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How do I: Use Social Media Smarts

This guide covers Information, Media, and Digital Literacy concepts and Digital Citizenship for Gr. 9-12 students, as well as teacher and parents.

Social Media

Want to protect yourself from online social threats, like cyberbullying, and privacy threats, such as identity theft?  

Here's what you can do:


What is social media?

Social media refers to any website or online application that enables users to create and share content or participate in social networking, which involves the creation of online communities to share information, ideas, and personal messages.  The most common forms of media that is shared include videos, pictures, music, and text.  


Social media platforms either specialize in distributing and sharing individual or multiple forms of media.  For example, YouTube primarily involves video distribution and sharing, while Facebook enables the sharing of multi-media formats.

Sources: Merriam-Webster and Oxford English Dictionaries

What's hot and what's not: 

Did you know that 24% of teens go online "almost constantly," while 92% of teens go online daily (Pew Research Center, 2015).

Here's what's popular:

Scams on Social Media

Popular Scams on Social Media:

  • Clickjacking - see Avoid Online Threats
  • Phishing - see Avoid Online Threats
  • Fake polls - links that take you to a page outside of the social network and often ask for your mobile number.   (Check your bill for racked-up charges!)
  • Phony message - often messages from the social network that say "urgent."
  • Money transfer - requests to wire money to someone that you may or may not know.
  • Fake friend request - accounts that are set up just to send out spam.
  • Fake page - sometimes a front for clickjacking and phishing, offering prizes for forwarding to friends.
  • Fake apps - often a cover for phishing, malware, clickjacking or money transfer schemes.  When you "allow," spam is spread through your network.

Information Source: Get Cyber Safe, Social Networks

Image Source: Judith E. Bell, licensed under Creative Commons