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Living Online – Reason’s to hate the internet.

More and more people seem to be living there entire lives either through, for, or on the internet. As a blogger, and freelancer I am guilty as charged. I need the internet for most things I do. Social media, emails, finding work, keeping in touch with friends, research, shopping, news. Almost everything I do involves the internet in some way. As a human however, I am starting to recognise how serious the implications of this can be – not just on myself – but on whole generations of people across the world. The internet is so, so, brilliant, but can be so, so damaging and in some cases dangerous.

Working from home this morning with a healthy breakfast and a cuppa! Just what is needed!

The first problem – We place value in it.

i.e getting so obsessed with the appearance of your Instagram grid that you begin to doubt your own self-worth. I’m sure so many of us are guilty of this  – but when you see it written down like this – doesn’t it just strike you as a little worrying? This is only the first step – in so many young girls it can lead to eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and so much more. The number of followers, or friends you has no baring in real life. We should value people on who they are and what they do, not how many people they talk to on the internet.

This leads me on to my next point.

Was anxiety always this prevalent before the internet?

Or is having every part of our lives scrutinised, and scrutinising others causing us to have this anxiety? Or maybe we just know about it more now, as everyone’s writing about it on the internet, or discussing it in youtube videos where they weren’t before. I think talking about it is definitely a good thing – every (honest) video, or blog, or article that goes up about mental health is someone helping to chip away at the taboo of discussing mental health. However I can’t help but feel everyone might be a little less anxious if we spent less time at our computers, or glued to our smart phones, and more time outside, talking to actual real people, face to face, and seeing the world for REAL, not just from the perspective that it would make a good ‘gram.

IF IT ISN’T POSTED ON THE INTERNET THEN IT DEFINITELY DID STILL HAPPEN – In fact you’ll probably remember it more if you look at it with your eyes rather than through a camera lens or phone screen.

Trolls / Hate / Cyber Bullies

A screen is quite a convenient thing to hide behind isn’t it? It’s so easy to write horrible, hurtful things to or about people you don’t know or have never met when you have the protection of a username, untraceable account information, and a (probably purvy) profile picture of someone else.

But actions having no consequences is pretty much the start of an anarchical society. If you are racist on the street to someone’s face you get prosecuted, if you threaten to rape someone, the police would (hopefully but worryingly probably not) take a complaint seriously. It’s not illegal to call anyone ugly, or fat, but it’s rare that people walk around the street doing this because fights are likely to start, other people would hold them accountable.

Although there are some good samaritans trying to do this on the web as well, it’s not working. There is still too much dangerous, threatening trolling going on. The reason I think this is a problem, well, if you’ve been threatening to rape people on the internet for years, your brain probably isn’t far away from actually doing something similar in real life – and if there is evidence to suggest this is a possibility shouldn’t we take note of this? Shouldn’t something be done before someone really gets hurt? Cyber bullying has caused too many suicides amongst children, teens, and probably adults too, and not enough is being done to prevent this, because not every corner of the internet can be policed, and there are many much more serious crimes going on.

I don’t want to go too deep into the real criminals of the web in this post, we are all aware of the ‘real’ dangers of the web. But there is very little discussion of these other problems that can be just as damaging to people’s lives. I’m not sure even why I wrote this, I just was thinking about it, and thought some people might like to read it.

So next time you are looking at your friends facebook and wondering why you weren’t invited to that party, counting your twitter followers in comparison to that other girl with the blonder hair, or thinking of starting that diet that girl on instagram said made her lose 5 pounds in 2 days. Remember that the internet does not define you as a person.

Similarly, if you are the type to which I hope you aren’t, next time you want to leave a negative comment on someone’s selfie, or get carried away in a twitter debate and take it too far, remember that there is a person behind the profile picture, and their life, and their feelings matter. We all have to live on this earth together, and we need to help make it a little easier for everyone.

