How the Internet, Media, and Social Networks are changing the way we think
Have you thought of the level of influence you exert on the people you relate with on Social Media?
Or how the use of the internet and access to information via the media influences your life as an individual? Have you observed the gradual change in your paradigms, your priorities, and your interests over time?
Amongst the numerous benefits these technologies provide, they have a way of changing the trends and switching our attention to and from a particular event.
These days, we have online churches, online schools, and marriage partners meeting via the internet. Many of the things we did several years ago are becoming enmeshed and enhanced by these technological resources. They help create awareness and educate various individuals. However, they could be insidious when used to promote corrupt or immoral movements.
It’s not a fallacy to conclude that a person can be influenced by what s/he reads, hears or watches online or via the media. We can be influenced as we relate with our online friends, given that these resources have offered us limitless access to a virtual world. So that even though we’re real people, we have virtual images of ourselves. A saying goes thus, “show me your friends and I will tell you who you are”. Another says “you become like the five (5) people you spend most of your time with”.
In the same vein, our online friends influence our lives through writing; our television channels, movies, news and radio stations change our morals, values, and perception of things when they consistently broadcast controversial contents for the purpose of questioning our beliefs or to selling a product. For instance, think of a Christian with several online Atheists friends who write posts questioning his Christian values every time. As he keeps reading them, sooner or later he’ll soon discover a psychological shift in his beliefs with time. How come? Online social influence!
Now considering the rapid adoption of social media and how it’s become a new home and an entirely new world for us. These systems/tools have weaved themselves into our daily lives and have become indispensable for us, according to (Mark Weiser, 1991) that every minute we feel like looking out for new updates online.
How we do business have changed, how we relate with others changed! Most times, we are so glued to these systems/devices that we neglect our physical friends. Marriages, relationships have been greatly affected by them. If the success of a marriage is dependent on communication between both parties, then you can tell what happens when that has been overridden by our addiction to social networks and the internet. Not only do they take our time and inhibit good communication with offline friends, but they also change our perception while using them, thereby causing more dissociation with others.
The effects of the internet and social networks are so enormous that they can be used to impress something on our minds. Take for example, before now, there has not been so much concentration on SEX in the society, but now this is a trend. How did it happen? I could easily search for any information I desire on sex on the internet.
I could remember when I was an adolescent, I always wondered how parents learned how to have sex, who taught them? If it were these days, I don’t need to wonder that much, Google is at my fingertip. I could easily search the internet and read up forums, ask questions, watch videos and satisfy my inquisitions on this subject matter. What is even parlous in this endeavour is that the individual may not receive this information from professional or credible sources. We read about sex everywhere, watching an advertisement you will find elements of sex. In many movies are sexual arousing scenes, including those with parental guidance ratings. Until recently, we started equating creativity with a little bit of sensuality.
You may think a child is watching an “innocent” cartoon, but voila! He’s already learning how to kiss, the 6-year old boy already knows how to kiss and make love to the opposite sex. It wasn’t this way several years ago.
Currently, there’s an advocacy for same-sex marriage to the extent that even children’s cartoons now depicts these things. The aim is to raise children who are not homophobic. All this is made possible via the media.
Sexual content depicted on televisions, videos, and Social networks may seem innocent to see, but it’s having an untoward effect on the younger generation. When a child watches violent movies consistently, they tend to think you get everything by violence. When you see someone always interested in seeing horror movies, such a person doesn’t perceive a cut, bloodshed, violence, jungle justice and other barbaric acts as a strange and evil thing. Even if they currently dislike these things, with time, they begin to find pleasure seeing them, then you wonder why there’s an alarming spread of terrorism in the world — when violent videos can be shared and stored on smartphones.
The internet, television, newspapers and social media provide so much information to us, that we keep reading and watching and hearing. But unfortunately, they only make us think we know, but the downside is, the knowledge we get on social networks are usually half baked.
So many people now despise longstanding friendships with their offline friends because of an online friend whom they never met nor had real contact with. But by our perception and contact with them online, we believe they are trustworthy enough to be our friends and that places us at risk. The internet and social media have given the unheard a voice — we can now reach the unreached wherever we are on our smartphones and laptops, and this is a good thing. However, sometimes we tend to take it for granted.
The things in vogue are determined by the media; fashion sense is greatly influenced by the media. The success of a political campaign is determined by the media. Politicians keep tossing our minds to and fro during elections. It is the ability to control what the media broadcasts about a political aspirant that gives him an edge over the other. If the media presents a good and qualified candidate as bad/evil, he may never win. The media can also polish the wrong candidate and make him look nice, and he will win, even when evidently, there are quite convincing reasons why he shouldn’t be voted for. Voters will still be convinced to vote them in. The media can be bought to reduce broadcasting the ill-doings of a government, and except you are inquisitive enough you may never know. And this inadvertently affects the citizens because the same media promote something insignificant, diverting the people’s attention from what they should focus on.
Several years ago, or presently to some people, there has to be something tangible you do to make money or even considered to be working. I mean physically going to work, leaving your house. However, with technology, we can now avail the benefits of remote work and online transactions. It’s now easier to promote new ideologies just with a single click and it’s gone viral. This implies that we do not need to struggle so much to create a movement or say anything. Consequently, there has been an increasing and unrestrained disregard for folks because of this freedom.
On a lighter note, this article was published basically for education and awareness. It doesn’t intend to discourage anyone from taking advantage of these technological resources, but to promote their positive use.
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I believe you relate with the above exposition? Share your opinions and experiences in the comment section below.