Most everyone has an opinion when it comes to the pros and cons of social media. I personally think it provides many good things, but also many bad things.
I know it is hard to imagine that a young person would ever take their own life over something shared on a phone or computer. The fact is, it happens! What may have been an unkind remark about someone that you shared in confidence, it is now out there for all the world to see. From naked photos to talking about someone's sexual preference, nothing is sacred anymore.
Lately, some pages such as Facebook have tightened their security and have begun to screen what is being posted. It boggles the mind that there are so many people who would rather film a horrific incident than intervene in some way. How void of empathy has this new generation become? The recent hazing at a college that resulted in a death is just one small example of what is considered to be OK by young, seemingly intelligent beings.
How can we be so keen on paying it forward, while we do not show the slightest bit of human compassion in so many other areas? If we have not learned anything in the past 50 years, haven't we at least learned to be kind and accepting of others?
I am thankfully not "out there" at this time in my life. I am not expected to be in places that require me to "step up." However, I would never consider myself to be one who watches and does not act if I was in a position to do what is right. Shouldn't we still do the right thing even if no one is watching? Growing up, I was never one who could idly stand by if I saw a group of kids hurting another child or an animal. One instance that sticks in my head happened while walking from the bus stop from work. I saw a kid about 12 years old who was holding a much smaller child by the neck and hitting him in the head. I screamed from across the street, "Hey you! Leave that kid alone before I call the cops on you." He immediately let go of the little kid. The little kid then said, "It's OK. He is my brother. He won't hurt me." Funny thing about brothers. They will beat the crap out of each other, but defend one another to the end if someone else does something to one of them.
Bullying is certainly not anything new. Who does not remember at least one mean person in school who would push you for no apparent reason, or kids who would make fun of you for any reason from a bad haircut to the size of your feet? In any case, we were expected to just ignore them. Bullying now has taken on a whole new concept. It can literally push a young person into taking their own life. Is it the magnitude of the bullying, or just that it has a much larger audience?
Lots of positive things come from our social media/technology. Sadly, we must accept the bad things as well. There will always be the people who use and abuse every single good thing we may try to do. There are people who think it is OK to film vicious fights and cruelty to people and animals. It will continue to be an open forum for the sick and twisted in our society.
Many good things have resulted from the ability to connect with people on the internet. Some of us have found long-lost relatives. Some have found children who were adopted and who could have been lost forever. There are even many who have found a genuine love connection through Match.com and other such agencies. You can apply for a job while sitting at the computer in your jammies! No time wasted knocking on doors of employers anymore. You can go to college and get a degree without leaving the house. Heck, you don't even have to pay for parking!
Just imagine for a moment if your dog was missing. You could go on the Kingman Pet Connection online. In just a few seconds you could put a photo of your dog, the area he could be in, and give anyone who sees your beloved pet a way to contact you. Your dog might just be found before you print a single poster!
I enjoy reading good news from family members who live all over the U.S. and some who even live out of the country. I love seeing graduation photos, wedding photos and those kinds of things from friends and family, whose events I am unable to attend. This Mother's Day I was able to share my special day with many family and friends. I got to see how each of them had spent their Mother's Day.
Am I glad that we have the ability to reach out to people as we have never done before? Of course. Do I think that it has much room for improvement with regard to our privacy and security? Absolutely. Each of us needs to be cautious when we don't deal with people face to face. Remember, when someone is typing their answers you have no idea who you are talking with. I say "talking," but really just mean communicating.
There are those among us who give out way too much information about ourselves without ever saying a word.