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Davis Journal

Social media – the truth behind the post

Jan 30, 2023 01:20PM ● By Becky Ginos

BOUNTIFUL—It’s become the norm for children and adults to spend hours on social media. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok, everyone wants to know what’s going on in someone else’s life or they’re posting about their own. It can be a fun pastime but it can also be dangerous because predators are looking at those posts too. Bountiful Police Officer Joubert held a class last week for parents and their teens to warn them about what they should watch out for. 

“This is shoved into our faces every day,” he said. “It’s unavoidable. I’ve been a police officer for 15 years. It wasn’t a thing when I started in 2008.”

It also does great things, said Joubert. “We’ve solved a ton of crimes with social media but 5-10 percent of people are unable to control the time spent online.”

Kids think they’re missing out, he said. “There are social expectations. It’s instant gratification and reward seeking. But there’s video truths behind those posts.”

Joubert showed several posts where people set up a perfect pose and shared it but looking at the big picture they’re not perfect at all – but that’s all anyone sees. “We’re perfect curators for the museum of ourselves.”

Social media promotes different expectations, said Joubert. “There are physical expectations that cause things like body dysmorphia that get worse on social media. There’s material expectations where you see crazy things other people are making. When you try it it isn’t as easy as they make it look.”

Online impersonation is another problem, he said. “People can hack your social media pretending to be you.”

Others fall prey to things like catfishing, he said. “To prevent that you have to have an awkward conversation.”

Joubert gave the example of former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o who fell for a catfishing scheme where he became romantically involved with a woman who had created a false persona. “Then they request credit cards, cash, etc. Anyone can fall for this.”

Perhaps a well-known danger is playing online games like Roblox, he said. “You don’t know who you’re talking to. The possibilities are endless. Predators spend hours and hours normalizing a relationship between a 25-year-old and a 13-year-old. Tell your parents, tell somebody.”

There was a stabbing in Mueller Park with two people who met on Tinder, said Joubert. “That happened right here in Bountiful.”

Sextoration is also a growing problem, he said. “Seventy-eight percent are female minors. Never send intimate photos. Someone sends a compromising photo then the predator threatens to send them to their family or post them if they don’t send them money. Don’t send nudes you don’t know what’s going to happen to them.”

Bullying takes place on social media too, Joubert said. “It’s subtle. You can’t underestimate the impact you can have on other people. We had that case up by the ‘B’ where people got stabbed for talking trash on TikTok.”

Joubert referred to a show on Netflix called “Brainchild” that has an episode talking about the effects of social media and bullying. “Be the one who is positive,” he said. “Build someone up. Be curious – not judgmental.”