AN expert on social media has warned about the consequences of adding a friend on Facebook and “inviting them into your life”.
‘Think before you text or post’ and ‘instil sense of caution not fear’ were two recommendations from a workshop on Social Networking and Internet Safety held at Limerick Youth Service recently.
In attendance were staff of the Service and young people from around the city.
Delivered by Dr. Maureen Griffin, UCC, the workshop highlighted the positive and negative features of social networking, while stressing the consequences of adding someone as a ‘friend’ or posting a photo online.
Dr, Griffin stressed that “the aim was not to scare people into closing down their Facebook account rather make them aware of the results of some of their actions”.
“Although the majority of young people who use Facebook or SnapChat do so in a safe manner, there are some vulnerable youngsters for whom the web can become a very lonely and unsafe place,” explained Dr. Griffin.
With some people having several hundred ‘Facebook friends’, Dr. Griffin posed the question: “Would you class someone you just met in school or at a party as a friend in real life?”
“By making someone a friend on Facebook you are inviting them into your life. Would you invite a stranger into your home, share photos and share some of the most intimate details of your life with them?”
Dr. Griffin stressed that “just as we aim protect young people in life we should protect them online”.
“From the moment our children are born we look after them, teaching them the safe cross code etcetera, yet the internet is thrown at them without rules or guidelines,” she said.
Dermot Troy of Limerick Youth Service urged those who have concerns about sites such as Facebook or SnapChat to contact Limerick Youth Service for advice.
“People of all ages can have issues with social networking but the key is educating and understanding how the respective sites work,’ he explained.