 

 

 

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  • nicole

    I really really love this post! I am gulity of spending way to much time on the Internet but with college essays and blogging it is kind of my life! Although I throughly enjoy it I do see the implications it can have! Although I try not to let stats define me, I constantly find myslef checking them, it’s really bad! The main drive behind my blog this year, is to portray realism more! Talking about tabbo subjects, raising awareness of things that affect young people’s health and wellbeing! It’s important to use my platform to help people realise that real life isn’t all about your Instagram feed or Twitter followers but the things that you achieve and are capable of doing if you put your phone down, even if it is only for an hour a day!

    Nicole x

    http://thriftyvintagefashion.blogspot.co.uk

    Sorry, I hope you mind essay long comments haha x

    • Milli

      Nicole, you are so right. I think it’s so important to use influence in a way that could help rather than hinder. There is a huge culture of envy that is associated with social media that is not healthy – I understand an element of self-awareness is important – to be able to say ‘I know that’s only a snippet of their life, and they have good and bad times just like me’ But it’s different when you are an adult to when you are 12 or 13 years old, and feeling inferior and self-conscious.

      And I love essay comments 🙂

    • Nicole, you are so right. I think it’s so important to use influence in a way that could help rather than hinder. There is a huge culture of envy that is associated with social media that is not healthy – I understand an element of self-awareness is important – to be able to say ‘I know that’s only a snippet of their life, and they have good and bad times just like me’ But it’s different when you are an adult to when you are 12 or 13 years old, and feeling inferior and self-conscious.

      And I love essay comments 🙂

  • i love the internet and it can be a truly happy and inspiring place and certainly my way of being creative. the worst thing about it is that i can easily make you feel like your life just isn’t exciting and that it isn’t ‘goals’ when i reality theres so much to be happy about and thankful for. i really have to step back sometimes and remind myself of all the great things i have offline.

    loovelle.blogspot.com

    • That’s so insightful of you, it is easy to forget to be grateful but really anyone with access to the internet is leading a very priviledged life!

  • Georgia

    This was such an interesting post! I didn’t use the internet regularly when I went travelling in the summer and was amazed by how much more relaxed I was and how much more time I had without absent mindedly scrolling through facebook and instagram so often. Completely agree with your point about the internet not defining you as a person, its so easy to get carried away with posting online and forget to focus on the actual moment rather than just the photo xx

    http://www.chasingbelle23.blogspot.co.uk

    • This is so true, it’s so hard to forget that there is a real world going on around you, and it’s often better seen through the lens of your eye than your camera!

  • Bethan

    Such a great post and I agree with everything you say!
    It always amazes me how reliant I am on the internet and it becomes more apparent when I’m somewhere with no signal… I love the internet but it definitely has some negative effects on my life, it’s so easy to get obsessed with checking social media when really you should be living in the real world. Not that there is anything wrong with Twitter etc. it’s just everything in moderation!
    I’ve been trying to make a conscious effort to take time away from the internet, to become less reliant on it and to stop worrying about how many followers I have! It takes a weight off your mind. xx

    http://www.bethanlikes.com

    • That’s so good to hear you are trying to detox a bit. It’s all about balance I think, the internet is brilliant, but too much of a good thing can be harmful !

  • Consumed by Wanderlust

    Love this post. The internet is such a glorious yet harmful thing. I think I need to put the laptop and the phone down more so I can have some down time with friends and not document my life on social media.

    • Yes definitely, there is so much joy to be found offline as well as online. xx

  • Frey de Fleur

    Saw this on twitter and just had to give it a read. I am really bad at putting too much value online. Sometimes I need to step back and remember my real friends will always love me even if I get a few unfollowers on instagram haha. But the internet does have its perks like being able to keep in touch with friends like you! x

    http://www.freydefleur.com

    • Yes It’s so true – The internet is amazing, but there is so much more to life as well – It’s about finding balance, which I don’t think many of us have done yet! hehe 🙂

  • Agreed. All good points! And I also tend to remember things more when I put my camera down. That’s why I don’t always use it when I’m on vacation. 🙂

    http://www.madisontaylor.co