Debates about social media continue to increase, thanks to the changing political environments and horrifying consequences of the new media. Though social media has come up wonderfully well to connect individuals globally without any hindrances but its growing momentum is shaking the walls of status quo.
Interesting news item came across my eyes few days in which psychologists asked to classify internet addiction into a mental illness. Russian Television reported that “Psychologists believe that Internet addiction should be categorized like other addiction disorders as it has similar symptoms, including emotional shutdown, lack of concentration and withdrawal. Parents have noted their children becoming angry and violent when their electronic gadgets are taken away from them. In other instances, kids preferred to play a videogame over eating or social interaction.”
Its positives are very obvious therefore I won’t go into it. Let’s have the other side of the picture where the sites like Facebook and twitter denting the social norms, endangering the individual privacy’s and even playing with the emotions of millions of people. In a conservative society like Pakistan, parents normally do not leave any stone unturned to save their children from external impact, as they always try to control their social activities.
Owing to the computer illiteracy of most of the parents in the country, they fail to realize the perilous consequences of digital social activities. Unfortunately, today the usage of media technology has become synonymous to modernity. Anonymity is the biggest drawback of social media as no one owns its content and it gets extremely difficult to pinpoint the culprit and bringing him to the court of justice.
Consequently now we observe more social anomalies in our society, just like the increasing divorce rate, disobedience of parents, adultery or abusiveness. You name a social anomaly you would find it today in our society. Other factors can’t be overlooked but the question rises why there is a very limited check on social media by our state, despite a heavy criticism on its content. Obscene pictures with abusive language, flirting, mudslinging are the popular features of new media. Having the liberty of using the technology from the cell phones has worsened the situation, where the check becomes almost impossible.
Social media’s problems are not limited to the social spectrum but it has also proved its Political impact. Although it has contributed to the awareness among masses but unfortunately has failed to inject the political norms. We observe Facebook pages made to malign the political parties and politicians. These Facebook pages also intrude into the family matters which may lead to the disastrous consequences. Unfortunately heads of political parties rarely condemn these mal practices which doubt their own intentions.
Few months ago, a list of journalists was shared on the social media who allegedly took benefits from a real estate tycoon. Irony was that the people trusted it and shared without authenticating. The most trusted journalists also came under the fire which spoiled the cause of catching the real culprits.
Social Media is also spreading chaos while playing with the emotions of people. Blasphemous material on the internet is the best example whereas we even see competitions being held to draw cartoons of respected religious personalities. These infamous acts bring anarchy and lawlessness in the society which now seems to be a well planned conspiracy against some religions and countries.
Certain codes have also been formulated to curb the unwanted material on internet but its application was very limited. I remember YouTube banning a video which showed a murdered girl but did not ban the video which showed the assassination of former Libyan ruler Muamar Qaddafi. One can speculate that the murder video of Qaddafi had some political ambitions which stopped YouTube while banning it. Same is the case with the blasphemous movie which is still on YouTube, violating its own codes in which it claims to have a check on hate speech against any community.
Solution of all this mess is not a rocket science; first of all, the organizations and its advertisers should get rid of their dual standards and should implement the codes without any discrimination. Secondly each group whether it’s a religion or a race should raise their voice from a powerful platform to impact the authorities. Lastly the internet service providers should convey the monthly internet usage report to the guardian of the user.