A Few Steps we can take to make Social Media safer

The prolonged lockdown has been taking a toll on almost everyone’s mental health. Some people seek to resort to social media for relieving stress. But over time, social media has become very toxic. Every time I log in, I end up logging out feeling worse. Although it’s difficult to curate our newsfeed, we can do our part to keep social media a sane place. Here are a few dos and don’ts we should follow, at least in these difficult and uncertain times: 

  1. Stop criticizing anything and everything. Sometimes, things are as simple as we want them to be. Try to understand if your criticism is constructive or destructive. If you think criticism means using vile language, making insensitive remarks about someone’s personality, or personally attacking someone, then you might want to dig deeper and reevaluate what criticism actually is. 
  2. Try not to share bad news as much. Yes, it’s true that you can post whatever you want in your timeline. But try understanding that, some people would rather not hear about deaths and tragic events right now for the sake of their mental health. I unfollowed all news portals so that I don’t have to consume bad news. Didn’t really help. Because I got to know about everything bad from my timeline anyway. 
  3. Try to educate people. It’s no secret that all of us who have access to social media isn’t as aware and educated. So, every time you think someone is posting something offensive or irrelevant, reach out to them first. Ask them if they are aware of the matter fully. If they aren’t, be compassionate and educate them. Bashing someone in social media and making them feel inferior won’t do any good to anyone.
  4. Be kind and empathetic. Times are hard. People are losing loved ones, are craving human touch, losing jobs, and maybe simply feeling captive. Sometimes, they might post things and say things without thinking much. It’s true that one is completely liable for whatever they post in social media but consider that no one is thinking straight right now. Cut everyone some slack. If you feel like someone is being irrational, ask them personally what is going on. If you cannot now, ask them sometime later. But don’t attack and demean people online. Be kind. Always. 
  5. Don’t put up an opinion without detailed knowledge. This was, to some extent still is one of my bad traits. I am usually too quick to get angry with things I see on social media. I quickly put up something without digging deep into the matter. With time, I came to an understanding that, it’s okay not to know everything and above all, not to talk about everything. Whenever you are planning to write something, be well researched, and well informed. 

Social media, these days, might be the only source of escaping this harsh reality. Make it a safe place for everyone. Putting people down online, insulting them, passing harsh comments isn’t anything nice to do. You are only aware of the words that came out of your mouth; you aren’t aware of the impact those words on someone else. The impact, sometimes, might be devastating. Remain vigilant to what you post and also to your conduct with others online.

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