aware who they are talking and anyone can send them a request or pick up contact number and get in contact on WhatsApp. This public use of Facebook and WhatsApp offers the bullies to become friends of teens, talk to them, use them, kill their time, get personal information and ultimately kidnap or pick them up for any awful activity.
Again the rules-free social media becomes a hub of information without their definitions. A teen who should have joined useful groups for educational and literary purposes become an addict of porn material and talks to the people who have been doing this for many years. Your son, daughter or kid may share personal photos and allow cyber bullies to attack and encounter them. The personal message option, INBOX, on Facebook is typically designed to talk privately. What happens here is not known to anyone but the two; who communicated. Dig out and find what wonders the kids have been through.
Tagging and Poking, Calls for Bullies
Facebook has a feature that lets a user tag the people in their lists. Once a friend gets tagged, that post or material shared becomes accessible to thousands of people and spreads rapidly. This is one of the serious moments that kids often commit. They are not conversant that their tagging is a direct call for cyber bullies and predators. Tagging lets anyone check out and visit the file of the person who tagged others while Poking is used to get the attention of users whom people want to talk or communicate with. It should be avoided.
Statistics on Facebook and WhatsApp Use:-
Here we are presenting current stats that inform how many people use them daily and what number of information is shared on a daily basis. The stats are for the parents to understand that their kids are among millions of users and a direct target for anyone.
- Total number of users on Facebook is 400 million
- 700, 000 people join Facebook every day.
- 46% users accept requests from anonymous accounts.
- Almost 100% users have shared their contact numbers and emails publicly on Facebook accounts.
- More than 40% people share information about their families on Facebook.
- The account privacy of 93% users is not secure and protected.
- More than 630 million people use it every day.
- 100 million messages are sent every month.
- One million new users enter into WhatsApp word on a daily basis.
- The 50% messages of all social media, phone numbers and all inclusive, are sent only by WhatsApp.
- Average time spent by a user on WhatsApp is 3-4 hours daily.
- 30 million messages, 700 million photos, 200 million audio messages and 100 million videos are shared every day on WhatsApp.
Feasible Solutions Parents Can Implement:-
The above-given data reveals the whole story and we are going to recommend best solutions and precautionary measures parents can execute to enhance the safety of their teens and prevent them in getting into wrong hands.
- Parents should not allow their kids to use smartphones and social media apps until parents deem it right and appropriate. The age factor should always be considered while letting kids enter into Facebook and WhatsApp world.
- Parents can add their kids on their friend’s lists to check what their kids do and what type of people they communicate with.
- Educate kids on tagging and post sharing details. They should be taught not to tag anyone and share their posts publically.
- The parents must tell kids to enhance their safety by restricting irrelevant people. The SETTING option on Facebook lets a user build protective walls and decide who can check their profiles.
- In case an anonymous user irritates the kids, the kids must be told to use BLOCK option freely.
- Personal information like contact numbers, emails, personal address, and family information must be restricted only to known friends and those who can be trusted.
- WhatsApp communication happens through contact number so it must be kept safe from an access of cyber bullies.
- Kids should be informed not to respond any unknown email or message.
- However, parents can use TheOneSpy (TOS) kids spying and monitoring app that will access the social media details of a user. Through TOS app, the parents can ensure better safety and robust control over the use of Facebook and WhatsApp.