Words Can Never Hurt You… Right?

Wrong. Words cut people extremely deep when they are said face-to-face and they cut even deeper when being blasted via social media sites. In our parents generation bullies still existed. They would approach you on the playground or in a classroom or on your walk home from school – but as soon as you walked into your parents house and closed the door behind you – it stopped until the next day. You felt secure because they couldn’t reach out to you for that moment and you could peacefully enjoy a dinner conversation without being bothered. Bullying is constant and never ending in todays world. With cell phones being used as our right hand man and everyone owning at least a computer, an iPad, or an iPhone and sometimes even three, people face a new form of bullying. A lot of cyber bullying people face is even harder than facing a bully directly because they hide behind computer and cell phone screens which makes it a lot easier to say such hurtful words. Not only is it more hurtful, but it happens constantly – 7 days a week and 24 hours a day. Facebook has become a primary source for people to express opinions, even the ones that aren’t so nice. The problem is that no one really realizes the repercussions of blasting something to thousands of people in seconds.

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Unfortunately these things don’t really hit home for a lot of people because many people are desensitized from these situations if they themselves have never experienced it. But with new technology, almost everyone has experienced something in the form of bullying even if one’s specific name was never mentioned but something was directed at them.  This situation really hit home for me last week.

My twenty two year old cousin was a beautiful, talented, creative, and intelligent woman who had an entire future ahead of her. From the outside, you wouldn’t know that she was hurting inside as she was always dressed to the T and put together to perfection. For years of her life she was tormented by bullies but no one ever knew.  In middle school she dealt with the bullies that would harass you in school, then on to high school when everyone got cell phones and the bullying via text messaging became prominent, then on to college where Facebook basically took over our generation. The “on the playground” bullying eventually turned into cyber bullying through the use of words. On February 6th 2013, which was her 22nd birthday, she took her own life because of the words blasted via the internet.  I’m sure the girls who wrote this will always think twice before posting or saying something hurtful to someone or about someone but it is extremely unfortunate that it takes people to kill themselves for other people to realize how badly their words can affect someones life. Words can actually really hurt, and because of social media they dig really deep because everyone can know someones business in a matter of seconds which can cause feelings of insecurity and embarrassment for whomever the victim is.

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Although social media can be used in many positive ways such as increasing profit for businesses and getting in touch with people we haven’t been in touch with for years, there are also many negatives to all of the new media outlets that have been taking over society because of the way they are misused on a daily basis.  I strongly believe that the misuse of social media sites and the need for constant connection to the world through phones and computers could very well be the demise of society.  Although my cousins story is heartbreaking and has touched many people who didn’t even know her, let it be a lesson for many people in our generation and for the generations to come that words do indeed hurt and one person may never understand just how fragile and sensitive another person is.

Pics For Sale.. and Us Too.

When Instagram first emerged it seemed absolutely amazing to so many users including myself.  I decided to download the free application from the app store because of the five star reviews it got and amazing reviews from various users and strangers of the teenage-middle aged group of people using it.  It was a way to display pictures that you felt were important and create a piece of digital art out of those photos through the various filters and frames it provided.  

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Each persons photo stream acted as a “gallery” to show off their favorite fashion, music, art, quotes, or my personal favorite.. food. It was a great idea because it enabled users to “tag” such topics, words, or phrases of their choice and it led them to an entire different gallery of hundreds to thousands of pictures that users all over the globe posted pictures and tagged the same type of word.  So maybe if you were hungry and inspired about making different cupcakes you could hash-tag the word “cupcake” and then find a whole new world of different cupcake ideas that millions of users had posted.  It was a unique, creative, and simple way to express ideas and photos of whatever each individual may like.  I actually end up spending more time browsing through Instagram to find new users, ideas, fashion tips, and a little inspiration when I’m not feeling so happy than I do using Facebook – which I never thought would happen. But in recent news, the harmless little individual art gallery that remained private if you simply locked your account isn’t so private anymore.  With the new Privacy Policy Instagram recently enacted, the company now has the right to sell your photos without your approval.  Image

All of a sudden the harmless, fun, creative, digital photo gallery became a bit risky and didn’t seem so fun anymore. But “As the old internet saying goes, “If you use something for free, you are the product for sale.” Said Nathan Bransford.  Selling people’s photos to different companies to advertise or create revenue was never in the previous Terms of Use and a lot of people are upset about the terms and rightfully so.  If I have my content locked on Instagram, regardless of whether I was a free user, I still should have the rights to my own photos but that is no longer the case.  In rebuttal to people’s concerns for their privacy being protected, Instagram came out to say that the people will be compensated for their photos used, if any. It still is all a bit too risky if you ask me. Even if I were to be compensated for my pictures, who’s to say I wanted them sold in the first place? Instagram is definitely walking on eggshells with this one.  For creating a wonderful app that so many people love and enjoy because it coincides with so much positivity and carefree living through the use of beautiful and unique imagery, they are definitely throwing the wrecking ball into this one by bringing on a lot of angry users.  If people wanted their pictures sold or advertised, they wouldn’t have set their settings to private. It makes me a little uneasy to know that the little privacy we do have is slowly diminishing through technology.  It also puts it into perspective for as much good as technology brings, there are also many downfalls