I enjoy using the Internet, particularly at my advanced age. I like having the gift of knowledge at my fingertips. Typing a question and clicking entersure beats lugging research books home from the library.
I enjoy freedom of speech, even in social media. But maybe I’m too old to accept what’s going on across generations. This is not to single out a particular demographic or political affiliation. This is about human behavior in general and I find it puzzling.
I believe social media’s downfall is the way people feel free (even entitled) to publicly criticize, demean, and belittle others. Twitter, Facebook and other web venues have opened Pandora’s box. Why in the world would anybody air a family disagreement on Facebook or tweet about someone they dislike?
As a psychologist, I understand certain groups are more vulnerable than others. For example, people on television and in the public eye are viewed not as human beings with real feelings, but as two-dimensional images––virtual dart boards for angry daggers. People who put them down publicly somehow feel better about themselves and their own lives. Sorry folks, bullying on the web is bullying.
On the other side of the coin there are people in the public eye who bully others in the public eye with outrageous comments and threats. Maybe it’s just me but I find that disgraceful. Have they no dignity?
After somebody goes off the rails and they offer an apology I think, “That’s a start.” But sometimes I’m suspicious about the apologizer’s intention. Maybe it’s just me.
“I’m sorry” is not a get-out-of-jail-free card. People who are willing to stand up and say, “I was wrong,” always impress me. Meaning it and understanding that apologizing isn’t just about saying, “I’m sorry,” means the person will not do it again––they recognize the pain their actions caused.
I feel sad when I see cognitive disarray on media sites, back-and-forth jabbering on social blogs and people insulting to one another over politics and existential opinions.
Maybe it’s just me but I am bothered when I see families taking sides––not sharing, discussing or learning from each other about respectful differences of opinion.
When did we stop listening to each other? When was a politician more important than family? When did it become the government’s job to make us into decent people? The government can only protect us from invaders; it cannot patrol the enemy within. Insulting, cruelty and disregard for others via the Internet has become the enemy within.
Maybe it’s just me, but I’m too busy to participate in a free for all.