Generally, online social networking means no harm to the users. These online social networking sites have been created for the basic grounds of pure fun. And indeed they are! A lot of high school and college students are into the hype. They are very fond of signing up to social networks. Online social networking enables people to stay in close contact with individuals who are interested in meeting friends, building relationships, and those who are simply interested to share a part of themselves.

How come that online social networking is an evident avenue of imploring danger particularly to teens?

Like a dark and deserted road, online social networking presents various facets of good and bad arenas. As for the good part, online social networking is a form of communication. It enables people to stay connected no matter how far they are from each other. It is a means of meeting new people, strengthening the foundations of friendship, and so on. But then just like any other thing, there is a graver side to that. There are predators and monstrous creatures that are hidden on all corners. Teenagers in particular are the most common victims. Why so?

A lot of dangers are manifested through these online social networking. There are those pedophiles who are on the look out for young women, married people who intend to start with illicit love affairs, and some individuals who would simply get sick if they are not able to harass the younger generations. Sometimes, malicious ads also creep the online social networking websites that adult-oriented stuffs just pop out of nowhere as the members start browsing the internet.

It is very common for teenagers to spot nude photos of people, pornographic videos, and the likes. There are also hundreds of individuals who manage to start a good friendship but then there lay their ulterior motive of bringing harm to the youngsters.

What can online social networking website administrators do to stop these occurrences?

The malicious practices of less humane individuals stain the real purpose of these online social networking websites. They impose harm to the innocent users of this communication medium. Website administrators tend to let members report the illegal and profane use of profiles that they encounter, the uploading of pornographic materials, and other harmful and threatening occurrences. As much as possible, the members should be 18 years old and above but because it is an online form of communication, several people adjust their age for them to be able to successfully sign up. There are also online social networking websites which only allow wholesome stuff to be uploaded so that the younger members will not get harassed in any form.

What implication does this harm or threat pose to the society?

Regardless of the malicious intents of the pervert members of online social networking, it only proves to everyone how unsafe the world is today. It does not only cover the sake of the teenagers but of the adults as well. Imagine: if harassment can happen to teenagers, so can it happen to the adults.

There lies the question of whom to trust and whom not to trust, of the safe and the unsafe, and a lot more other pressing concerns. Therefore parents and website administrators should work hand in hand to protect the welfare and innocence of both the kids and the adults.

Joshua Shoemaker

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