Bad behaviour on social media has consequences 'inna real life'

Letters to the Editor

Bad behaviour on social media has consequences 'inna real life'

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

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Dear Editor,

COVID-19, and consequently isolation, quarantine and Government-imposed restrictions, has caused an increase in time spent online, specifically on social media.

Several of our daily activities have migrated into this virtual space causing many a misstep to occur.

Business people and individuals alike have found themselves being #cancelled for comments made online, and apologies abound for 'wrong' statements, posts, shares, and likes.

In only a few months there has been a rapid change in behaviours on social media, but what has been constant is growing desensitisation and lack of respect for one another while we use this virtual space.

In a time when schools, churches, businesses, entertainment, you name it, are all online or trying to recalibrate to enter this space, that lack of respect is something which should concern us all.

One only needs to recall that in the last few months:

1) People have shared private and explicit videos of others, implicating or otherwise naming public officials in those videos.

2) People are participating wantonly in “call-out culture” and “cancel culture” and targeting specific people and/or businesses, without sufficient evidence in their claims.

3) Social media, especially in the age of renewed calls for social justice locally and abroad, has been an echo chamber for cyberbullying.

Many of us need a reminder that there are real-life consequences for the things we do and say online, nothing is ever really deleted and someone, somewhere is always watching.

Let us be reminded of the Cybercrimes Act of 2015, because many of our online actions are just shy of illegal. Also, let us be reminded of the concept of privacy — for ourselves and others — to refrain from oversharing and crossing boundaries.

Many of us feel emboldened by the face value anonymity that screens and distance afford us, but have forgotten that the nasty and offensive things we post are traceable, affect real people, and are permanently online once they are out there.

Very importantly, our children are now being schooled online, they are at risk of participating and/or falling victim to dangerous online behaviour.

So, as we think about our new normal, I am asking you to pause for a moment to remind yourself about good online citizenship, because, truthfully, many of us need a crash course on how to conduct ourselves online.

Concerned victim of cyberbullying

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