February 9, 2014
English 802 section 39
Paper one: Digital media and cultural change
Some would argue that social networks have changed the dynamics of society tremendously. People now have access to resources and information on portable technologies that was once unavailable and unimaginable. Because of this, people communicate with each other not only nationally, but also internationally. Online “friends” can now discuss political, economical and social issues, share pictures of themselves and like post from all over the world. Although the phenomenon known as social media has made the world a smaller place in terms of communications, it has also fueled a new type of assault commonly known as “cyber bullying”. Social networks now pose a threat to adolescence because it causes mental and emotional instability through the danger of misinterpretation of posts, the lack of new legislative procedures, and the fact that those combatting cyber bullying have a social disconnect with the digital natives experiencing this form of bullying.
Technology has not only changed how we receive information but it has changed the way our brains interpret and absorb information. In Nicholas Carr’s article “Is Google making us Stupid” he analyzes and discusses the long-term implications the Internet has on how humans function and how they communicate. Carr states “Although having all our pals online from moment to moment seems intimate, we risk losing personal touch with our real-life relationships and may experience an artificial sense of intimacy compared with when we shut down our devices and devote our attention to one individual at a time”(pg. 72). Modern technology has created an allusion that it is bringing people closer, but in reality its changing traditional human interaction. Technology is making communication easier, but we are losing the intimacy and emotion that human interaction establishes. We now absorb information by interpreting words but not tone or body language. Tone and body language play a major role in communication. This makes it difficult for one to get a true understanding of what someone is saying without physical interaction.
This is a case on Tumblr when an anonymous messenger sent a comment to a 14year old girl saying, “If I knew how to track IP addresses id find you, call your house and tell your parents everything. Because you are worthless. You don’t deserve to live. You’re not funny, you’re not brave, and you’re just a scared little girl with a blog. Fags aren’t humans. You aren’t worth anything. Your house will be burned down. Or one of you will get murdered, heck ID KILL YOU IF I HAD THE CHANCE”(Tumblr 2012). This same girl was bullied online on several social networks by the same person due to her sexuality. Feeling defenseless and scared she decided to take her own life. Friends of the girl said she became consumed by the words of her attacker, constantly reading her anonymous messages over and over again.
Reading something through a screen gives the reader the freedom to interpret the information their getting however they want, but this can become problematic in the case of cyber bullying. If a message is very broad and ambiguous the person receiving the message interprets the information according to his or her own expectations. For example, a cyber bully sent me a message in 9th grade saying, “Your worthless, no one at school likes you and you should just jump off a bridge”. I could have easily digested this information and taken my own life, but instead I realized the person behind the screen is a human being just like myself. I have the most control over my life and stability therefore I have the power to over come words on a screen. But for many young people, they haven’t been told that they have the most power over their lives, because the power of words and opinions are what their worlds revolve around. The way we are receiving information has changed so it gives us time to