What is Social Media? From what we know and have observed so far, isn’t it safe to say that all media is Social? A tricky question makes the very existence of the whole idea confusing, doesn’t it? We concentrate so much on the good part that we forget it has an evil side to it too. Millions of people are using Social media at any given point of time across the globe. With such a high footfall, the disadvantages of Social media are coming to the fore almost every day.
Take this case of cyber bullying for example.
Jessica Logan, an 18 year old girl from Cincinnati, had sent nude photos of herself to her then boyfriend. These pictures got circulated to hundreds of other kids right after she broke up with her boyfriend. As if this wasn’t enough, she also had to face embarrassment on other social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter. This was obviously too much to handle for an 18year old and when she couldn’t handle the pain, she committed suicide.
Her parents did file a lawsuit against her school, Sycamore High School and the entire matter was brought to the attention of the Governor of Ohio who later on passed an act against Cyber bullying, known as the Jessica Logan Act. The important question is, “Will all this bring their daughter back?” The answer is obviously “No”. An innocent life was lost due to the misuse of Social Media and we need to learn a lesson from this.
This is just one incident amongst thousands which happen almost every day. Some get noticed by the correct authorities while others just end abruptly and painfully. Our personal information is out there in the open and it can be easily used to create a duplicate driver’s license or social security card. Let me state a few facts just to give you a brief idea of the potential threats associated with Social media:
- Almost 15 million Americans are victims of identity theft.
- Over three quarters of all people using the internet, also use Social media. This means a major chunk of the internet using population is at risk.
- The younger generation gives more importance to Instagram as compared to Facebook. This basically emphasises the risk they are subjecting themselves to.
- The YouTube reach between the age group of 18-50 is more than that of cable network. People are seeing and learning more from the YouTube as compared to Television.
- Facebook has about 1.5 billion users who log in monthly. In other words, criminals have 1.5 Billion different options to choose from.
To summarise, I think Social media helps us exchange thoughts and ideas. It has given us the freedom of expression but it doesn’t teach us how to exercise this freedom. I don’t think anyone rejects innovation, but it must be watched carefully if we do not want another Jessica like incident in the near or distant future.