Pros and Cons of Social Media

Before I get started on today’s topic I want to say that I hope everyone is having a great holiday week and that I hope that extends into the New Year.  Please be safe this upcoming weekend, I want everyone to march into 2018 happy and healthy.

I had a different topic in mind for today but something happened this morning that really has me thinking.  I was checking emails and my daughter was doing her most favorite activity, watching random YouTube videos.  I was only half-listening but knew she was watching a series she has watched many times before which includes three guys living together in an apartment who do odd things just to get attention.

In the clip she watched today, the kids had gotten in trouble with the apartment complex due to all of the noise complaints and were being told that they were being kicked out of the building.  They seemed to think this was funny and were laughing throughout most of the phone conversation with the building manager.  My daughter was also laughing so I decided to use this as a teaching moment.  I asked her why she thought that they thought it was funny to get kicked out of their apartment due to their bad behavior and she said she didn’t know and that she wasn’t them so why was I upset.  I asked her if she understood how their noise affected the others in the building and how they felt.  She looked at me blankly like I had horns coming from my head.

Now, I know that a large percentage of these videos are not real, stunts just to get viewers and ratings but unfortunately some people don’t realize this and believe these things are really happening.  This causes some people, kids especially, to try to outdo each other by making videos that are bigger and badder so they can get attention on themselves.

We have multitudes of kids who think that every moment of their lives need to be put out there so others know what they are doing.  They post multiple pictures a day of themselves just to see if anyone is looking. Why do I care that you have to go to Walmart to buy shampoo?  Why do I need to know what club you are hanging out at tonight?  We are raising an entire generation of people who do not understand the concept of privacy or “need to know”.  We are also raising a generation, multiple generations in fact, of people who think that as long as they are getting attention, they can do whatever they want and other people’s feeling and safety be damned.

Don’t get me wrong, social media platforms can be a good thing.  We are able to stay connected with family and friends who we don’t see as often as we would like.  We are able to spread information at an alarmingly fast rate, making sure society is kept aware of news, both good and bad.  Very few things are kept hidden from the public, it is right in front of us if we take the time to look.

But my concern is that people are growing more concerned with publicity and less concerned with manners and civility.  They think it is funny to watch someone get hurt.  They think it is funny to watch someone struggle.  And why not?  It got them attention, right?

We need to teach our kids that they should attempt to think of others sometimes before themselves.  We need to figure out a way to balance attention and civility.  Sadly, I see things getting much worse before they get better.  What will it take to turn this around?  I’m afraid we will find out very soon and by then I fear it will be too late.


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