Social Media and Internet Safety

Student, teacher, and professional opinion on the dangers of social media.


Laney Lark

Dan Finan in front of slide at the beginning of his presentation regarding social media safety.

by Laney Lark, Reporter, Copy Editor

April 27, 2023 Central Kitsap High School held a presentation titled “Gen Z and the Social Media World” where speaker Dan Finan talked to parents and community members about the dangers of social media and the importance of internet safety.

Poster provided by Central Kitsap High School regarding the event of, “Gen Z and the Social Media World.

“I think [social media is] the major issue facing our younger generation today,” said Finan. “With all of the pressures that social media brings given that it’s the primary means through which young people communicate and all the harms that can come to you on social media.” 

Throughout the presentation Finan showed slides where he explained how to spot unsafe behavior and language that he himself has had to deal with before while working as a police officer specializing in social media intelligence and investigations.

“I think primarily, it’s important that parents are educated so that they can in turn educate their kids, because parents are going to have wisdom that kids don’t, and can pass that on to their kids so that their kids can engage in social media in a safe way,” said Finan. 

While the crowd mostly consisted of parents of students in Central Kitsap School District, Finan made a point to target teenagers and tell them that they are the first step in keeping themself safe.

“I think that you guys as teenagers are going to have the real world firsthand experience that your parents are not going to have,” said Finan. “And having the courage to talk to your friends when you yourself got caught up in a dicey situation on social media and explaining how it happened and thinking about ways that you could prevent that from happening again and just sharing that with your friend group. So that you can protect each other.”

Finan worked for social media intelligence and investigation for 14 years. But he wants to educate the future, which means teenagers and children. 

“I would say that you guys know more than us,” said Finan. “And we are all going to be looking to you guys for guidance and in the future when it comes to technology. So I would say be empowered by the fact that you are going to be able to make a difference in the world and in the world of technology in the future. And try and work towards the good so that you in turn can protect the generation that comes after you.” 

Not only is being safe on social media important to police officers like Finan but it is also important to Central Kitsap High School librarian Steve Trunkey. 

“Well, with the whole misinformation and disinformation side of things it’s extremely worrisome,” said Trunkey. “And now you have to add in AI. So you don’t even know if it’s a person necessarily spreading this stuff.”

Trunkety encourages students to think before they post and share in order to keep them safe.

Dan Finan speaking during his presentation on social media safety. (Laney Lark)

“Have some thought before you share things with your friends or your family and that kind of thing,” said Trunkey. 

Students can also be aware of the dangers of social media, much like Vassilisa Joslyn who’s mother had strong opinions on her daughter having social media. Saying that she believed that everyone on the internet was “out to get” her. 

“I believe it definitely can be [dangerous],” said Joslyn. “It’s definitely very scary but I think you can use it responsibly. Just, obviously, don’t share your password, don’t share personal information with people you don’t know and it can be dangerous in the fact that you can get your life sucked into it.”