We live in a world where thanks to Internet and social media almost everybody seems to be electronically connected – one can even get in contact with their grandmother in a ‘lost’ village in India. Amazing, right?!
It is great to know that keeping in contact with loved ones is no longer a costly hurdle; a quick text to see how your cousin in Jamaica is doing, a lengthy call with your childhood friend in Greece, or even a romantic relationship between Australia and America, purely based on those late night, early morning Facetime/Viber/Skype…. calls.
How beautiful is it to be able to connect with just a click of a button?!
Looking at social media and the Internet through these lenses makes it seem like a blessing.
However, are we actually using social media to strengthen our connection with the world?
Or are we using social media for exactly the opposite of its intent – to disconnect?
Imagine how many street poles have been hurt by careless humans who aren’t watching their steps while on their phones? However, and on a serious note, have we really opened up our eyes to see how our misuse of social media is devastating millions?
In our offline world we seem to be more and more disconnected from our families, close relatives and friends. Many more people are experiencing the deep feeling of loneliness and depression, not to mention aggression, violence and cyber abuse, all of which are shooting through the roof and causing increased suicide rates. What is even more shocking is that we are by and large simply sitting back and accepting everything that is going on.
When for instance, was the last time you saw an abusive comment and either reported it or stepped in to express your feelings about it? Or have you ever?
We have made sexting and sending nudes so common that it has become ‘normal’ and those who don’t do it are then ‘old fashioned’, ‘stush’, or just plain ‘boring’.
But what are we actually getting out of these ‘exciting’ behaviours? You know, the cheeky text at work, or naughty selfie from the gym changing rooms? Is it just an innocent game or could it possibly be another way to get the attention we so desire, to fill an emptiness inside?
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being intimate with another, in fact, it can be very beautiful! However, in a world where just about every other person, so to speak, has a naked picture on their phone of another person, how intimate are we truly?
Do we even know what intimacy is?
How confident would you be to stand completely 100% transparent (naked, figuratively speaking), without any protection at all – no walls, no guard, no holding back – in front of that person to whom you sent a nude? Why aren’t we making transparency the social norm?
Why aren’t we teaching our children that intimacy is not a sexual act? That intimacy is all about letting another person see you in full, without any protection, the mask/hurts you hide behind and your need to hold back.
Or is that too difficult for us to acknowledge, let alone make it something we talk about and pass down?
Maybe if we are more honest offline with ourselves and others too, we can indeed use social media and the Internet the way they are intended as an extended platform to continue to deepen our connections, friendships, relationships with those close to us and those who may not be . . . yet.
By Viktoria Stoykova, Student, UK