“It’s clear that social media is an instrument that can bring about tremendous good or harm, depending on how it is used.”

Social media has allowed us to keep in touch with friends and family across the globe, discover new information and meet people with similar interests. But at what price? Let us safeguard our souls while navigating this virtual world.

Social media has unquestionably transformed the way we behave. While some of these changes have been for the better, many have been for the worse.

Today, in our digital world, we spend much of our lives beyond reality, beyond accountability through visibility, able to say and do and look at and enjoy whatever our hearts desire. Yet for all the freedom it brings us, it can also bring us captivity.

Here are three key realities one ought to consider when using social media:

1. The Gateway to Pornography

Pornography used to be something you had to intentionally go out to find.

Whether it was enduring the humiliation of purchasing a magazine from the newsagency, or the shame of renting an X-rated movie from the video store, porn was not accessible by today’s standards.

But things have drastically changedPornography is now something you must intentionally go out of your way to avoid.

As the Daily Mail recently reported, TikTok’s algorithms actively promote sexual content, drugs, and alcohol to users.

Similarly, a large proportion of videos distributed via Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram’s newsfeeds contain soft pornography.

Social media has become an acceptable alternative to access pornography.

2. The Illusion of Anonymity

Social media provides an unprecedented opportunity to pretend we are anonymous.

I say ‘pretend’, because as much as we like to think our actions are unseen, all our thoughts and deeds are online and as one might remember: the internet never forgets.

Whether you’re prone to being a keyboard warrior in the comments section, or whether you treat the ‘erase history’ button as if it functionally washes away your transgressions, the facade of anonymity is a legitimate danger when using social media.

3. The Dehumanising of Others

Not only does social media afford us opportunities to pretend we’re anonymous, but it also allows — and at times encourages us — to forget we’re interacting with other real human beings.

On social media, those we engage with— at least in our minds — are not ‘real’ people. Deep down we know they are, yet in practice, we treat them like digital characters from a video game.

It’s merely usernames and avatars we’re talking to, debating, or maligning. As a result, we’re more likely to say or do things online we wouldn’t dream of in person.

In effect, to speak without having to look another man or woman in the eye is often akin to speaking behind someone’s back. It requires little courage, if any.

Because human beings are historically built upon face-to-face communication , social media can lead us to dehumanise others. On social media, we don’t hear the verbal tone of others, we don’t witness their facial expressions, and we aren’t able to use our inate emotional intuition.

The Bottom Line

It’s clear that social media is an instrument that can bring about tremendous good or harm, depending on how it is used.

While we cannot go back in time, nor undo technological advancement, we can be trained to be discerning with the platforms we use.

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By Daemon

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