Social Media Worse than Real Life or Is It the Other Way Around?

his file photo taken on November 19, 2021, shows the US online social media and social networking service Facebook's logo on a smartphone screen in Moscow. Photo by AFP

This has been said again and again: Everything and anything is disseminated on social media. Jokes in poor taste, wrong information, silly bets and images bordering on pornography are mixed with legitimate information, promotion for great humanitarian initiatives, political and philosophical remarks offering food for thought, humor, creative works, and so on.    

Some moralists—or people calling themselves moralists—often only remember the worst and fear the negative effects that content described as antisocial or immoral could have on children and young people.  

The debate is not new.

At all times, some works of fiction—literary, televised, cinematographic, digital such as video games—have been reproached for being harmful to young minds in the midst of developing and prone to turning these young people into individuals devoid of humanity and bad, violent, pervert.  

Granted, there have been criminals who were inspired by fictional works to take action. 

But it is neither war movies that invented war nor crime novels that have created assassins. Reality precedes fiction and, at times, outdoes it.

As proof, let’s ask those young people addicted to social media’s virtual world in which immoral and antisocial behaviors would supposedly prevail and be spread by immature teenagers to join us in the real world led by adults apparently filled with wisdom. And here is what, among other edifying examples, recent news has in story for them.

Four members of the opposition in Myanmar, with two of them especially famous, on July 15, 2022, were executed by hanging even though death sentence in that country had not been carried out for decades. The junta in power has of course denied that they were political activists in order to vilify them, calling them terrorists and boasting of having freed the population from them. This is a well-known tune that is the trademark of regimes of this kind.         

In Europe, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on July 23 gave a virulent speech against “peoples of mixed-race,” justifying this at a news briefing on July 28 by ensuring that, in his country, “the position I stand for, is a cultural, civilization (based) stance." The promoters of apartheid, segregationists and other genocidal ethnic purifiers were saying nothing else.

And so on.

As for the education of the “offspring,” isn’t there more to fear from the real world than from the virtual one?

Related Articles