The wonders of Facebook graced our advances of technology on the 4th February 2004 and since this date it has steadily become a social media obsession.
As I sit in my university lecture (obviously listening intently, I mean what else can you do in a lecture?) and I survey the laptop screens before me, I can accurately assume that 90% of students are on Facebook (by assume, I mean that I can see that 90% are using Facebook. And yes, I am part of that 90%!). It has slowly taken over our world, and become an easier option for announcing exciting occasions (clearly you are not dating someone until you are ‘Facebook Official’, and you can’t possibly be pregnant until you upload a photo of the ultrasound in a creative Pinterest kind of way), yet it has also become an easy way to target people, to become an anonymous bully hiding behind the safety of a computer screen.
Please do not get us wrong, we use Facebook daily, and I personally have used it as a ‘bragging ground’, a place to flaunt my travels and exciting adventures and experiences that I am partaking in. Most of us do, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, a few years ago, the suggestion of a ‘dislike’ button became a desperate accessory that many people wanted installed on Facebook, and the ‘need’ for it has not been silenced.
Many articles popped onto social media last night that revealed Mark Zuckerberg has been listening to the pleas, to the Facebook petitions and blessed the desperations with a grand announcement; the Dislike Button may soon become a reality.
Mark Zuckerberg claims that the reasons for the installment will be so we can display empathy, for example, an image of a child stricken in poverty can be ‘disliked’ to demonstrate that the image is disturbing to us, that we empathize with the child. Is it just me, or am I not the only one that can predict the serious dangers of what disliking posts, photos and articles can do.
We live in a technological world, where what you post on Facebook and Instagram can be seen as a definition to how ‘cool’ you are, how ‘beautiful’ you are, and it can lead to some serious cyber bullying. Did you know, more than 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyber threats online, that over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online and almost the exact same amount have been the predators, bullying people through their social media. This is astounding, and these statistics are not decreasing, if anything, they are growing worse everyday. It is a serious issue, and is not something that affects the younger generation. I have witnessed many instances on Facebook where threats and insults have been thrown around in comments and no one has taken action. I have been a target, and I would not be surprised if you have to. We now live in a world where our opinions that are voiced online are free to be used as a basis for bullying. And we all know that this can happen and we have to acknowledge this danger when we post online.
However there are ways we can prevent this. The dislike button can be used in a new and dangerous way, where all we have to do is press a button on any post, comment, or photo that will let people know we don’t like their ideas, opinions or even their appearance.
We need to STOP supporting this function, we need to recognize the ways it can be abused, and the dangers it can inflict on us all! We do not need any more encouragement to engage cyber bullies! Recognize the disliking dangers and be the one to stand up against cyber bullying and join us in this fight!