There was perhaps a time, where at one end of the world a war was erupting with clans and tribes clashing through vicious cycles. Yet at the other side of the globe, there was peace, serenity and not a slight idea that another side of the world even existed. People only believed in what they had seen, who they had met, and the lands they had encountered. It was near impossible to ever imagine that one day, we could virtually get into contact with anyone, anywhere – in a matter of seconds. The world has truly landed in our hands, and the entire global community at our fingertips.
Long gone are the days when perhaps a mistake or two could be forgotten over time, for now every move is recorded, embedded, and stowed away in the digital realms of memory. While this has been a revolutionary break through in how we as humans communicate, reciprocate, and deliver information, it has also become a double edged sword for the modern generation. Aside from what the internet has to offer and the doors and minds opened through its plethora of possibilities, another wave has washed upon us: social media. Social media provides both huge positives, and grave negatives for all users, especially for our youth in local communities.
Long gone are the days when perhaps a mistake or two could be forgotten over time, for now every move is recorded, embedded, and stowed away in the digital realms of memory.
The positive sides are always admirable. We can keep in touch, transmit ideas, explore creative heights, create identities, and movements all with the swipe of a finger. Yet at the same token, parents and youth alike wonder just where in this unchartered territory is dangerous, and when should one be aware of possible negative forecasts for the future. For parents, it is hard to grasp that such a tool exists and can be so detrimental for the future of our children. Social media ins and outs are usually taught to parents by their own children, so being able to even confine or set boundaries for these outlets becomes increasingly difficult. Even when boundaries can be set, arises the issue of can these limitations even remain in place? The storm is upon us, and from every which way the winds blow, leaving no stone unturned and no source inaccessible to social media.
We all make mistakes, and we are all learning as we muddle through life’s ups and downs, but if we record every one of these movements, it is harder to move past them as the years go by.
Each one of us probably has a social media account; the most common identity generators being Facebook and Instagram. Sticking to these two examples we all are aware of just how much can be posted, seen, and heard from a simple news feed scroll. We are in the loop about all the movements of our friends and families, and know more than maybe we would like to about their whereabouts and thoughts. While this is a great way to keep up to date about important life events etc, it is at times too close for comfort. What is worse is that we assume that just like every passing moment of ours, this record of our movements will too pass and it will never be mentioned again. Nothing could be farther from the truth – anything we say, any picture that is posted, permanently becomes a property of the world wide web, and even if we hit delete, do not fall into the false sense of security that no one can see it again. This is one of the most important things to remember for all youth and social media users alike.
We all make mistakes, and we are all learning as we muddle through life’s ups and downs, but if we record every one of these movements, it is harder to move past them as the years go by. On a personal level, you never really know who is out there reading about you of what you think to be limited or private moments. These moments can be seen by anyone with the wrong intention for whatever purpose. Though we have so much trust in our privacy settings, the reality is that there is no privacy on the internet, so before posting anything, think twice – would you be okay with the entire world possibly seeing this: friends, family members, professionals alike? If the answer is yes, go for it! But be wary, because once posted, there are few evacuation routes after.
Our religion promotes forgiveness, and doing better and being better. The most pure process of taqwa is an extreme intimate moment with God, and yet if God himself is the hider of all sins, why do we insist on sharing more than we need to, when God himself does not bring any of our faults to light? There is no correct way to navigate thorough this social media storm, but caution should always be a prevailing first sail. On a professional level, employers everywhere admit and statistically release statements regarding their research of Facebook and social media profiles of applicants before hiring. Even worse, is that some people who have been in solid careers from ten to twenty years have even lost jobs due to either offensive, or falsified information carelessly posted on the internet. It’s chaotic enough building a resume for yourself, creating excellent connections, and maintaining a professional or upstanding image without the weight of the fifth digital idenitity. Social media if used with caution and in a tactile manner can do more good than harm. The key is to know how to ride out the storm before chasing it with open arms.
Take part in educational services, teach your peers and spread the word about what are the best moves to make when publishing our lives for the world to see. Promote smarter ways to take this new found identity, a world away from our real world, work in our favor to flourish the spread of knowledge and help create a solid image for our future.
by Shams T