As a great follower and believer of social media, it has come to my attention, unsurprisingly, the many pros and cons held within the platform.
As a blogger, 'tweeter', 'youtuber' and 'facebooker' I am constantly interacting with social media, be it talking to my friends or reading a blog. As cliche as it may sound, I would be lost without my smart phone, converging all the applications I 'need' to go through my day stress free. And it is just that, stress. I am a worrier, and I worry about little things. My friends and I are infamous for our long facebook mail chats. It is hard to get everyone together, and with a large group of over 10 friends, facebook is the easiest platform to communicate (It gets expensive trying to text every single person). In this way, social media has made communication with my friends, who are in many different parts of the country and world, a hell of alot easier than years before! Couldn't be dealing with writing 10 letters every week I tell you!!
Social media has also opened its doors for hobbies, like blogging. Many of you who are reading this post are bloggers too, and share my hobby in writing, reviewing and sharing your lives over the internet. If it wasn't for social media such as the wonderful platform that is Google's blogger, this wouldn't have been possible. I am very greatful for the opportunities readily available for me in this 21st century media landscape.
However, it pains me to say, that I do feel social media is becoming maybe more of a hinderance for the minority of the population. This came to light in last nights dare I say it, 'cut4beiber' hashtag on Twitter. Twitter is, generally, a revolutionary social media site. But is it too revolutionary?
Following the discovery of Justin Beiber's cannabis use, young fans took to twitter in a bid to 'get attention' from him in order to 'stop him killing himself' through the use of drugs. I was seeing tweets from girls as young as 15 uploaded pictures of cut arms and even going as far as to threaten to microwave their hamster. Now, subjectively, this sounds so absurd that it might spark a few guilty giggles from you. However, I am shocked that this kind of conversation can happen so casually, readily and frequently over twitter. I think a large part of this, is that the girl in question was only 15. At 15, call me stereotypical, but celebrity fandom is all consuming and can become overwhelming. Communicating with celebrities over the twitter platform does provide the illusion of talking to a friend - a great but dangerous asset.
Maybe this will spark a reaction from twitter in terms of moderation. Shouldn't this serve as an example that those younger than the age of 16/17 shouldn't be allowed to communicate so openly over the internet? I think in order for these dangerous, shocking and upright scary occurances to stop, there must be a rethink in the guidelines for those of a younger age. For me, as an outsider, you may think that statement is perhaps impossible or idealistic, but moderation is and always has been the key to the safety of our teenagers. Parent's must be aware of their childrens activity on the internet and permission must be needed in order to proceed with twitter registration.
Thankfully, after Twitter had got in contact with this young girl, she admitted that the picture was a fake. However, this does not mean that these horrifying thoughts were not running through her mind for at least a second. Our teenagers are becoming exposed to these dangerous topics in which are sometimes encouraged and supported - take for instance, pro-ana sites. I am a BIG believer in democracy, but only when age permits.
What do you guys think?