March 29, 2016

Social Media is Not the Problem


Today, a (rare) visit from my maternal granddad provoked a train of thought so long, that it inevitably led to this very blog post. Now, I love my granddad, don't get me wrong, but he can be very old-fashioned and stuck in his ways. For example: today, I wore a combination of MAC's 'Sin' lipstick and 'Nightmoth' lip liner, which - for those of you less enthused by makeup - creates a very 'severe' look (as my mum puts it). The first thing my granddad said to me was 'awful lipstick' *eye rolls for days.* He's very outspoken, as you can tell!


I had no idea that my granddad was technologically advanced enough to actively participate on Facebook, but, lo and behold, he's managed to work the computer well enough to notice, and pass judgement, on something I have shared on my wall. I don't particularly like connecting with family members via social media; after a Facebook related argument between myself and my mum when I was a teenager, I vowed never to accept friend requests from family members again. However, I made an exception when it came to my granddad and his partner, Anne. My granddad met Anne when I was about ten, and he moved to another county to be with her. As a result, he's missed out on my sister and I growing up and has very little knowledge of what actually goes on in our lives. I thought that if I had them both as friends on Facebook, at least they could see what I was getting up to and view my pictures. What I hadn't bargained for, was that I would be judged for what I post online.

Last week, I shared (and applauded) an article on my wall. Written by American stripper and intersectional feminist, Elle Stanger, the article is titled 'I'm a Sex Worker and This is What I'll Tell My Child.' This article is so well-written and bursting with passion, I just couldn't stop reading, despite how lengthy it is. After a quick visit to the author's Instagram, I've learned since reading that she actually cried while writing this exquisite piece. If you haven't already, I would highly recommend giving it a read; you can locate it on Elephant Journal here.

The second thing my granddad said to me (after insulting my choice of lipstick) was how upset he was with me that I had shared this article on my wall, because he didn't agree with it. He then went on to tell me how dangerous social media sites like Facebook can be, and that I should be really careful what I post, because 'anybody can see it.' This coming from a man who has little to no experience in social media, whatsoever, so what he's basing his opinion on, I have no idea.

I have been present on Facebook since 2008, on Twitter since 2010 and on Instagram since 2012. Before it all, there was Myspace, and even Piczo (God... I'm feeling old right now, kids). I believe the first time I ever encountered a social media platform was in 2006. In ten years, not once have I had a negative experience with social media. While I've never had a problem navigating my way around online communities, I'm fully aware that cyber bullying is real, online grooming is real and revenge porn is real. Real, real, real. However, in my opinion, social media sites are not the problem, and they are not to blame.

The world is a big, bad place, and while 21st century technology may aid perpetrators by giving them access to their victims, it's education (or a lack thereof) which I believe is predominantly to blame. When I was young, I was more interested in listening to my Britney Spears CD on repeat on my Walkman than surfing the net. I played out in the garden or in the street and I had hours of fun with sheets of A4 and paint, glitter and glue. When I was online, my parents were always strict about how much time I was allowed to spend on the family computer; they always monitored my activity; they always had parental controls activated. My mum and dad always warned me about the dangers of speaking to strangers online and giving out personal details, and instilled in me the rules which still govern my use of technology. I was taught, properly, how to use the internet safely. It's sad to think that there are millions of children out there who are living without parental figures and/or are being neglected, and, as a result, are turning to the internet and using it improperly. 

Social media is not the problem. Shoddy parenting is the problem. A lack of education is the problem. Pedophiles and bullies are the problem. Ignorance is the problem. Only reading the title before passing judgment - that's the problem. Social media is a great tool for marketing, socialising, keeping up to date with current affairs, expressing yourself and storing memories. I'm always wary of what I post on my social media channels, as most employers use them to vet you these days. However, if a potential employer denies me an opportunity purely because I shared an article written by a sex worker, then they aren't the type of people I want to work for, anyway!

The main conclusion I drew from Elle's article is that people will always have something to say, and that's a reflection on them, not on you. She's a sex worker, so what? She's teaching her child about a taboo industry, empowering women, body confidence, safe sex, healthy eating, confidence and when to say no, and all the while, she's also teaching her how important it is not to judge others and to be nice to everybody. Sounds like a kick-ass mum to me!

