Facebook. Twitter. Pinterest. Instagram.
These are the kind of things that come to mind when you think "Social Media" but its not an exhaustive list, and of course isn't limited to just on the Internet....and yep I'm aware of the fact that this blog is included in the whole new Social Media and these words reach you from it!
Before Facebook and Twitter etc, there WERE other ways we connected on the net...there were chat rooms. They were closed mainly due to the amount of grooming that was being discovered. Then there was always Yahoo messenger, or MSN messenger. Then Friends Reunited popped up - which i do think changed the way people perceived the Internet and how they could connect to people. Before then it had been the above or emails.
Tons of forums for all types of subjects popped up and they were great!
But with the forums, i never recall anyone questioning who someone was. Everyone used a user name and we believed they were who they say there were....
Whats changed....? From forum days, to the current? We question EVERYTHING and EVERYONE. Trust is a word no longer used in a positive way much in social media. Perhaps the "newspaper" media have opened up so many doors that were closed and unspoken about previously, it has us running scared? I don't know..
I was late entering the "modern" Social Media world. I only heard of Facebook when a friend asked me if i was on it and i had no idea what she was talking about! I looked and at first, it held no interest. Why would i want everyone in the world to know who i am, what i look like, where i am....heck, what I'm doing for lunch?
But i slowly added myself.....i then found Mafia Wars. OMG - i got totally hooked on that game and i met some AWESOME players. Made me think this facebook thing isn't too bad...
So i started looking around....wow - look at that a group that sells beauty items, a group that raises money for charity, a group that sells nail polish....the list goes on and on at what you can now find on FB. And i admit i use it A LOT - not just for gaming. Its where i find my nail polish, make up, beauty items and even jewellery. Which can be great. You find old friends you haven't been able to find, maybe relatives, new friends through similar interests...
But theres a darker side that we can so easily forget. All our info is there on our profile, on any social media....even if its not hacked there can be enough info there for an immoral person to commit Identity fraud pretty easily. God help us when a hacker gets in, and they have been known to, but not, thankfully, too often. All you can do to aid it is to put as little info about yourself as you can, and hope for the best!
Then theres the groomers- for whatever reason, and not just targeting younger people, but also vulnerable, trusting people with ages up to 80. ANYONE can set up an account and say they're 16year old school boy/girl, a single female looking for love, etc - which is a major part, in my humble opinion, that has made us wary of people we interact with via social media.
Then - if you've ever been in a group for something.... and its bound to happen - you cant have 100+ people in a group and everyone getting on. Suddenly a witch hunt is on a person. Sometimes completely justified, other times not. When its not, its known for the other person to try and rectify their errors. For those who keep doing it over and over again......THEY are the ones to be wary of and the saying "theres no smoke without fire" can generally be thought.
Theres also the fact...OK, so the name, address, age etc match, but how do you know the person you're talking to is who they portray themselves to be - for example, they could pretend to be a friend, listen to your problems, offer advice, offer sympathy, you talk, you laugh...and then one day that person turns on you. They're not the nice person you thought. They were playing you. You didn't fulfil their "target" needs and they move on to someone who will....but it leaves you feeling extremely confused, a tad upset and lost, i guess as you have no idea why you've been turned on.
Theres only so many times you can be turned on before you back right off from the groups. You don't chat. You don't interact like you used to, aloof, in the background and you witness the next person being pounced and turned on. And just sit and breathe thinking "I'm glad its not me".
Not so sociable at this point.....
Genuine people are redeemed. The trusting people of the world learn hard lessons that the person you're talking to isn't the person you thought they were.
Then it makes you think about other things...what came into my mind was how different my childhood was to what children must be having now......
This is pretty much my childhood, and I'm guessing a lot of people are nodding heads going "yup, yup, yup".......
And this was how it was back in the day...and I'm only talking 2-4 generations ago....
I can only guess what growing up as a kid is like today, but I'm pretty sure its not like the videos you've just seen.
I imagine computer games - either online on a laptop or PC, or with consoles that both cost a fortune in buying IT and then the games to play on...
Every kid probably has some sort of mobile phone...,probably the most latest model they can get - and this would be how messages to friends are sent in lessons in school - unlike the hand scribbled ones we did in class and handed it down the rows....
Games, music, Internet- all access all day.
Then the TV....sooooooo many channels now! Saturday and Sunday mornings were the kids TV time and after the cartoons finished about midday we got up and went out and played with friends.
I'm also betting that most kids have TV, DVD players, stereos (or the ipod equivalent) in their rooms.
I don't know - maybe the kids like the way it is for them today and look at ours and think "Oh my God - you had NO PlayStation!?? What did you do after school!!??"..... I look at my childhood, and i feel sorry for this generation. So many limitations on the "good" stuff and so much access to the "bad".
When i live in NI i had one friend who had a young son and daughter. They had no computer, no phones, no regular TV. They would come in from school, do their homework and then they went OUTSIDE to play - whatever the weather...and if one got a scratch - as long as it wasn't an artery bleed - carry on playing. THAT if i ever have kids (which i don't think i am), but that's how i would love to raise them.....but as easy as that sounds, i don't forget about Peer pressure either...that's a tough thing to fight against, sometimes impossible.
OK, this was one heck of a ramble and i could probably waffle a bit more but will leave it here! Its bits that have been playing around my head for a few months, but until it made sense in my head i couldn't really write it!
If you want to debate this, i would love to!
What was your childhood like? Like in the videos? Do you wish you had what the kids have today? Or would you not change it for the world?
Are you growing up today and look at those videos and think "i couldn't live like that!"...
I would be interested to see others views on this!
Thank you for reading my totally random rambling this time, i hope i didn't send you to sleep!!
Whatever your childhood was, make sure whatever adulthood brings....theres happiness in it :o)
**please note: NO website or social media has been singled out or targeted. The opinions here are just that - my opinions. Both sides of the argument has been approached and was not meant in anyway to influence online behaviour**