Reading the terms and conditions

Terms and conditions. I’m sure you have seen these words before. Whether you are signing up for another Instagram account or downloading an app, these bolded words come up most of the time. But have you actually taken the time to read through those long, seemingly endless pages? Without reading through it first, users will not know the legal information that applies to the platform.

As high school students, we are always on the go. We often don’t have the patience to read through what seems to be a large waste of energy and time. What many people don’t realize is that these pages of information actually have a purpose.

Terms and conditions are typically a list of guidelines that a user must follow when using a platform. It may discuss which actions a user can perform, the purpose of third party websites and the privacy policies that are involved with the service. What happens if there is important information present in the print that is ignored? If regulations are broken because of this, users can face consequences or the service may perform actions that the users do not know of.

If the text is ignored, then platform users may be unaware of how their information is being used or what it is used for. For example, many social media apps such as Instagram and Snapchat track their users’ location. The service can use this feature to see where and when photos are taken. Because of this, a user’s private and personal information can be shared throughout the internet without their knowledge.

Many platforms understand that their users will most likely not take the time to read all of the terms and conditions. Although the list of regulations is extremely long, there is a great amount of information to cover. Without this, the company will not be able to state legal agreements that affect the user. However, the design and wording of the print should be altered to make it easier to read.

Reading the list of terms and conditions can be confusing and hard to understand. Looking through what appears to be hundreds of sentences and sections can be tedious, making it a difficult task to do. It’s easy to see why many would rather choose not to read through all of it.

Nevertheless, reading the terms and conditions won’t do any harm and can only benefit in the long run. Although not all of the information present is necessary for users to know, it’s important to be aware about what they will be a part of.

By Sarah Lew, Opinion editor