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Social Media: Have we become prisoners of the internet?

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Hand holding a Social Media 3d Sphere sign on white background.

Social media has made its mark in this generation and it is here to stay, whether we all like it or not. Critics and supporters passionately argue for or against it in equal measure.

 

Parents are among the key opponents of social media, claiming that their children are spending most of their time seated in front of a computer screen  or bent over on their phones. In fact most teenagers nowadays do not have an inkling of how a normal verbal conversation is consummated. Take away their smart phones for a day and you will be left with a zombie-like and disturbed individual. Outdoor games are alien activities and the average teen does not understand why one would want to get all tired and sweaty on purpose.

 

Adults, especially those in their twenties and thirties, are as much affected, if not worse. Board any public transport service vehicle and you will find everyone busy checking their Twitter Timeline or posting something on Facebook. Worse are the victims of Whatsapp whose hands have become accustomed to resting in a typing position, anticipating for a reply of their chat.

 

The usual small talk with fellow passengers regarding current political affairs, weather and such occurrences that were the norm in public vehicles is now unheard of. Woe unto the person who dares to start a conversation with their neighbor who is glued to their phone, the  dagger eyes that will meet them are enough to drive the very words intended to be spoken right down the throat.

 

People have slowly been turned into slaves of the social media, each aspect of their everyday life has to be religiously documented and shared on social media.  Whether one is cooking, reading or even in a church service, Facebook, Twitter, Tagged and whichever other site that may fancy the individual must be made aware.

 

Real friends are slowly being ditched in preference for the virtual circle of internet friends. Unlike your actual friends, these ones do not demand for your time, neither do they ask you for favours; other than the ‘send me a pic’ freaks.  The ‘Lone Ranger’ types of people have found solace and a place to call home on the social medial forum. Their inability to engage people in real life has been masked in the guise of a Twitter or Facebook account and they have become transformed into extroverts.

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Bullies in general have found an amplified podium for harassing www victims. They never leave any chance of tormenting an emotionally unstable person and will hurl all manner of insults, right from calling someone fat or ugly to outright abusive remarks. All this is because they can hide in the shadow of the unanimous nature of the internet.

 

Despite the adverse repercussions, no single measure can be put in place to regulate the use of social media. Organizations have made use of all manner gimmicks to prevent their employees from accessing some popular sites using office internet, others even fine individuals found violating the rules against social media use that have been set up. Such strict measures only serve to deter the weak; the determined user always finds a way to feed his/her addiction.

 

Studies reveal that prevalent use of social media results to addiction similar to those of hard drug usage. Withdrawal symptoms are just as severe. This is one of the key points that anti-social media advocates give when debating about the issue.

 

But is social media really to blame for the consequences suffered by an individual as a result of proper use or misuse? Do we blame the tool used by the carpenter for good craftsmanship or do we attach the end result to the skills of the said carpenter? Is it the digging tool used by the farmer that dictates the harvest or how the particular farmer chooses to employ the tool?

 

There are two sides of a coin to every situation. Reason dictates the benefits or ills that one will enjoy or suffer as a result of making one choice as opposed to another. If you decide to become enslaved by social medial and proceed to engage in unconstructive activities then later on come to blame it for being ‘addictive’, then you are the problem.

 

Social media has a lot of advantages if only people choose to use it well and to their own good. Thousands of people have found jobs and business simply by using it wisely; others have managed to come up with positive revolutions.

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It’s all really a matter of venting your energy on productive ventures. You will never be held hostage by a master; more so one that does not have a neither a legion of armed guards nor a dark dungeon with high barricaded walls if not out of your own free will.

 

Social media is the proverbial two way road; a double edged-sword. The path you choose to tread on determines your final destination. Stop the ‘addiction’ excuses and start making wise decisions.

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