Radicalization and how social media plays a role

Terrorism has taken advantage of the modern world’s ability to reach a larger audience than ever before. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and even Youtube are being used by extremist groups to directly recruit members, gain intelligence and spread hate speeches. ISIS has proved to be adept in using social media in a propaganda war. Governments are attempting to combat the rising threat by using the same platforms to track down possible leads. Terrorists are known to combine a number of platforms, each being used in their own specific way for their capabilities and intent of the person making the threat. 

A prime example of this are the groups Daesh and ISIL who will manipulate online space, influencing supporters to carry out violent acts that have been well thought out and executed. They have been known to use social media, websites, file sharing and encryption software to plan their attacks with limited attention from government agencies.

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After the September 11th attacks, it became increasingly hard for organizations to meet in person, so they looked to the internet as it provided an easy yet effective solution to this problem. The advantages of social media extend far beyond providing a simple and discrete way of communicating. With the rise of multiple platforms, it allows the ability to quickly reach a broad spectrum of audiences and gain followers at little to no cost. This quick spread of propaganda is a serious cause for concern because it can only take one person to see their message to carry out an attack anywhere in the world, causing carnage and fear. These people are known as “Lone Wolves”. 

John Maguire was born in Ontario and after his parents were divorced he moved in with his grandparents to finish high school; eventually changing his name to Abu Anwar al-Canadi and Yahya Maguire on his social media accounts. He eventually left for Syria in 2013 after purchasing a one way ticket to join ISIS. He suggested to fellow Canadians through his twitter and Facebook that any potential lone wolf terrorists should reach out to him through his social media.

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Young adults are by far the ideal audience for terrorist organizations because of how active they are on various social media platforms; allowing easier access to promote their propaganda rapidly around the world with just a click. A survey conducted in 2018, indicated that 85% of teens use YouTube, nearly 70% use Instagram and Snapchat, and 51% use Facebook, which makes it the optimal platform to reach young people due their extensive use. 

If you saw suspicious posts, would you know what to do? Would you report it?

Social Media plays a role with Radicals. http://bit.ly/37UbE6m

radicals and social media #radicaltweet #darksideofsm http://bit.ly/37UbE6m

Social Media and the Modern Parent

Just recently I became a mom for the first time. I couldn’t wait to share pictures of our beautiful baby girl, but then I thought; I’m not quite ready to share her just yet. Now that she’s three months, I share more pictures of her on Facebook due to the simple fact that our family is in B.C. and it’s just easier than texting everyone. However, we’ve ensured that we turned the share feature off on any photos of her so that we can control the audience. We do have family that will only share pictures on special occasions, but they also have all their family members close, allowing them to see the little ones in person much more frequently.

But, I’ve seen many occurances in public where the child will do something for the first time and the parents rush to grab their phones and decide if it’s good enough to post. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve certainly taken pictures but that doesn’t mean they need to go on social media. You can look through my phone and see thirty pictures that are basically the same. New mom!

There’s always that one parent that will bombard you with bragging; little Johnny got an A in science, ate all his veggies, and scored the winning goal during his hockey tournament. But thanks to social media, you don’t need to hit up the playground to get all this information. Nope, it’s all right there on social media while you’re taking a personality quiz. You know all about little Johnny whether you want to or not. You see the comments and reactions, and a little competition starts in your mind. Some parents start to compare, and even question their own parenting style. Why though? We’re only seeing what they’re posting on social media. What we aren’t seeing is that Johnny failed math, and had to sit at the table for hours to finish those veggies.

A national poll from the University of Michigan Children’s hospital found that 75% of parents overshare. They say “sharenting” ranged from inappropriate pictures to details regarding where their child might be at a certain time. It also mentions that parents may create an online identity for their child just based on what has been shared. Many parents don’t think they overshare, but if you were to ask a friend or family member would they agree? Nothing sadly seems to be off limits as to what people will share; not all of it good! A friend of mine was so excited when her son was potty training, that she felt she needed to share the details in the potty on facebook. Needless to say, I really didn’t need or want to see that. #Gross.

image source: Pexels.com

Social media can be a great way to reach out to other parents for advice from how to get baby to sleep, to simply “my kid ate cake for breakfast. Does this make me a bad dad?”. Most of the times, the responses to these questions are positive; and then you get that one. You know the one I’m talking about; the negative Nelly who according to them has the PERFECT child, and would never let their child do any of things being mentioned. Despite all the positive feedback that you’ve gotten, that one negative comment can make you feel like you need to rush to chapters and pick up the latest parenting how to book. I was raised with the mindset of “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything” and I believe that even with social media.

I was born long before social media was really even a thought, so I was forced to play and socialize. My mom would put on my favourite Disney movie (was definitely Sleeping Beauty) just to get things done around the house. No harm no foul, but it was not a replacement tool for parenting. I understand even now with a little one that sometimes you go into survival mode just for 5 minutes of quiet, but so often anymore I see a little one with an Ipad to their face and the parent with a phone. Now I’m not saying this is a bad thing the odd time, but how often does that happen? Has social media become a babysitter for some?

