Introduction: Social Media Cybersecurity
Social media makes us feel connected, but it is insecure.
How can I use social media safely and responsibly?
Aspects of Social Media
Social Media is Beneficial:
Social media can have a positive impact. It can be used for:
During the pandemic social media allowed us to learn how to cook, connect with friends and family, be inspired to create art, practice religious practices, and spread awareness about a variety of issues.
Used incorrectly social media can expose us to cyber-attacks and negatively impact our mental health.
We must be aware when using technology. Although, there are people who wish to steal and destroy data there are ways to protect it as well. By staying informed and vigilant you can be cyber safe.
As with any form of networked technology security is at risk. See the “Ways to Avoid Malicious Attacks” box for tips on how to stay safe while using social media.
How Does Social Media Impact Mental Health?
Many studies from multiple countries have been done. These examinations show that prolonged use of social media has a correlation with negative mental health.
A study from China during the COVID-19 outbreak showed a direct relation between the amount of social media usage and depression and anxiety symptoms.
The results indicated that these correlations are the highest among participants of 21 to 40 years.
Social Media is a Tool
Social media is not bad, and it is not good. People can use it to manipulate and steal from others or it can inspire and connect people from around the world. It is our job to acknowledge and use this tool responsibly.
Be safe and kind on social media.
How Do I Protect Myself?
Be Pro-Active with Mental Health
- Limit screen time to 30 minutes a day as suggested
- Turn off notifications to achieve restful sleep
- Take social media breaks regularly
- Control what you consume
- Follow uplifting, relaxing, and inspiring content
- Spend time without your devices
Avoid Malicious Attacks
- Use and change strong passwords
- Only connect with people you trust
- Don’t click unknown links
- Don’t share sensitive information
- Location, Schedule, Address, Phone, etc.
- Remember once posted, always posted
- Speak up if you’re not comfortable
- If someone posts about you and it’s inappropriate tell them.
- Update privacy settings
- Report or block suspicious behavior
- Always log off
Through my research I have learned that using social media responsibly is about more than avoiding malicious attacks. Being conscious of how social media exposure affects mental health is just as important as concealing personal information.
I have learned that health and safety go hand in hand especially when it comes to using social media.
Table from “How heavy use of social media is linked to mental illness” by The Economist
- National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
- 10 Tips to Stay Safe on Social Media
- National Cybersecurity Alliance Social Media
- Mental Health and Social Media 2018