We all remember our news feeds lighting up last April 15th. 273 Nigerian school girls were kidnapped from the Chibok Government Secondary School by Boko Haram terrorists. We were outraged and we showed that anger. We condemned Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan for sitting idly by while we yelled and chanted “#Bring Back Our Girls” across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Michelle Obama, along with dozens of celebrities joined the campaign by posting selfies with the slogan. Surely, enough “sharing” would free these girls. But, the World of Terror is far more complicated than that, and soon, we got bored and moved on. The anger faded. It was time for summer, beaches and swimming. We didn’t sit “idly by”, we simply moved on.
On August 19th 2014, our feeds lit up yet again. Freelance photographer James Foley was the first American beheaded in Syria by the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant ( ISIS or ISIL). Filmed for the World to watch. And it did. IT DID!!!!!!!!!!!!
Try doing a James Foley search on Google. The first to pop up are links to the video of his murder and we all know how Google operates. How could peace loving, cellphone and laptop using individuals be viewing this killing by the millions?
However, the World was again outraged. The beheadings continued and the World watched by the millions, literally, until it got bored and moved on.
And then came “Celebgate” or “The Fappening”. On August 31st 2014 hundreds of stolen iCloud photos of nude celebrities spread across imageboard4chan and were later released to “the public” via Reddit, Tumblr and Imgur. Of course a few nutjobs and hackers would find this coup quite exciting but even more shocking were the millions of people who thought it their right to view these vial invasions of privacy. The following is a statement by one of the victims.
“It is not a scandal. It is a sex crime.” Jennifer Lawrence to Sam Kashner of Vanity Fair. “It’s disgusting.
And so, maybe it’s time we ask ourselves a few questions. Is Social Media a playground for stripping away our decency? Can we trust ourselves to self monitor? Are we desensitized? And what comes of this? What happens to our Social Media raised children? Where will their morals lie? Who will hold us accountable? Most importantly, what effect are these images going to have on our future selves?
Let’s start the conversation.