Saturday, June 15 2024

Since the use of the Internet is something we do daily, from time to time
it may be good to have an “examination of conscience” on how one lives
one’s “online life.”

In this article we invite you to reflect on how you deal with communication
on social networks, in particular trying to warn you of some risks.

A communication that affects us less

Without a doubt, an online conversation affects us less than offline: when
we write a post or comment on a Social Network, we are physically far from
the person we are talking to. We find ourselves in front of a screen,
rather than a face: we can write and then stop at any time, if we get
tired; we can disconnect or no longer follow a post, without anyone looking
for us to continue (even if someone did, we can block him or delete him
with just a click).

What consequences can this have on our way of communicating, handling each
other, or the way of saying what we think?

Here are five dangers related to communication on social

1. The danger of being unreflective

The social world is often accused of ” removing the inhibitory brakes,” of diminishing the
scruples of conscience and of making one’s speech more frank, but in the
less noble sense of the term, that is not honest and frank, but
unreflective and indelicate. We have already talked about the

study of Suler

, professor of psychology, on the “disinhibitory” effects of the network.

The screen acts as a shield, it allows us to “not lose face”: standing in
front of a computer and not in front of “someone in the flesh,” perhaps we
do not fear the aggressiveness of the other speaker, because his reaction,
even if it were violent, at most it would remain etched on our pc; it would
not make us a black eye.

Take, for example, Facebook: if we argue on a very visited page, in most
cases, we have nothing to lose (friendship, work, etc.).

As we expose ourselves, we remain “one among many,” and our comments, often
– especially if we are discussing controversial topics of general interest
– are lost among hundreds of other comments. In short, we participate in a
conversation, but we do it almost as “extras.”

And if you do not fear the reaction of the other, if you do not see the
“tangible” consequences of your actions, you risk reflecting ever less on what you do (think of a child who
thinks he is not seen misbehaving by his mother).

2. The danger of being arrogant

If it is true that we do not seek anonymity (we write under our name) and
do not wear a mask (we do not say things we do not think), the “protective
barrier of the keyboard” and the dispersive nature of the place we are in
can lead us to be instinctively more arrogant in our tone, not caring too
much about the words we use or the language of the conversation.

If in real life – in a square or in a bar – the discussions between
civilians are mostly moderate, in social media verbal fights are triggered,
with lots of rants, insults, “bad wishes,” even “curses.”

3. The danger of seeing only the idea exposed and not who supports it

On the web we tend to lack more respect, in general, because

we lose sight of the fact that on the other side there is a person

, with a story, feelings, attributes and defects, feelings and wounds. We
end up fiercely attacking those who speak to us – which we
probably would not allow ourselves to do in real life – because the idea
that we do not share and the one who defends it, is one an the same on the
screen of a PC. In practice, we throw ourselves against his opinion and
against him as if it were the same thing.

4. The danger of forgetting the rules of social coexistence

If in the arguments we have in-person we are “held back” by the thought of
having to keep relationships alive (and we know that to do so we cannot
always shoot at pointblank who we pops up next: we are told this is a basic
rule of social coexistence),

the “virtuality” of the Web can lead us to believe that we are exempt
from respecting those rules

. Rules that we usually respect when we go out with friends, in the world
of work, and toward the baker or someone we just met.

In fact, on Socials there are conversations without filters, which would
not even be imaginable if the same conversers were seated at a restaurant

5. The danger of “preferring” communication on the Web

Given the characteristics of the communication on social media and for the
reasons outlined above (perception of a lesser responsibility, belief that
there are less serious consequences and minor constraints), one might come
to prefer it and not being placed for someone to face-to-face

Instead of using the Internet as a “vehicle,” we can end up seeing it as aloophole, not having to face others in person.

Knowing these dangers can help us not to fall… to reflect more before
posting our comments.

And you, readers, what do you think? Do you fall into these traps? Do you
have other behaviors to report that are related to the world of social
media that can damage our relationships?

If you’d like, write it in the comments.


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