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The digitalised era has surely bestowed upon us the boon of social media. Social media cuts across all age groups, social classes and cultures around the globe. This domain is purely designed to share information in the most convenient sense.

Who isn’t glued to social media nowadays? I confess my teenage sibling is as hooked to these apps as am I, may it be the living room amidst the family members or alone. The coin has two sides, and so do exist the dark chapters of the social media circus. We all are well aware that Social media brings along the issue of increasing ethical and privacy concerns.

“Better shun the bait, than struggle in the snare”


John Dryden

Privacy Concerns

Watch The Social Dilemma. The latest comprehensive documentary by the name “ The Social Dilemma”, is essential viewing as it is an eye-opener to all the manipulation that goes behind those Instagram stories, tagged posts, and endless scrolling throughout the day. The beauty lies in the satisfactory explanation of the complex algorithms and their way of deceiving users to stay online for good. While tech giants behind those algorithms , mining their way into our data, analyse our future moves and influence us [entrapping us] into their fallacy. Right from the pop-ups to the advertisements or even the guilty pleasure from impulse online buying are all lined up the moment we unlock our screens!  

Picture portrays lies
Hide truths too harsh to reveal
Preserve an image.
They are our, our protection
from the world
In them we are sculpted appropriately
In them we are how we appear?
-Baheya Zeitoun

Ethical Concerns

Social media etiquettes are important to utilise these empowering platforms rightfully. Evidently,  social networking that arises from these platforms helps in organising events, activities, invaluable community discussions and showcase global issues, all beneficial for becoming more updated and connected.

Sadly, human brain development is not directly proportional to tech development and hence we crave for validation and popularity. And naturally we tend to sometimes find those unethical WhatsApp or FB forwards as the pleasurable bait of the sin we commit [unknowingly]. It could ruin a lifetime for a one irrespective of their say in it.

“Social media ruined us”, are the exact words of a Minuwangoda Brandix factory worker’s husband, M.A.A Amarasinghe. This family, residing in the Minuwangoda town of Gampaha district of Sri Lanka, was a direct victim to unethical forwards circulating throughout the township. This was initiated by workers from the company after the Mr Amarasinghe’s wife tested positive for the covid-19 virus. Even though she recovered with proper measures in a short span, the workers in Mrs. Amarasinghe’s factory spread the false news on social media to protect some officers of the factory. Due to this unethical act performed on social media, the family helplessly prepares to expect backlash from the society. Mr & Mrs Amarasinghe are regular bread earners who have a simple livelihood, striving towards making ends meet and going about their own business. They are just one of the many victims to this vicious and unethical handling of social media.

“The best parts of my life don’t make it to social media”

-Rosalynn Mejia

Why do we drink the poison social media circulates and seldom wonder we feel so ill? Realization of putting a no filter on information being circulated and not just on posts is the real catch. Keeping the aesthetics of life in picture, let’s apply the ethics, know the limits and handle social media with a more care.  

Tips like screen time curfew, avoiding phones on the bed, avoiding useless scrolling and switching off notifications are baby steps. While my mother has installed parental control app called FamiSafe(personal recommendation) it is helpful in that it fixates the duration of the screen time for that young brat[my sibling]!

References

http://www.dailymirror.lk/news-features/Social-media-ruined-us-husband-of-Minuwangoda-Brandix-factory-worker/131-197859

https://indianexpress.com/article/entertainment/web-series/the-social-dilemma-review-netflix-6596586/

Author’s information
Bachelors in Business and Commerce (BA),
Monash University, Malaysia

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