Social Media – the wonderful, dangerous double-edged sword

We all love checking our Facebook and Instagram, having a look at what people are up to and how everyone is doing, although who is to say that people are showing the reality in their lives when they post something online. The problem is that people seem to run to Facebook or another social media platform as soon as something happens, be it good or bad. The concerning thing is that the bad things and negativity spread like wild fire. People get all revved up and it breeds hate, racism and even depression or anxiety.

I love being able to have constant contact with friends and family abroad and seeing their updates. Seeing pictures of my niece in Canada is my absolute favourite. I love sharing my photos and I love the “feel good” things that we share amongst our social media friends, or within our social media circles. I think in a way we have lost the human part of interaction to some degree, which is saddening.

Lately the dangers of social media have become top of mind for me. Sadly, more negativity seems to be doing the rounds on social media than ever before. Fake News is being spread at an alarming rate and when I look at the pages spreading Fake News there are hundreds of thousands of followers or likes. One I looked at last week, had over 350,000 likes. All spreading the Fake News and negativity, fueling people’s anxiety and fear mongering. People seem to blindly share without even checking if the story comes from a reliable source and the sharing is definitely not of a positive nature. The world of social Media is breeding hate, fear and worse.

Everyone seems to think that they can share anything and have all sorts of opinions behind a computer, people don’t even realise the danger of what they are sharing or how it may affect lives. Someone has an opinion about something that occurred and shares their opinion online in a group or on a page, this fuels responses and eventually people’s lives are being changed without the faceless social media mob even knowing or understanding the actual story. Even more scary is that people don’t even realise the damage they are doing.

We are all aware of cyber bullying and how badly it can end, however, do people actually think before posting an opinion or sharing something that they feel to be right when in fact it is far from it. Do people think before they post? Do they think about the damage they may cause? In the dangerous times of social media everyone seems to be a crime fighter even if they don’t know what they are talking about, everyone is a Doctor, and everyone is a Lawyer, everyone is an expert. Sitting with a phone in hand or behind a computer, it is easy to say what you want to… However, the reality is what you say could ruin someone’s day, week, month, year or life.

I once saw a post on a community WhatsApp group about a suspicious vehicle…. mine!! I had parked outside a house where my daughter had been visiting to fetch her. Due to the large amount of drama within the family that lived in the house, I decided to sit outside the house and message my daughter that I was outside. The funny thing about teenagers is their phones are permanently attached to their hand until a parent needs to get hold of them. When she didn’t answer or read my message I phoned instead, then sat waiting for her to come out (teenage girls can take their time!). Suddenly I was a suspicious vehicle. I don’t feel like I look very suspicious at all to be honest. And I certainly was not doing anything suspicious. I sent a message to the community group complaining that some people on the group were creating unnecessary fear-mongering. The community was on the lookout for a suspicious vehicle with a mom and daughter in…well played! I feel like the world has gone slightly crazy. Everyone has something to say about everything and everyone.

As users of social media, we should use it responsibly and also think about the consequences before we post or share. Can sharing something cause pain to someone or cause a negative reaction. Can something we share cause racism or worse. And most of all, actually checking that the “so called” news you are sharing is true before sharing it. Please insure that your children are well informed and educated when it comes to social media. Make sure that they are not posting anything that could get them into trouble or talking to people that they do not know and could pose a danger to them.

Social Media is an amazing and wonderful yet dangerous thing, it should come with instructions and a long list of rules! Laws worldwide are being put into place and you could land up in a spot of legal trouble for saying(or should I say typing) the wrong thing. Social media is public domain, we don’t just attack random people in public (or most of us don’t) so get a grip and remember if you wouldn’t say something to someone’s face, then don’t post it on social media. Think about what your sharing of negativity does, how it affects everyone who sees it. Spread positivity instead, make people smile instead of making them angry.

Be a light in the darkness, because no light can be hidden in the dark of night.

Media Online article

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