I’ve been thinking a lot, as a parent about how harsh we are to other parents. How when a child is hurt and harmed, we immediately blame the parents, even when it isn’t their fault.
In my recent post When Did We Become Perfect Parents?, I touched on this subject as well. Social media has a small amount to do with the phenomenon. However, there’s another factor we need to consider here. There seems to be a rise in violent crimes in America, especially in mass murders.
While I do not believe Social media is entirely to blame, I do believe it has had an impact. I remember when social media began with MySpace in 2004. I was in high school during the time and it was a big deal. You had your “top friends” and it was certain who was important in your life due to that list. I used MySpace to meet men in other cities and eventually moved for one of those boys.
Then, in college we had the creation of Facebook. I started using Facebook in 2006. It was a big deal, you were only allowed with a college email and you posted your college shenanigans without reprehension.
Then, in about 2008 they changed the entire set up of social media. Soon, everyone and their mothers, literally, were allowed to join. Next, in 2010 we had the addition of companies and more than just personal but also public pages. This made Facebook and its comments accessible to everyone. A lot of people started to say what they were thinking without giving it a second thought. People assume the anonymity behind their computer screen keeps them safe. For the most part, it does. People don’t come looking for you unless someone is really hurt. Except the government is always watching and finding an IP address takes about two seconds, if you really want it. The Internet is not anonymous at all.
But, that doesn’t stop people. They still feel safe behind their phones and computers. They continue to attack and take their thoughts about others, especially the mean, rude thoughts they would probably never actually say out loud and type those words out.
As you type out your words, they become your real life. As I type posts to my blog it reassures my feelings. As I type positive words, my day is better, if I’m having a sad thought, I get sad. So, when someone types angry and rude sentiments, odds are they are going to go into the world angry and rude. Your words become your actions. So, what begins slowly as a comment online, you soon mention to someone and then eventually you are thinking about this topic so much, you may decide to take action. Or, perhaps you are so frustrated by something you see you take out your anger on your children, husband or friends. When we are angry most of us need to find an outlet and unfortunately we may inadvertently harm the ones we love. Social media is not a separate part of our lives anymore and if we are not careful, it may become our lives.
Have you guys seen the video of the man verbally attacking the woman breastfeeding her child? I am venturing a strong guess that he is one of those voices on social media telling women how nasty they are when they breastfeed in public. When someone is vehemently against something to the point of aggression, they are going to talk about it. Most of these conversations happen online, but they do not always end there. A lot of these conversations create hateful actions.As social media continues to pour with hateful comments I am afraid it will only get worse. As a parent, this concerns me. How do I stop the trend and how do I teach my children to do the same? Simply put, like all things in life it’s self-control. Even if I disagree with someone I still need to respect their opinion. I need to treat them as I would treat anyone else.
I also believe it’s important to teach our children that unless they’re some super, genius hacker they’re not going to be anonymous. There will always be a trace to their identity.
As I type this post my son is lying peacefully on my chest. Anything could happen to him at any time. That thought is terrifying, but if I can help to stop spread hate I’m going to try. So, as you’re posting on social media, keep it kind, respectful and stop blaming when it isn’t anyone’s fault. A good rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it online. Save yourself and others the anger. Anger is only going to cause more anger and hate in our world. Something we need far less of these days