So as I’m sure you already know, social media is something that almost 2.1 billion people around the world are apart of. The average person checks their social media accounts 17 times per day and browses the platforms for around 2 hours. But what’s really alarming, is that the average teenager spends 9 hours per day on the internet. It is an incredibly huge part of today’s society, and sadly it is doing a lot more harm than it should…
This was proven over the last week when something occurred that made me angry, sad, and incredibly frustrated.
So to start with, an incident occurred this week involving one of my pets (yes, a pet). The days following the event were filled with twisted articles in the local newspaper, Facebook posts about what occurred, and heartless, insensitive comments from people who had absolutely no idea about the issue. I was kicked in the face when I was already down, I was told things that I already believed, and I had my heart even more hurt than it already was.
Without going into detail about the incident, what really bothers me is the complete and utter disrespect people throw around when they are hidden behind a screen. Social media has turned into something that people use as a method to express their feelings, educate the public and talk about relevant topics (and sometimes not so relevant)…
Small videos can turn into global sensations in a matter of minutes, posts can go to the other side of the world with the click of a button, and people can communicate with each other from the other side of the globe. We are all apart of it — it is an amazing thing — but it can be so damn damaging when used in the wrong way.
People are bullied, people are preyed on and people are spoken about in awful and malicious ways. Fake news travels 7X faster than real news. Trolls get protection from a screen and have the opportunity to write whatever they desire without having to deal with the consequences. People can be as self-righteous, demonizing, hypocritical and as complacent as they please.
When you’re on the other side, you tend to ignore the positives and focus solely on the negative, and in this incident that’s exactly what I did… It’s human nature. What I noticed from this experience, however, was the age of the people who were writing these completely heartless comments… These people were more than twice my age; majority with children and a family, who were taunting little 21-year-old me. What great role models, right?
This is why children grow up to become a bully, a troll and an unkind, insensitive human being. Think about your actions before you write comments; think about the impact on your children, and the impact on the human on the other side of the screen.
Today’s society is so dependant on the internet, but the disadvantage of social media is that everything that the world thinks is “important” is thrown in our face through one way or another. In a matter of minutes, news can reach millions of eyes. As time goes on, there are more and more people online who think their voice is more superior than yours.
You may think I’m a hypocrite considering a lot of my life is now dependant on social media, and yes I do spend a lot of time on it… But my blog and I are here to show you that education does not have to be negative or filled with toxicity.
Your opinion does not need to be a personal attack and it certainly does not need to cause further division to an already divisive society. If it does, you and I are clearly doing something wrong. There is no need to be a bully, an insensitive troll, or a downright terrible person. There is never an excuse to be hurtful to someone, especially when you know they are already hurting.
So before you write anything on the internet, stop and ask yourself:
— Would I say this to someone’s face?
— Would I want someone to say this to my family?
— Would I say this to someone that is half my age?
If your answer is no… I encourage you to question your intentions.
I am so proud of all the people who are kind and empowering to others on the internet. It should be a place to express your views in a way that helps others. A place to share your story and to keep in touch with people you physically can’t see. It is such an amazing part of today’s society, so let’s make it positive!
Encourage others to be kind, to be a good person, and to show their children, their families and their friends that being a role model is accepting when you’re wrong, when you’ve hurt, and when you know it’s time to change.
You do have the right to say what you please and your opinion certainly is valid (freedom of speech, right?) But there is a time and place for everything, and upsetting someone through your words is not achieving a thing. If someone is demonizing you, attacking you, or upsetting you… They are not worth your time, your emotions or your words. Be the bigger person and show social media how it should be done.
[ READ NEXT: How to be Sustainable in the World’s Most Visited Cities ]