In The Age Of Social Media, Remember That Your Words Can Still Hurt

Social media is the reality of today's times. It is not all good, nor is it all bad. Honestly, it is what you make it.

Since I joined social media, I have seen a change in what is acceptable to post. As a young teenager, I saw lots of selfies, filled with duck faces and painful smiles. As a junior in high school, I noticed many of my friends using these platforms to express themselves and their ideas. As a young adult, I am seeing the unacceptable.

Now, it seems as if manners disappear the moment someone sits down to type out a Facebook post or Instagram caption. In the past year alone, I have seen grown adults publicly bash members of the community for the whole world to see. I have witnessed people getting into arguments in the comments section of a post without offering any compromise. And I have stood by and let everyone think this new way of communication is appropriate.

Well, it's not.

The world is not a perfect place, so disagreements are inevitable. But why do we keep getting into arguments that accomplish nothing and hurt everyone involved?

Social media is quickly turning into a way of appearing to solve a problem without taking any real steps forward. It is a way for people to share an idea the moment it occurs without second-guessing the effect it will have. Should it go bad, the social media platform then becomes a mask, their way of hiding from their poor decision.

People, it is time to grow up and fix problems the real way, the mature way.

Stop belittling things you do not agree with on Facebook, and start working to make a change. Send the email. Make the phone call. Reach out to the supervisor. Have a civil conversation. And during this process, maybe leave out the heated post. It will only discredit your sincerity on the matter.

For example, let's say you are upset by a library book your child has brought home from school. Do not post about it. Instead, call the school. Inform the librarian, your child's teacher, or (if absolutely necessary) the school principal about your concerns. Work with them to form a solution. I guarantee that you will receive better results than you would with a fiery Instagram caption.

As for the younger social media users, just take a deep breath and a long pause before you post.

If you have problems with a teacher, your first step should be to contact the teacher in question. If matters do not improve, reach out to a counselor or department supervisor (depending on the issue.) By no means should the situation appear on social media. That is unless you want to delay the solution process.

If you have problems with a friend, journal about it or reach out to a mentor or counselor. There are always people to talk to. The idea of social media as a therapist is incredibly dangerous, yet it seems to be the new normal.

I am not telling you to save social media for no more than family photos, engagements, and picture-perfect Starbucks orders. If those were the only things I ever saw on Instagram, I wouldn't be addicted to it like I am now.

I love the idea of having a place to share new ideas and the happenings of your life. I love how connected I can be with family I rarely see, as well as the ease of staying in contact with friends I no longer go to school with. I love the freedom I have to talk about what I choose.

Even so, this freedom does not come without moral responsibilities. Cyberbullying is not just an issue among high school students. It is a problem across multiple generations.

The words you type carry more weight than most realize. Think before you post.

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