We tweet, we like, and we share; but what are the consequences of our growing dependence on social media?
Only two Industries call their customers ” users”, these are illegal drugs & software .
Today, more than two thirds of the world’s population is on social platforms such as Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pintrest, Tiktok etc and this has been achieved by use of a combination of sophisticated Artificial Intelligence algorithm that is able to provide custom feeds curated to each individual’s likes and tastes based on their frequent online searches and views, and super intelligent behavioural scientist graduates from Ivy League schools such as Stanford and Princeton, who grace top echelons of these billion dollar corporations as the core business model designers, growth strategists and the real engines that drive these companies.
They have us hooked before we even know it!
The danger in this is obvious and a huge subject of debate world over in several platforms, both in government and academia.
Even more dangerous is the threat paused to the children that are becoming the consumers of tomorrow, the 10 to 18year olds. In fact, many parents have already started buying their pre-teen kids smart phones with data, whilst abandoning the role of monitoring what content these young ones are exposed to, oblivious of the potent drug that Social Internet is and the underlying worst effects.
As a parent to an 11year old girl, I shudder to think about the negatives such as;
- Cyber bullying
- Depression due to battles for “likes” and e-affection
- Sextexting and pornography
- Exposure to too much and negative advertising and marketing for products, politics, or religious idealogy
- Exposure of personal data to data theft and breaches
- Sharing personal information with strangers who could misuse it
The list could go on. Indirectly, parents are constantly on phone even at home, and fail to show each other affection or to the children, leaving them to maids and denying them parenting example of mother and father in a love filled interactive home environment as was the case just a few years gone by!
What about the data footprint left by young marrieds who forget that tomorrow, their children, nieces and nephews will be stumbling on this very content! That post on Mama Tendo, that nude tweet, that Insta post, could land on your own son/daughter’s device tomorrow, unbeknownst to you, and all the values you laboured to preach over the years will be flushed down the drain in a second.
Marriages have gone for a toss due to limited conversation, and lack of physical touch and expression of emotion. Back in the day, families visited each other, parents went out together and returned together, unlike today where couples are “virtually” together but only physically with each for the few hours of night time while asleep! This is constantly affecting the young ones who are now being raised in dysfunctional relationships or by single parents, one can only guess what their future holds, in just a few years from today!
In a world where cutting forests is more profitable, dead elephants have more value, definitely more social media means more Billions for Big Tech shareholders and data carriers, and even more taxes for respective governments, therefore social media can only grow bigger.
The onus remains then, on the individuals to deploy safe guards on themselves and their families respectively, as the lowest most basic and most critical guard post, before it is too late, if it isn’t!!!!!!!!!