One Step Forward, Two Quick Steps Back

Online connectivity comes with many pros. Communication through long distances are practically instantaneous, allowing friends and family to stay in touch with each other through social media. But with every new advancement in technology we make, a part of our modern culture gets adversely effected in ways that we can’t predict until it happens.

Teens growing up now have the advantage of talking to theirs friends anytime they want through video calls, texts, and sites like Facebook, but that prompt connection could be used in ways that are harmful to the growing teenager. Gossip, whether true or false, can be posted online at a moments notice. Instead of just a few people learning of a particular rumor, anyone with Internet access who doesn’t personally know the involved parties can see the rumor and spread it for others too see. If it is a particular rumor that catches people’s attention, it can go viral and be seen by millions. Of course this is a worst case scenario, so I’ll go into describe a more common instance of misuse of social media.

Hypothetically let’s say a female teenager misses a week of school because she received a vicious case of a viral infection. A rival takes advantage of her absence and spreads a rumor that she is pregnant on social media. People comment and speculate, but the rumor has been spread and the damage has already been dealt. All of her friends ask her if it’s true and she has to constantly refute their questions.

The speed at which rumors are spread doubly apply to how fast someone can get emotionally scarred online. We need to educate teens on basic online ethics to make the social media environment safer to socialize in.

One Step Forward, Two Quick Steps Back