Social Media Epidemic
Social media has opened many doors to artists and business owners. It is a great tool for those who use it for the good. It has also connected people from all over the world. Social media has shortened the time it takes for news to get around and has made it easier for authorities to deal with crimes.
But when it comes to social media it is not all fun and games, there is a dark side to it. If you let it social media will damage your relationships, your job, and your overall reputation. Social media has also become an escape of reality for many. For others meeting friends has caused a loss of privacy and broken relationships. For many teens social media has opened the doors to cyber bullying. How can something so beneficial become so devastating? What will become of society if social media continues to take over?
I call it an epidemic because people seem to have lost all interest in reality. Recently I visited a restaurant with my husband and three children, after a few minutes of sitting down, I noticed a young couple who sat at table across from ours. As they sat down the man pulled-out his phone and the woman was trying very hard to have a conversation with him. After a few minutes, she snatched the phone from him wanting to know what he was doing. He forcefully snatched it back. She laughed and pretended not to be offended. But I could see it; the pain of not being able to connect with her loved one was frustrating to her. When drinks arrived, he took a break only to go back to it five minutes later. The woman gave up and reached out for her phone as well. When the food arrived, the waiter said: “excuse me”, since he was leaning on the table almost sleeping on it. He then put the phone away to eat. As I analyzed what I had seen, I felt bad for the girl and for society as a whole. How can you date someone who does not bother to give you real attention? I became fearful of the future that awaits my own children. I understand that social media should not control us to the point we neglect reality completely.
How is social media is affecting us all
Teens are among the most popular users of social media. The internet allows them to communicate with friends and also meet new people. These interactions open the doors to many dangerous relationships and to predators who are seeking young people to abuse. Recently I also noticed more children involved; allowed by parents to be exposed to people whom they don’t know. As a parent I understand that it may be tempting to give your minor child a phone and something to entertain himself with, but I think parents themselves are becoming a victim of what is now “socially acceptable”. We are being passed down the idea that if we want our kids to be “up to date” we should buy those phones and pads everyone has.
In my opinion and many may agree with me, but what children today need is attention and love. Children are relying on social media for attention and acceptance, which is incredibly dangerous. Many teens have committed suicide as a result of cyber bullying. We have seen many devastating stories of teens that have been stalked and bullied by complete strangers to the point that they take their own lives. The story of Amanda Todd, for example, a teen who committed suicide in 2012 is a story of struggles and a desperate need to be accepted.
Amanda posted the video listed below a few months prior to her suicide. She describes the pain that she went through, and the anxiety and fear that became a part of her everyday life until she committed suicide.
The Amanda Todd Story
Social media is also affecting our relationships. How so? Well, think about the example I gave you above, the girl will probably not want to date that guy again. Now, I can imagine in a marriage this being devastating because the couple is not spending the quality time together that they need. The interaction between parents and teens also is affected, because the child is on the computer rather than spending time with the family.
Where is this going?
We can think about our values and where they are headed if we fail to have the appropriate conversations with our partners and children. We won’t have a foundation or rules to guide the family; it is even of greater impact when it comes to society as a whole. What years ago was a “normal” family would have to be redefined. I also think that social media has opened the doors to new ideas. Children are exposed to things a lot earlier than they probably should. As parents we are confronted with a lot more challenges as a result.
Violation of Privacy
Being on the internet basically exposes you to a public you don’t know. This makes us a target for hacking and a violation of our privacy. Over the years many people have been victims of computer hackers. In other cases people have taken their photos and personal information and posted them in a site where the owner of the information has no access or no control of the information. Authorities say these hackers are very hard to catch, and many times they are in other countries. I think being aware of the dangers out there is the best way we can protect ourselves. We need to consider all information we share. As parents we must be more involved in the lives of our children, and take action at the first sign of any problem. Teens who have committed suicide have been connected to bullies for a while to the point they can’t take it anymore.
Many of the bullies that attack teens online are also children who go to school with them. With the new laws parents and teachers can take action if they feel the need to. As a parent I suggest that at the first sign of bullying that you report it to your local authorities and your child’s school. If your child is allowing someone to bully them, your child needs help. Don’t assume that it will just go away on its own. Many parents take bullying as a joke, when in reality it is something very serious. Talk to your child about bullying. Letting your child know that it is not acceptable to bully or be bullied. If you feel overwhelmed you can find a support group in your community.
Is bullying only a concern for children?
Adults are also being bullied via the internet. Anyone can b a target. I think that we must be careful of the relationships we make online. If we share information, we should analyze it first. If the information we want to share might affect our personal lives or families, than the best thing to do is not share it. Also a lot of people who work together communicate through social media, this can be a problem if someone wants to use it against you. Be careful how you relate to those people who work with you, and be careful not to give them too much access to your private stuff.
Likes and Dislikes
Many people have used social media as a tool for acceptance. They portray a life they don't live, and show themselves as happy and accomplished; in reality they are emotionally disturbed and broken. These people will not take a 'no' from you or any type of negative comment. When you share your personal information with someone like that, you run the chance of hurting them by not liking, or not sharing something that they think you should like or share.
In the past if you disagreed with someone you were forced to tell them face to face; which probably made people nicer. Now people say the most hurtful things through social media; knowing the conversation is not face to face. It worries me to see that people are not concerned enough with the harm they cause others. It seems as if empathy has been lost completely.
People seem to have also lost sensitivity to what is tasteful. They post all kinds of disturbing photos and messages. Recently I have stayed away from reading many profiles because I feel there is nothing useful in what is posted. I think that we need to take a stand and not let the negativity of social media affect us.