Social Media is a term used to refer to online locations designed to allow users to interact with one another, these could be:
• Websites such as Facebook.com, Twitter.com, MySpace.com
• Photo or video sharing sites such as YouTube.com, Instagram.com, Pinterest.com
• Chat rooms such as TalkCity.com, ICQ.com, TeenSpot.com
• Games and gaming services through Nintendo, Playstation, Xbox and Computer Gaming.
• Dating sites such as Match.com, Zoosk.com
And many more
New websites, games and chat rooms appear daily and some users prefer less popular locations where their activity may be less restricted or where parents and authority figures are less likely to monitor them.
It is very common for social media to require users to create profiles that contain basic information such as name, age, sex, but also encourage much more information such as nicknames, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, home town location, birth date, photos, videos, clubs they belong to, hobbies they have, schools they attend, movies and books they like, music they listen to, places they work, and sports teams they are part of.
Many users assume that the personal information they provide will be private or only viewable to people they select, however, this may not be the case. Many forms of social media have little or no security setting relying upon the user to be discrete. When security settings are present, the settings must be set up properly or they may provide little protection. Often when a social media location is updated some settings, including security settings, are reset to defaults and users may find that some of the information they supplied, comments they made, or pictures they uploaded are now available for anyone to see.
It is important to realize:
Anything posted online may be permanent, and it can be used against you. Photos, videos, and statements, could reappear without the posters permission on other websites, or be used in a damaging way against the poster, sometimes years after they were originally made.
Images may contain more information than just a picture, some smartphones and cameras will also include information such as where the photo was taken (GPS coordinates), phone number, date taken, and more in the EXIF data.
Privacy settings only go so far, the best practice is to not post any information you would not be comfortable sharing with the world.
Online background checks are being done more and more. What does your social media presence say about you? College admissions, job interviewers, law enforcement, bosses, teachers, religious leaders, creditors, and more may be looking at the information you post to social media and using that information to evaluate the type of person you are.
An excellent resource has been put together for you at http://www.ag.idaho.gov/internetSafety/protecTeens.html