The internet used to be just something I could use to find answers or play games on. Now there is a new dynamic of use for the internet, and the thing is, is that it’s not that new. We now have social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and many more. These allow for gateways for people out there to hide behind their screen and call people out for doing something regrettable. Now a days these people are hitting harder than ever, and don’t realize the damage they do for some of the things they comment, while others are fully aware. Social media was meant to connects us to one another, and though it does do that, it can also tear people apart, and leave them broken.
I remember when I was in high school I heard the story of Amanda Todd’s suicide, and the reasoning behind it. Remember thinking, it’s awful what people drive others to do, it’s sad. I just recently re-watched the documentary on Amanda Todd’s story, and it made me think of how one little mistake can wreck a person. Everyone has made mistakes, some worse than others, and some too proud to admit to their mistakes. But in the end, we are all human, it’s in human nature to make mistakes.
Technology can be a tricky thing. Jokes can be interpreted wrong, and people only see/hear what they want to. We can all express our freedom of speech, but there is a responsibility that comes with this freedom. We all also have the right to feel safe, but that right is taken away when people get attacked personally on social media. Like in the Justine Sacco situation, if you watch the Ted Talk “How One Tweet Can Ruin Your Life”, it explains how she made a distasteful joke that was misinterpreted by the world. People were calling for her to get fired, which she did, and some were calling out that she be raped and get aids from that. Yet on that one remark, nobody called this person out for rape culture.
Way back when social media was hardly if not a thing, people would get shamed and threatened on the internet and personal lives would be ruined. Like Monica Lewinsky put it, this is now called cyberbullying, and it’s a real issue, especially in todays’ society. She experienced it first hand, and is still haunted by her mistake back when she was 22. Now that we have larger scales of social media, things can get around faster, and easier. Just take a look at SnapChat. It’s a way to communicate with people or show people what you are doing, and its pictures are only meant to last up to ten seconds. But there are people who screen shot, and there are even people who hack accounts and gain all the private photos of people.
As educators, it’s important to teach students the repercussions of misusing social media, and how we should be making positive environments within the web, instead of negative ones. We should be teaching how to use our rights and freedoms with responsibility. Students should learn there are two sides to every story, and though we get to choose what side we see, it’s important to know and understand both.