Social media
Social media Image Credit: AP

Social media: What can go wrong?

Social networking was founded to facilitate communication, but it thrived on human curiosity ("Dubai Police warn students in UAE to watch out for cyberbullying",Gulf News, November 17). More than a decade later of the upsurge of Facebook, social media has become something entirely different from the idea behind its inspiration. There is nothing personal about its connections now. If it were, global businesses wouldn't be flourishing through it. Social media is a bubble that holds power to make everything look pretty and shiny. The grass is so green in the virtual world that you go grey with depression because it makes everyone else appear to be happy, accomplished, beautiful and loved. It's a mirage that portrays everything we are deprived of in our own lives.

According to a research published by the American Psychological Association, there has been an extreme rise in experiencing negative psychological symptoms in people, and social media has a critical role to play in it. There is a widespread prevalence of racism, communalism, cyberbullying and abuse because apparently, it is easy to molest, yell and curse when you are sitting behind a screen.

The staggering rise in suicide rates after the surge in the popularity of social media reflects a strong correlation between the two.

Cyberbullicide; suicides committed out of the mental trauma caused by cyberbullying is more common than you can imagine. According to the findings of a research conducted by students of Oxford, Birmingham and Swansea on youngsters aged up to 25 years, the chances of people to commit suicide by encountering cyberbullying are 2.3 times higher than the victims facing conventional forms of bullying. The victims of cyberbullying tend to not speak or report about being bullied. It enhances feelings such as loneliness, hopelessness and instability among those who are already under pressure due to psychological, emotional and environmental stressing factors.

Social media is informative and all-encompassing. It has a noble and educational aspect to it. We must understand that it is a very convenient platform for people to play, pretend and exhibit that life is perfect and dreamy. It is more fiction and less reality, and we need to realise that before it starts messing with our mind-frame. Governments should construct more robust accountability measures with regards to lax content policies associated with issues like bullying, communalism and abuse. This change is imperative because the status quo is appalling.

From Ms Hanaa Zakawat Husain


UAE accident: Young lives lost

I had tears in my eyes and pain in my heart after reading the story about three Emirati boys aged 11, 12 and 13 years involved in a car accident in Ras Al Khaimah's Al Ghail area ("UAE: 13-year-old boy injured in car accident passes away in hospital in Ras Al Khaimah", Gulf News, November 11). The sad part of the incident is that the 13-year-old was driving the car on an unlit and unpaved road when he lost control and the car overturned. It is of utmost importance for parents to keep a vigil on their children and not allow minors to drive. As the Director-General of Police has emphasized, parents are to be responsible so as to prevent precious lives from being lost in such tragedies.

From Mr U K Kataky


Remembering the legendary Indian actor Soumitra Chatterjee

With the passing of cinema maestro Soumitra Chatterjee, Indian cinema lost one of its true legends who will be best remembered for the 'Apu' trilogy ("Actor Soumitra Chatterjee dies at 85: The Satyajit Ray favourite who became a colossus of Indian cinema", Gulf News, November 15). Chatterjee was the most celebrated actor of Bengali cinema. He was a truly a multi-talented personality who has left an indelible mark of an accomplished poet, editor, cinema and theatre artist. An actor and painter, Chatterjee is a scholar known for his poetry recitation, who in his career that spanned for six decades, had acted in nearly 300 films. There are too many performances of this amazing artist to be remembered, which have enriched our lives for decades. He will also be best remembered for the role he played in one of Bengal's best-loved characters, the detective Prodosh Mitra, otherwise known as 'Feluda'. Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi while paying tribute to great artist said Soumitra Chatterjee's death is a colossal loss to the world of cinema. An era has indeed ended in Bengali cinema with no one to fill the void in left by the thespian Soumitra Chatterjee.

From Mr Ramesh G Jethwani

Bangalore, India

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