Most of us have various social media profiles. Each platform showcases our lives in a light that we have control over. We can be anything, say anything and portray anything.

This freedom to express seems like the perfect way to find out who we are, what we hope for and what we expect out of life.

This is a large burden on us without us even realising it. We are forced to always be ‘camera ready’ and ‘have it together’.

The pressure to be constantly happy on social media is immense

When we compare our backstage drama to someone else’s showreel of their lives, we tend to fall into a rut. This rut plays games with your mind… that you are not as successful as you should be, not as pretty, not as accomplished.

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Social media can turn dark very fast. You innocently dwell in the past by looking up old loves, seeing them with other people, happy.

Where are you? Alone, looking at their profiles wondering if things could have worked between you two.

Bullies troll the platforms making others feel ugly, inadequate and frankly unloved

Thousands of teenagers are exposed to this and they don’t have the tools to deal with this kind of pressure.

It is very important to manage what you see, what you post and who you allow in your realm on social media. You think it’s your personal space but actually, it’s a playground and anyone can decide to enter.

Not everything you read is true, not every person’s life is as perfect as they make it out to be and not every friend request is because someone genuinely wants to be your friend

How do you keep yourself safe on social media?

• Make sure all your privacy settings are according to what you prefer. Limit the audience that can see older posts and new posts.

• Don’t accept random friend requests to have a higher friend count. If you choose to accept, make contact with the person via messenger first to decide whether it is a good idea.

• Most random people who send requests want you to advertise their business either via messenger or on your wall. This is spam, not real friendship.

• Change your security settings that no posts can appear from friends without you having to authorise it beforehand.

• Limit personal information to the bare minimum. Do not give your personal contact details like a cell number or address. This is very dangerous. There are stalkers and people with bad intentions who might view your profile.

These are a few ways in which you can protect yourself on social media sites. Remember that not everything you read is true, not every person’s life is as perfect as they make it out to be and not every friend request is because someone genuinely wants to be your friend.

Don’t be blinded by it all. Use social media properly and enjoy the benefits. Make sure that you are aware of the dangers and that you steer clear of the dark.