MNA Feature Desk: Social media, one of the most popular attributes of modern technology, has reached almost everywhere of the country as well as the world. Mainly, it is used and lived by the young generations. Most of the social media users lie in the age group of 16-34. But along with widespread use of social media, many negative things are coming out as by-products and as future of this world and Bangladesh rests on the hands of the young generation, it is becoming a concern that we might have a lame and vulnerable future. Moreover, the moral, ethical and religious values are also under the greatest threat ever. The situation is so fierce that there might be no actual social bonding in the near future and we need to act now to save our society and in a broader sense the world.
Bangladeshi youths usually use platforms like; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Viber, Whatsapp, Messenger, Imo etc. Several other platforms are also used but in a much lower scale. Though initially social media was eyeing on bringing people closer to strengthen ties as well as to exchange information in a much faster way, unfortunately social media has moved much away from that objective.
Now, it provides a life of illusion and the young generations are so obsessed with that imaginary world, they are forgetting actual social bonding while severely violating social and moral values. A decade back, we used social media like facebook to find out lost old friends but now we opt for making friends with completely unknown ones mostly to fulfill our illicit desires. Hence, social media is directly influencing social crimes and spread of all sorts of crimes in our country.
Today every parent complaints about their children using mobile phones continuously and that usage are mostly on social media. Social media has become contagious. With all positive and negative information on a social website, it has a psycho-social effect on us, whether we notice it or not. Unconsciously, we dance with its wrong rhythm and capitalize the leverage to say and demand whatever we want, our sense of moral begins to decline and at such, the ease to distinguish between what is right and wrong gradually diminishes. Bad becomes good and good is hardly recognized because of wanting illegal pleasures. Today’s youths, perhaps, are suffering from most extensive moral debauchery among adults in the country. Unfortunately, their behavior is accepted widely. Children’s vulnerability leads them to be exposed to many bad things.
It is a frightening trend that anyone can use social media without restriction including school students. This addiction is lowering their concentration level in school and at work, directly affecting their performance. Moreover, social media is somewhat fueling family violence, divorce, adultery, murder, polygamy, promiscuity and even spread of HIV/AIDS.
There are different dimensions from which social media attacks our psychology and hence moral. Firstly it is not about real connections any longer as social media has made us greedy for an audience. If we are on someone’s friend list and have not met or communicated for a considerably long time, then we are actually their audiences. We relate it to our popularity though this popularity does not matter a bit in our actual life. This actually creates a psychological vacuum among the users of social media as we continuously strive to get approval of our works from an audience which we do not have in our real life.
If we live our life for other people, we will never have peace. If you live your life making decisions based on what other people will think of you then you have no right to think of yourself as special. You will never be a leader and that actually threatens the future of a society or a country. We should always choose character over reputation but social media is actually holding us behind.
Social media often provides us a filtered image of our virtual friends. Their filtered, edited lives might look good from outside but that never shows the messy bits and bad parts of someone’s life. A picture of a person partying in Radisson Hotel does not actually mean that he or she belongs to the upper class of the society rather it comes out very different most of the times. Hence, social media is actually compelling us to learn about different techniques of cheating. Though projecting a higher lifestyle might not be very harmful but often it does not remain much innocent at a certain point and generates crimes.
Social media is making us expressing our opinions very freely. It does not matter if it is right or wrong as we can just post it. We have already seen several chaos made by social media posts which even comes in the form of fake news or rumours. Most importantly, sometimes it becomes the cause of personal harms denting one’s rights. Sometimes a community can come under severe threat due to such posts. This is becoming a great problem now-a-days. Today people believe that their opinion always matters, that people don’t have the right to disagree – and when they do, they’re haters.
Moral values have gone down so much that it is very hard to imagine the scenario. Young boys and girls are often engaged in illicit relationship which knows no bound by tools like video chatting. Sometimes these illicit relationship become reality. This is not limited into the borders as due to this technology a girl from Bangladesh can form a relationship destroying values and morals completely with a boy of Pakistan may be. Often they are engaged in multiple relations at a time as there is low chance of get caught. But they never realize that such relations can even get them pornographically victimized. Especially for women, this is fiercer and many committed suicides when they were exposed with pornographic content. Almost none of the youths use their actual identity or information when they form any such relation. But as soon as they start sharing picture or video, they are somewhat exposed and you might never know if that content is going to drop at the hands of your family members.
Not only the youth, but also the matured ones also get tangled with the curse of social media. As we are tied with marital relations, which often loses its hype at certain point and may become routine life, social media opens the doors of an illegal relationship. As a movie of Kolkata depicted a woman getting into illicit relationship with a man outside her marriage through social media who later turned out to be her brother-in-law and three lives were destroyed despite efforts to hide that relation. There is no love or affection in such relationships but those turn out to be life lasting curse.
Life is not only a life of urges rather it is of responsibilities and accountabilities. Otherwise, there is no differentiation between a man and an animal. But overuse of social media somehow is eliminating that distinction. We often took pride of the customs of the East which is based on the concept of a family but social media is definitely destroying the family ties and values resulting into higher numbers of extra-marital affairs, divorces, psychological problem and crimes among children and teenagers.
Moreover threats like terrorism, money laundering, drugs trade etc. are also being promoted and maintained through social media. Once a tool to create a social life now turned into a social monster and we must control it anyhow. Few steps must be adopted now to control this demon. Firstly, the government must introduce a system that no youth until 18 years of age to use social media. It should be tagged along with the national identification card. Moreover, campaigns should be launched to alert the parents and other senior family members to control their children’s social media usage. Mobile phone use should be restricted among the minors as there is no way of being charmed by seeing the smartness of operating a Smartphone as there are other conventional ways to charm like; performance in education, sports, debate, literature etc.
Most importantly, the government should run throughout campaign to promote family and societal values. Moral and ethical education must be a part of formal education immediately. Use of illegal and pornographic content must be controlled in the best possible way and should be brought under law as a serious offense. There is no way to have any softer measure if we want to protect the future.
We cannot expect to live in a world where there is no love or values and we cannot turn into animals. Beauty of life lies in sharing paths with beloved ones, not with some strange people whom even we do not know personally. We hope we can see this monster named social media destroying our social and personal life and can avoid its dangerous claws. We should use social media purposefully only and should be aware of defending the person inside everyone.
The writer is Associate Editor at Mohammadi News Agency (MNA) and Kishore Bangla