The internet can be a platform for good, but we need to do much more in both cyber and global society – to be neighbourly, to be civilised and to be kind as we communicate and go about our lives. To support and inspire those around us, as together we create a society and each component, each person, is of great value. The internet has long reaching arms that redefine the human psyche as we edge further down a technological path of no return. We feel its grip, the necessity to use it as the key tool in our modern lives and we often fail to recognise the downside of such a potentially solely brilliant machine. As with anything, knowledge and understanding are the crucial aspects to aid us in getting the most out of it. The internet and its offspring, social media, have a lot to answer for, make no mistake. It is now standard to receive abuse, whether for race, sexual preferences, political beliefs, even work one has done, as well as so much more. An education befitting its power and ability to do harm as well as good is surely necessary. For should we ever become normalised to the vicious side of technological life we may as well be headed for ruin.
Imagine this period of coronavirus, spreading like wildfire, and the usual scaremongering that accompanies it and the panic-buying many feel compelled to do, if you will. If we did not have the cyber safety of our computer world that both takes us from this real-world madness and invites us into its own cold and steely yet simultaneously warm and comforting arms, where would we be? Is it even possible to visualise this scenario without computers? We’ve probably come too far regarding this advancement and it’s a complex equation to consider how salvation resides within the walls of the computer screen just as ruin also does. There are vultures in the cyber network simply waiting to swoop and pounce on their prey, people as far as the other side of the planet who deserve no malice. It doesn’t matter where you are, the negativity can find you, follow and floor you. To combat this and filter it out is a war of sorts.
Civilisation is changing. We want more than ever before, and the fact that everything is within reach has made it far worse than we could have imagined the cyber world to be, once pictured as a work tool and little more and now enveloping our whole spheres of existence. It facilitates a type of life that deprives us of the natural sources of contact, entertainment and fulfilment that for so long were staples of existence. With every new form of communication that pops up it genuinely feels like human contact is lost rather than aided – the new elements often leading to a sense of disparity and alienation – that eyes are emptier than before and that a face to face world is consigned to a thing of the past as we enter into cyber lives that crush our normal ones, diminish past human life and redesign and then redecorate the walls of our very collective consciousness. As with any handy apparatus, using it the right way, and knowing from the beginning how to do so, defines to what extent we are successful.
Let us think about what we are posting and how easily it can be spread. Let us educate ourselves to use social media as we would talk to others in daily life and let us appreciate these tools for the dynamic gifts they bestow upon us. Governments and schools should also be contributing to the mass disciplined study of how best to approach the technological world that is at the very least, the background to most modern life. It’s an inescapable truth and whoever you are reading this and wherever you are, at some stage, it will affect you. Therefore, it falls on all of us, to take responsibility and be good cyber citizens, to take care of one another and not use it as a weapon but a humble tool we appreciate, as a platform for good and even great things.