Social media provides safety in millions


Aliya Zakir

Social media can be a helpful place to spread information. The Sidekick staff writer Aliza Abidi thinks social media can be used to our advantage to make a safer environment.

Aliza Abidi, Staff Writer

“Did you see his story? He’s in the Bahamas right now.”

“No way, I’ll check Snap Map right now.”

Whether a teenager posts about their vacation to the beach or current activities at school, personal information has the possibility of circulating in the hands of millions through social media. The intake and distribution of information has exponentially increased in recent years with social media platforms consuming the lives of adolescents. Advances with new features in social media apps that allow easy access to new information and the commonality of oversharing has furthered the lack of privacy.

The diffusion of widespread information through social media is not always a negative. Though many may not consider it, this platform informs a wider audience, develops methods to assure the safety of close friends and family and raises knowledge of potential concerns.

For example, with features such as Snapchat’s location feature, one can inform their whereabouts to people they feel comfortable with and can feel safer on a day-to-day basis. Of course, displaying one’s personal information to a large audience is a security risk, but the use of social media to display location to a group of friends is not necessarily a cause of concern. Using social media to share with a wider audience, through multiple media platforms can find help and safety faster if one finds themself in a dangerous situation. 

Knowing where a friend is can help indicate danger or harm and help insure safety, especially among teenagers, as a source of tracking and identification. Personally, knowing that there are ways for multiple people to locate me when faced with harm can be a reassuring factor when being out alone. Yes, I would not like people checking my location without a reason but the ability to choose my audience and display certain information about me to a large audience is not always a negative factor.  

When I need help, I can post a message on social media. Not only will the use of multiple different perspectives aid me, but the ability of widespread awareness can help the majority share or aid a problem or potential danger.

For instance, the use of TikTok and its wide range of viewers are now used for spreading awareness of global problems. Stories of human trafficking, abuse and inequality have reached new horizons as the problems of a minority became a concern of the majority.  As many cases of missing people are solved with the help of the vast reach of social media and people reposting information, the online connection reaches thousands of hands willing to help, bringing safety to those who need it. 

For example, this is seen in the case of a 3-year- old toddler who was found with the help of  Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr retweeting the information to his 270,000 followers. 

In Dallas, I have seen many stories of robbery in grocery stores, especially among young women. I am now more aware of my surroundings with the help of the advice of people who were brave enough to display their private experiences with a public audience. 

With the use of social media being seen as a source of news and bringing  global problems to the forefront of people’s attention through the access of personal information/experiences, security and mindfulness of potential harm has increased. People are less likely to be in a situation of danger that they have already seen or heard about through these media platforms.

Not only do vast platforms help raise awareness of possible dangers, but they also create opportunities for individuals to reach out. Without the fear of being doubted or judged in front of strangers, individuals often request psychological, physical or emotional help online, in front of millions. This helps them find the support they need as shared experiences, foster empathy and with help from a few, lies the support of the many. 

Through this support people can find a source of comfort in people they have never met, often resulting in healthier mental well being as the concept of online friends through social media platforms reduces the sense of isolation or loneliness for many, helping find mental encouragement. In many scenarios, most often in TikTok, users send out help requests for funding, safety and emotional support. These are met with people all over the world aiding and giving support to those in need of security.

Keeping security a priority, but not undermining the value of a large audience is a perspective I have adopted. I am mindful of what I post and make accessible on social media platforms, but I know to consider that having broad access to information may not be a direct cause of danger. Help can be provided through the support of the majority and loneliness reduced by the diversity of perspectives. 

Safety should come from mindfulness of what information is let out to the public and where it is accessible, but not reduced to the thought that the numbers are what create a cause of danger. 

Follow Aliza (@aliza_abidi) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.