I have been thinking a lot about social media and how people use it. For myself, I use it to keep in touch with friends and family around the world. Being in the newspaper business, I know for a fact that everything we put in print had better be backed up with evidence before it goes to print, otherwise we could be sued.
But it seems social media is different. From what I have seen over these past few years, you can post anything, and have people believe it, whether it is true or not. I have seen parents and grandparents posting things that I am shocked by. Nasty comments about individuals and businesses here in our community, comments with no substance, etc.
Sometimes we get letters attacking individuals, or businesses, and most of the time these letters are anonymous, or the writer asks us not to print their name. We don’t print these letters, mainly because we don’t know the entire story of what actually happened, nor do we have the means at times to investigate. There is one thing I dislike more than anything else though, and that is anonymous posts. We had two placed last year on our web site during the Provincial Elections, and those two posts caused a lot of trouble in the months to come. Was that the aim of those posts? We quickly took them down once we were notified. Whoever posted them, I would call a coward.
As a parent and grandparent, I would be shocked if any one of my own children posted anything like some of the comments I have seen on Facebook. Regardless of how they felt towards that individual that they are bashing on social media, there is no excuse for being rude or nasty. I may not have been the best mother, but one thing I hope I have taught my children are morals. Right from wrong. I may not like you as an individual, but I have no right to bash you on social media, just because I really don’t like you.
This all leads me to wondering what we are teaching our children? If you can stoop as low as name calling on social media, a platform that our children have access to, is this what you are teaching your child? That it is okay to bully and call people nasty names, something the school has been trying to teach the students not to do because of the hurt it can cause? During the Trump reign, I have seen that man use nicknames for many of his foes – nasty ones – and his audience taking pleasure in this. It is like we are going backwards instead of forwards.
I have no idea what drives a person to be so nasty on social media. Perhaps they have so much pain and anger themselves, that this is how they release it? I don’t know, I am not a psychologist, I don’t have the answers. I sometimes get angry at a person, and in my head call them all kinds of names; but I know it is morally wrong to post my thoughts, so why don’t others know as well? There is a code of conduct we were raised by: bullying and name calling is just not acceptable. And remember, our children and their children have access to this.
So what are we teaching our children?