The Hidden Risks of Social Media: What You Need to Know

Social media has become an integral part of our lives, connecting us with friends and family, sharing our experiences, and keeping us informed about the world. However, social media also comes with hidden risks that we need to be aware of. In this blog post, we will explore some of the risks associated with social media and provide actionable steps to help you stay safe and protect your privacy.
Meet Sarah, a 25-year-old who loved to share her life on social media. She had over 1,000 followers on Instagram and would post everything from her morning coffee to her travel adventures. One day, Sarah received a message from an unknown person claiming to be a fan of her work. The person asked for her phone number and email, claiming they wanted to work with her on a project. Excited by the opportunity, Sarah provided her contact information. What she didn’t realize was that she had just fallen victim to a social engineering scam. The person on the other end was a hacker who was now able to access all her personal information and even hijack her social media accounts.

What are the Common Risks Associated with Social Media

Privacy Risks: 

Social media platforms collect a vast amount of personal information, from our location to our likes and dislikes. This information can be used by hackers, scammers and Cybermonsters for malicious purposes. For example, they can use your location to determine when you’re away from home and break into your house.

Imagine you’re on vacation, and you post a picture of yourself at the beach on social media. A hacker sees this post and knows that you’re away from home. They use this information to break into your house and steal your valuables. I was kidnapped from my home, there was no social media when it happened so I’m always careful about posting my social media pictures while I’m  traveling. Instead,  once I return from my trip, I enjoy sharing them to keep myself and my home safe.


Social media platforms have become a breeding ground for cyberbullying, with people hiding behind anonymity to harass and intimidate others. This can have a devastating effect on mental health, leading to anxiety and depression.

Story: Jane is a high school student who has been the target of cyberbullying for weeks. Her classmates post hurtful comments on her social media profiles, calling her names and making fun of her appearance. Jane feels embarrassed and doesn’t want to go to school anymore.  

I’ve experienced being bullied several times in my life as a child and even as an adult. It takes time to face and heal from it. I’ve incorporated daily gratitude, forgiveness and appreciation practices that made a huge difference in my life. If you or someone you know is experiencing cyberbullying, seek support from  friends, family, or mental health professionals.


Sarah receives a message on social media from someone claiming to be her long-lost cousin. The person asks for Sarah’s personal information, including her address and phone number. Sarah provides this information, only to find out that the person was a scammer who used it to steal her identity.

As in the case of Sarah, scammers and Cybermonsters can use social media to trick people into giving away their personal information or money. For example, they can create fake profiles and send messages to convince people to click on a link or download an attachment that contains malware. 


John sees a post on social media advertising a free game. He clicks on the link and downloads the game, only to find out that it contains malware that steals his personal information and bank account details.

Social media is often used to spread malware, with hackers using deceptive links and attachments to infect your devices. This can lead to data theft, financial loss, and even identity theft.

10 Actionable Steps to Stay Safe on Social Media

  1. Limit the Amount of Personal Information You Share: Be cautious about the information you share online. Don’t reveal too much personal information that could be used to identify or locate you.
  2. Be Intentional to Keep Your Accounts Private: Only accept friend requests from people you know and trust. Keep your accounts private and avoid sharing sensitive information.
  3. Be Mindful of Cyberbullying: If you see any cyberbullying, report it immediately to the platform’s moderators. Don’t engage with the bully or retaliate.
  4. Be Aware of Scams: Always verify the authenticity of any unsolicited message or email, especially if it’s asking for money or personal information.
  5. Be Intentional, Aware and Mindful- Be I AM and Keep Your Devices Secure: Install anti-malware software on your devices and keep them up-to-date with the latest security patches, review what apps have access to your location services, your camera, your microphone and remove what’s necessary.
  6. Do a privacy check-up on all your social media accounts to ensure that you’re only sharing the necessary information. Check inside your social media platform the location and sharing data settings.
  7. Encourage others to be mindful of the information they share and the risks associated with social media.
  8. Report any instances of cyberbullying or scams to the appropriate authorities or moderators. Make sure to document and do screenshots to prove the cyberbullying if necessary. Then, block the person responsible and seek support from friends, family, or mental health professionals.
  9. Educate yourself on the latest social media privacy and security best practices. Schedule time once a month or even a quarter to check who are your friends in social media and do clean up as necessary. 
  10. Spread the Be I AM – Be Intentional, Aware, and Mindful about the risks of social media and encourage your loved ones to stay safe online. Have conversations with family members about their digital life, their concerns, and overall perspective about technology. Make Cyber Safety Practices a part of your family!

By taking these actionable steps, you can reduce the risks associated with social media and enjoy a safer, more secure online experience. Remember, staying safe on social media requires constant vigilance and awareness. Activating to be Intentional, Aware, and Mindful – Be I AM can help you be in charge of your digital life and  with the right precautions, you can protect yourself, your loved ones and your privacy.

You may also like to read :- Emails from Hell: Spot & Avoid Email Scams During Tax Season (

5 Common Cybersecurity Risks You Face When Traveling (

Demystifying AI : Real-world Applications and How it Works (

5 Shocking Social Media Risks We’ve Accepted as Normal (

Live Happily Ever Cyber!

Sandra Estok, CEO and Founder of Way2Protect | Happily Ever Cyber!

Sandra Estok

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