How to stay safe online by Aarushi Maan

” Stay Safe “, ” Don’t upload this picture “, ” Don’t accept follow requests from unknown people “, ” Don’t talk to strangers ” , are some of the things we often hear from elders and especially parents. Back in my childhood I often thought why is my mom always warning me? Why do I have to wait to be of a certain age to create a social media account? And when I finally had one, why couldn’t I post pictures like others? We as children as very innocent and do not know how cruel and bad some people can be, we don’t even have a hint that there are actually some people in this world that are ready to take advantage of us at any given time, who don’t care about us and can make us victim to some horrible experiences. Sounds scary? But there is nothing to be scared of. If you take care of yourself and follow certain measures, no one can harm you. I’ve listed some of them:

1) Don’t create a social media account if you are younger. This especially applies to children below 13. This is because with age you gain maturity and wisdom. You’ll have a better insight of how things work, what to do, what not to do.

2) Create a private account. Once you create an account on any social media platform, let’s say on instagram or facebook, make it a private account until you are aiming to build a career through social media platforms, or you want to be an influencer or something. Because you don’t know there are so many creepy people that would find your profile, like your pictures perhaps even save them, or maybe comment some inappropriate stuff. Plus, if your account is a public one, a random stranger about whom you know nothing about can access a lot of your information.

3) Don’t accept follow requests or friend requests from strangers. If you don’t know someone, don’t accept their follow request. I’ve seen people accepting the follow requests or friend requests of random strangers that they know nothing about, just so that they can have more followers or more likes and comments on their pictures. Don’t be greedy for likes or followers, they are not as important as your safety.

4) Don’t be gullible. There will be times when a random person would text you on your social media account that they want to talk to you, or find you attractive, or beautiful. Don’t. I repeat, Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the other person is a nice person and actually really likes you, or cares about you. Don’t talk to them and don’t share any information about yourself with them, where you live, about your family, friends, life, nothing!

5) Never send your pictures to anyone. If someone asks you to share pictures, even if it’s just your face, do not send it to them. Never send any kind of pictures to anyone. And if someone asks you to or forces you to, run to a trustworthy elder person and tell them everything.

6) Don’t be afraid. If someone threatens you, or troubles you, report it to a trustworthy elder. No stranger can harm you. Just run to an elder that you trust, perhaps your mom or dad or an elder sibling, anyone. Don’t be scared that they’ll scold you or shout at you, they love you and will protect you from any harm, ensure your safety and get the abuser punished.

Stay safe!

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