I urge everyone reading to take care when accepting friend requests from people unknown to them. Check your privacy settings, too, and always think twice about what you post. Once it's out there, there's no going back, and that's both the beauty and the ugliness of the internet!

Share:

24 comments

  1. I saw that post when you shared, and I agree family can be funny when we share this type of stuff on the internet. People sometimes are not ready to break down taboos...
    Pam xo/ Pam Scalfi♥

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was speaking to my other (paternal) granddad about it on Easter Sunday and he said that unfortunately, some people just become stubborn and closed-minded in old age haha. I thought the post was very well written and since its free from sexual references, I don't regret sharing it on my wall even a little!

      Delete
  2. AMAZING! This is so well written, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I find myself rolling my eyes when an older generation only have negative things to say about social media etc.. the world is evolving and I think everyone needs to catch up!! I totally agree with everything you have said, sure there are dangerous people on the internet, but it's not the internet that's dangerous per se, there are so many amazing opportunities on the e-media platform, it's a shame for some people to look at it in disgust. Just found your blog btw, and I am really enjoying reading it! xoxox
    Becky Shannon xx - Life-by-Becky

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your comment and welcome to my blog haha! Glad you agree xx

      Delete
  3. I really enjoyed reading this post... I agree with you completely.. I said the same thing- no family members on Facebook. However, with time I did add a few of them, and I am actually stunned by what they are posting, not vice versa :D it's sooo cringy... Sometimes I feel like older people should not be able to have a profile :D xx

    http://beautypeptalk.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  4. So glad you enjoyed the post! Thank you :) Ha! I totally agree, the older generation are usually the worst on social media, but the younger generation get all the stick about it!xx

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is such a great post! Parents are awful about social media and while bad things do happen because of it, the good far outweighs that. It's definitely a generational gap thing I think xx
    http://britishmermaid.blogspot.co.uk/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely! If used correctly, it's an amazing thing!xx

      Delete
  6. I had serious issues with family members on facebook and since then I just deleted my account and I feel like FREE!
    Granparents are from another generation so I understand his shock when he saw his grandaughter sharing something about sex so openly-but since it is your page you are entitled to any opinion.
    However the reason you should be a bit sceptical about facebook is not only family members but mostly future employers that might not life your feed! I had a similar issue with people checking on my page daily and reporting back to my ex boss-how pathetic!

    xo Anastasia
    Natbee’s Fashion, UK Travel Blog

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd rather delete the troublemaking family member than my account! I only use Facebook to upload and store my photos, but occasionally I see stuff which is worthy of sharing! As a law student seeking full time work in the legal sector (which is already competitive enough), I'm well aware that employers use social media accounts to vet applicants. The type of stuff they search for to use against you is the type of stuff I would never post anyway because I have common sense haha!

      Delete
  7. I think it's only natural for our grandparents or even parents to not fully understand the world of social media as it's new and scary to them. I agree that parents are responsible to teach children to use the internet and social media wisely but I also can see a danger in them for very young people, like online bullying or trying to be perfect like those photoshoped beautiful girls on Instgaram. But social media is now part of our life and we just need to be sure to take what's best of them. I guess for our children the online life will be just a normality. x

    Mummy’s Beauty Corner

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To some extent I do agree that the world has changed a lot since they were young and it can be a lot to take in and comprehend. However, I've encountered so many older people who use and love social media, too! I think it does depend on the individual's personality. What I don't like is when people form a negative opinion of something they've never had real experience with. You have to try before you can judge! Oh totally... Social media definitely has many pitfalls as well, but it's up to us to teach the younger generations how to avoid these X

      Delete
  8. Will have to have a look at that article when I get a chance.
    Grandparents, and parents often have very different views on life to what we do - I know I find some of what they believe shocking, but then I realise how much the world has changed since they were my age...technology, views, understand, acceptance - it is a different world now.
    Claire x
    www.thegreeneyedgirl.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's definitely a generational thing. I believe our generation is a lot more open-minded and accepting of change. I don't wish to tar a whole generation with the same brush (because there are some very open-minded and modern-thinking older people), but it's often the older people who write negative and derogatory thing on Facebook, yet it's the young people who are always being monitored on social media X

