The student news site of Lake Stevens High School


The student news site of Lake Stevens High School


The student news site of Lake Stevens High School


Logan Roberts
Increasing opportunities for people to engage socially online raises safety concerns.

Senate hearing brings more awareness to online safety

Officer Carter gives guidelines to help stay safe online

Top social media CEOs were grilled in a senate hearing on Jan. 31, 2024. The senate is worried about the lack of online safety restrictions for minors. They are concerned that not enough is being done by the companies to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation. In 2018, 90 percent of human trafficking victims met their traffickers online.

“Mr. Zuckerberg, you and the companies before us – I know you don’t mean it to be so, but you have blood on your hands.” US Senator Lindsay Graham said.

Big social media apps have very little regulations stopping people from making accounts if they are too young. Anyone can create an account and just check a box saying that they are 18. There is no real way to verify a person’s age online.

“I have been playing Xbox since I was very little, and when I made my account, I just said that I was 18 so that I could play,” junior Tanner Hanke said.

The people that have the most control over what the children are doing at the end of the day are parents.

“A lot of parents allow their children to use social media at too young of an age and before the child is mature enough to use the platform in a responsible manner,” Carter said.

Anything uploaded to the Internet is permanent to some degree, which means that past mistakes sometimes come back to haunt people.

Officer Carter has been involved with numerous police incidents where social media was used as a commision of crime, and with the internet and electronic footprint being so easy to track, it causes parents to be disturbed. Also future employment opportunities could be sacrificed if questionable content is discovered.

Practicing online safety is crucial in today’s society. There are many people out there who are trying to get personal information and trying to gain access to your data, whether it is hackers who are trying to steal identities or it is people who are accessing bank accounts and stealing money.

It is important not to give out any personal information unless it’s to a trusted company or trusted person. Hackers and scammers will pretend to be people you know or steal, create fake accounts and will post false information or do things to get these people in trouble. Junior Aspen Alexander says he has encountered many of these accounts who have tried to pretend to be his friends or say they will give him money if he gives them information.

“It was weird because I knew my friend wouldn’t ask me for this information usually so I felt weirded out but double-checked with them and he said it wasn’t him asking,” Alexander said.

Social media can be a benefit in society if it is used correctly. It can be used to spread awareness, spread news and information and help people stay connected. It has many positive attributes, but with these there are many negative ones as well.

“It never goes away. even if you delete it, some server out there somewhere still has a copy of what you sent to someone,” Dan Alderson said.

Alderson also believes that people will say rude and hurtful statements online, people have a feeling of superiority, courage and safety because they are behind a screen. Feeling as if they can say whatever they want because no one is going to confront them face to face.

“I’m able to hide behind my screen and say whatever the heck I want, and this isn’t just the youth. This is adults too,” Alderson said.

Carter feels kids don’t always live in the moment and miss out on key things. This also causes kids to live a fake life and try to compare their lives to everyone else.

Carter says some of the most important things to be taught to students about online safety are the following:
Nothing is Private
Don’t provide personal information
Use privacy settings to ensure better security and safety
Don’t post or send things you don’t want people in the future to see
Disable your application location settings which can reduce risk of stalking
Don’t send explicit photos or videos
There are adult predators that pretend to be teenagers or classmates that are trying to cause harm

“At some point we were taught to drive safely, and back when I was in school about gun safety. I think we definitely have an obligation as a school to figure out how to teach kids the right way to use social media,” Alderson said.

As online safety is so crucial as it becomes more and more a part of our daily life, it is important to remember to think before you post. There is never a need to post or send information especially when it can risk aspects of your future. There are students all over the country who have been scammed for things such as explicit photos or content. Once things are sent they are out forever and that is something that everybody needs to remember. So make sure you think twice before posting or sending messages and make sure you wont regret it in the future.

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