The Good Things
Social Media is of course a fantastic, awesome platform that enables us to catch up with friends, stay in touch and of course, allows us to share what is going on in our lives.
Not only that, when looking for employment, employers increasingly look at our Social Media’s presence and take that into account too.
Social Media is an unparalleled platform in history made possible by the Internet and many well-meaning Engineers all over the world.
There are other very important uses of Social Media as well. It can alert large groups to breaking news in their region, raise money for disaster relief, find missing children and so on.
When these things are taken together, it is as stated, an unparalleled platform for human interaction, and has many uses well beyond our personal interactions.
What I have written here is of course, not news to any of you. It is merely a recognition of it.
The Bad Things
Of course, with such a wide-reaching global platform for all ages – especially the young, it is therefore a breeding ground for those that simply want to exploit, to bully, to humiliate, to steal from, to intimidate.
There are many concerns here.
For those readers that are young, you might feel pressured, you may have been bullied as well.
You are not alone. This is a sad fact. And frankly, it is a sad indictment on us in general, that we can take the most amazing thing and perhaps suffer by using it.
As a young person – indeed anyone that has felt bullied or pressured on Social Media, remember, you are not to blame.
The 16-year-old Climate Activist Greta Thunberg said when she landed in New York on August 28th
“When haters go after your looks and differences, it means they have nowhere left to go. And then you know you’re winning!”
Well said Greta!
What motivation could anyone have to attack a young woman who is making a massive difference in this world? An inspiration to all of us.
The answer is beyond you and me. How can normal people understand hatred on this level?
Hopefully, we never can.
So my first piece of advice to anyone suffering from Social Media pressures and hatred is to please believe that this is not your fault.
Remove yourself from situations that are causing you issues. Talk to your teachers, your real friends, your family. Reach out. You do not have to suffer in silence. That will not be helpful.
Worst of all, do not accept help from anyone online that you do not know.
And remember, this is not your fault. You are the greatest gift you can have. Never let anyone take that away from you. Never.
It is extremely important that you protect your online identity. Imagine someone having the password to your Facebook or Twitter account? The damage to your reputation that they could do?
Insult your friends, your colleagues which might even mean losing your job? Being expelled from school? Having to explain (uncomfortably) to your Parents about comments made by “you” online when it wasn’t you at all?
Or perhaps steal from your bank account, take out loans in your name?
It’s all horrendous.
Passwords – and good ones – are your number one defense online.
Of course, your password isn’t “password” right?
Passwords need to be “strong” – but rarely used because they are too hard to remember. Or are they?
Let’s say you choose a password of ilovedogs.
Using this site it says that in can be ‘cracked’ in under 2 minutes.
But… if we change it to i_love_d0gs… That password (while still easy to remember) will take 5 years to crack.
See? Not that hard is it?
Use 3 words, separate each word with an underscore and change one of the characters to a number or special character.
And don’t write it down – anywhere.
- Are you prevented from seeing family or medical professionals?
- Are you made to feel like you’re not good enough?
- Are your wallet, keys or phone ever taken away from you?
- Are you made to do anything of a sexual nature against your will?
- Has a loved one ever threatened to hurt you?
- Are your texts, emails or online profiles monitored by someone else?
- Does someone else have control over your finances?
- Are you often belittled or criticised?
Answering yes to just one of those questions should be cause for alarm. Answering yes to a few is cause for serious concern.
Do not be shy. Reach out.
You must always be in control – not having others control you.
I’ve only touched on this briefly. It is such a wide-ranging discussion. I’ll continue this discussion in the next edition.
Our young are our future. People like Greta. People like you. People that offer no hatred to anyone or anything.
The people that do hate, are not like you. You are never to blame for their hatred. Always reach out, seek advice, seek out those you trust.
Issues like this simply won’t fix themselves.
Never trust anyone online that you do not know.
Choose passwords that are strong. Never write them down – and using the rule, you won’t have to.
Social Media is there to help us all – help us live richer lives, enjoying our family and friends. If that has stopped for you, then act.
Always be in control of your Social Media experience. Never, ever let it control you.