      Delete
  9. While social media may not be the problem, online anonymity is. If there was a law that we had to enter our real names and social security numbers onto every platform online, the online world would be a better place.
    Thanks for linking to that article, I'm going to read the entire thing :)

    RachelShuchatMakeup

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymity is a tricky subject to comment on. Personally, I don't understand the logic behind hiding your identity online; it implies that you're intending to do something 'wrong' and that you don't want to get caught out and face the ramifications. However, I am sure that there are certain situations which call for anonymity and I have simply not encountered them! I really hope you enjoy the article :)

      Delete
  10. Perhaps it's because I was born into the digital age, it's strange to have watched it grow at a young age. The internet is a big place, full of really great articles but a ton of shitty people. Being bullied online affected me, still is especially with a blog. Social media is not a problem, the people who use it are.

    xx Bash |   go say   H E Y   B A S H

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's definitely the people who use it that give the internet a bad name! If only everybody had equally good intentions!

      Delete
  11. I was really drawn into reading this post! My mother shares a similar view to your grandpa. She believes Social Media is dangerous because of the fact that everyone can see it. However I don't hold it against her. As you get older, I find you become less used to things changing and lets face it, technology is always changing. Some people can find these changes difficult to handle and in actual fact are quite scared of it. My mother just doesn't understand social media and with things that she reads in the papers about the dangers of Social Media, it allows her to build a negative opinion. There are always going to be things that some of the older generation don't quite understand like new trends. Not everyone is as open to experience new things as others and they have a right to form their own opinions even if I completely disagree with them.

    I agree completely with parents teaching their children about using social media & the internet responsibly, but I also think schools should do more to help too. I loved reading your blog post! It was an enjoyable read.

    Throw Me Something Beautiful

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much; really glad you enjoyed the post! I totally agree - schools should definitely do more.

      Delete
  12. I had exactly the same opinion as you, its all education and bad parenting, but after speaking to my mum and her friends (all teachers at a high school) I realise how wrong I was. The problem is phones. The internet existed when we were at highschool,and so did mobiles, but the two didn't combine. nowadays you have apps like whisper and YikYak where kids can post horrid things, no one knows who it is and everyone within a 10 mile radius can see, its bullying at its worse. One secret can be spread around the school in minutes rather than hours, anxity and depression are 10x worse cause kids are terrified to come to school. What can a school do about that? most have no mobile phone policies but parents argue that their kids need the phones to contact them, its hell. And I am terrified for my son going to high school, and as much as not buying him a smart phone will help, it wont help all the other kids using them :(

    As for the older generation my gran is totally clueless too, she is convinced any details online is a bad thing, but realistically its the older generation with no computer or little computer skills who is at most risk of fraud, they will happily give out passwords, write pin numbers down in their wallets, not cancel bank cards when they loose them, its not social media, its being smart and well educated on how to use the internet correctly, and considering my 4 year old is getting lessons in nursery it isnt this generation thats the problem its everyone 35+ who didn't get it at school!

    Ranting over - sorry lol

    http://www.makeerinover.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never heard of Yik Yak or Whisper, so I can't really comment on them. As for schools not having policies when it comes to mobile phones, all I can say is how awful that is! Every school in my area is very strict on the use of mobile phones at school; they aren't permitted, even during lunch hours! At the end of the day, it is about education, because schools and parents should be teaching children about the detrimental effects of bullying and how to treat people! I totally agree with you about the older generation being more susceptible to fraud though!

      Delete
  13. I can completely relate to this post when it comes to family members not agreeing with my views. My mum is actually really accepting of the new generation and things like feminism etc, which is fab and she supports my views on important topics! However, my dad on the other hand has no idea and therefore always says the wrong thing which leads to many awkward silences.

    It's quite worrying how people still have such harmful views, I mean we're all entitled to our own opinions but it's 2016. We should be at the stage now where everyone views each other as equals. BUT ANYWAY, fab post! x

    Kathryn | Chapters of Kat

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, lovely! It's a shame that your dad has some differing views, but I guess the fact that everyone has a different opinion is what makes the world interesting! I totally agree with you there x

      Delete

Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I read every single comment and am happy to check your blog out in return. If you have posted a question, please check back for a reply. Alternatively, you can tweet me for a faster response @lauragale94

© Laura's Beauty Binge | All rights reserved.
Blog Design Handcrafted by pipdig