Social media has changed many things about how people receive information and stay in contact with family and friends by expressing their opinions with a larger audience.
Use of social media has both pros and cons on how it is used. There are a lot of benefits with staying in contact and sharing parts of our lives with others through social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, to name just a few.
I remember years ago walking a foot patrol in Bonners checking on downtown businesses late at night and seeing a small sign in one of the business windows, that said, “nothing ever happens in a small town, but what you hear makes up for it.” When you see some of the Facebook posts, it brings that saying to life.
On the positive side of using social media, it does allow you to stay in contact with friends and family and keep updated with the most current photos. When I see people posting about the vacation they are going to be taking, it is an opening for potential criminals to know when you are going to be out of town. I would suggest that you wait until you return from vacation to post your great photos and adventures instead of before you leave.
Social media also allows for quick sharing of public health and safety information and such things as road conditions, school closures, as well as active criminal activity in a specific area, keeping citizens alert and notified.
On the cons of using social media, it has been used for cyberbullying, crimes against children, and many other fraud type crimes. Often there is too much personal information that is shared on social media. In fact, I think some people are addicted to social media by the constant information that they are sharing. With access to so much on the internet and social media sites, it is important to have a discussion with all family members on proper use and not sharing too much personal information.
Like many things, a few people bring out the negative ways to use and abuse social media, while the majority of people have embraced the opportunity to be able to stay in touch and communicate. I still appreciate when I receive a handwritten card from a friend, but also enjoy being able to stay connected with friends that are scattered around various parts of the world through social media.
If you use social media remember not to share too much personal information and remember that what you put out on social media may be there for a long time.
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Dave Kramer is the sheriff of Boundary County.