Image source: Pexels.com

Are you a social media parent? http://bit.ly/2UUXLCr

Modern Parenting- Do you overshare? #modparent #socialmedia #parentlife http://bit.ly/2UUXLCr

Tactical Social Media- How the CAF uses it.

We all use social media in our day to day life, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) uses it as well. And why not? Businesses use social media platforms worldwide to reach people by the masses, and let’s be honest; the military is one big business.

Both my husband and I are currently serving in the forces, and having access to social media has made it possible over countless deployments to keep in touch. We’re both in the navy, and up until 2017 when they introduced WIFI onboard HMC ships, we had access to spotty email and the odd phone call via satellite phone. But now, communications on board ship are much easier with access to Facebook and Facebook messenger.

Image Credit: taken by me. My husband and I at a Forces Appreciation CFL game.

Aside from being able to speak to family members, the CAF uses social media platforms for recruitment. From advertising the many job opportunities to being able to search information on a trade you may be interested in, you can simply type it in on YouTube and voila, you can see what it’s all about.

An article posted by the CDA Institute mentions that as of March 2019, the Canadian Government wanted to recruit 31,000 new members to the Reg Force all while trying to recruit minority groups and women. Using different platforms for recruitment is an easier way for civilians to reach out and ask questions instead of trying to navigate through the many different avenues on the Forces website.

Commanders of each branch (Navy, Army, Air Force) and even the Chief of Defence use social media to allow followers an inside look at daily life, deployments, special events and fundraisers. Just recently, the Navy shared via Facebook live, the laying of the new HMCS Protecteur’s keel. Something most would never have the chance to see, but thanks to social media you can! The Forces as a whole are very active on Twitter due to handles and hashtags, it’s easy to gain a large number of followers. The Royal Canadian Navy uses #WeTheNavy to share some pretty cool videos of life at sea and interviews with sailors.

But with all this glorious access to social media (yay), there are some rules for us members! In short form, anything that makes the military look bad, whether it be you saying something distasteful or rocking your uniform while doing something that would make most raise their eyebrows; don’t post it. Of course you’d be better off not doing it all because everyone has a phone nowadays. So even if you don’t post it, I can almost guarantee someone else will!

After talking to numerous people over my career, a lot have said the lack of communication options with family while deployed is a big reason why they wouldn’t join the forces. Now knowing that we’re not living in the dark ages, are you ready for a new adventure?

image credit- taken by me. HMCS Calgary FFH 335

Tactical Social Media- How the CAF uses it

Tactical Social Media. #CAF #tacsocial

The Impact of Social Media

We all have a social media account in some form. It’s almost foreign when someone mentions “I don’t have a Facebook account”. We don’t know what to do, or how to react. Especially when it has become a staple of sorts in society. Everyone uses it for something different; whether it be to stay connected with friends and loved ones, businesses, or to just see what someone is up to. Regardless, most of us would be lost without it. You find yourself stranded on a deserted island…what do you do!? Would you know how to start a fire without Pinterest or Youtube?

We’ve all gotten to a point where we’d rather message someone on social media then have a sit down conversation with them half the time. Don’t get me wrong, there are days where I’m a hermit and the sun hurts my face, but there have been many times where I’ll try to talk to someone and the phone doesn’t leave their hand.

Police agencies use social media to find someone because we post our whole lives on Facebook or instagram. Why wouldn’t they use it? We’ve made it easy for them to find out everything they need to know, from where we are at that exact moment or what we had for dinner (guilty). A 2013 social media survey from the International Association of Chief’s of Police, found that 96% of agencies use social media, over 80% for criminal investigations in order to solve crimes, and 73% have said its helped improve community relations within their jurisdiction. Which brings me to another point; how much of what we post or see is the truth? Did Bobby actually get a cool new car, or did he find one and pose with it claiming its his. The truth is, we really don’t know!

Source: Pexels.com

Many people have asked “Is using social media bad for your mental health?”. We tend to vent whether it be about a relationship, poor customer service, or politics. So while scrolling through your feed, you’re seeing a steady stream of people being unhappy. But, are they looking for advice or just using it as an outlet?

But hey, its not all bad! There are several of advantages to social media. Sometimes it’s just easier to send someone a message on Facebook, or tweet or email than it is to call them. And I’ll admit it, I’m 100% one of those people who will have my phone in hand and not answer a call just for the simple reason; I don’t feel like talking! We’ve all been there.

I know personally, I’ve reconnected with people from my childhood or from an event I’ve attended all due to social media. I, like most people keep my phone number relatively private, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to catch up, or make plans if I’m in town! Sure, sometimes people can overshare but that’s up to the person posting! I’ll admit, I like a little gossip from time to time, but I don’t want to read about all your dirty laundry.

So with those tidbits of information, I guess you could ask yourself how social media impacts your own day to day.

source: Pexels.com