Welcome to cyberlife. We all know what that means, and we all log in, computing our minds with brand new technologies on a regular basis, diving further into our web lives every day. We cannot live without it now and it has become hard to imagine how we ever did (did we really?). With a wider variety of mental illnesses and known conditions than ever before, measures are needed to protect users of all ages from the pitfalls of using the internet and social media, those little gremlins that seem eternally trapped in the system, appearing unexpectedly and all too often. A magnificent tool in some hands it is also a harmful one in the wrong company. The ‘it loves me, it loves me not’ consideration goes deeper all the time as we wrestle to survive the choppy seas of computer usage that we surf.
It is not about avoiding using the internet, it is clearly a huge part of the modern existence, fashioned into the make-up of people’s daily lives to varying degrees as it now is. As with anything in life, it is about understanding the tools we are using and what dangers there are to them as well as the chief purpose for which the tools were designed.
We can contact friends and family, not to mention business colleagues and associates, via cyber platforms that unite us all. Once upon a time, we did not have such a plentiful supply of methods of contact nor ones as fluid and compatible with the modern age. Now, we are spoilt for choice as to how to make that connection. We can send messages across multiple platforms, make audio or even video calls to loved ones in foreign lands. There is a platform and a method of communication to suit all. It loves me.
A simple tweet on Twitter can be misinterpreted and shot down as total strangers issue a range of entirely unnecessary abuse without pondering how it might feel coming in the opposite direction. It loves me not.
We no longer have to wait for the next day newspapers to find out what has taken place most recently in the world. The news filters through as and when it happens and we can check that any time, even when on the go with our smartphones. It loves me.
We can be hacked; we can be targeted for fraud and many other sources of online scams; we can be the recipients of hate mail. Many of us will inevitably have experienced such happenings, perhaps even regularly. It loves me not.
Information, an abundance of it, is literally at our very fingertips as it never has been before, with search engines leading us to answers within split seconds of pushing the ‘search’ button. Research into anything can be done at the click of a few buttons on a mouse or keypad. It loves me.
The bounty of information and the simplicity with which anyone can post content means a great deal of false material makes its way onto the internet. Sometimes, sifting through it to find the good, the genuine and the gratifying is rather a task in itself. It loves me not.
We can navigate the cyber world to furnish ourselves with all manner of entertainment, even gaming with others at the opposite ends of the globe, united despite distance by a wealth of online possibilities. It loves me.
It is also possible to become addicted to social media and some of the algorithms attached to tracking and following others and what content they share, as well as wasting time and choosing cyber life, completely absorbed and obsessed by it, over a naturally balanced life that simply uses the internet and computers as a tool, a means to an end, a device for the good. It loves me not.
It is an endless sea of inspiration, life, warmth, fun, knowledge, and opportunity as well as junk and so much more. In fact, the list of possibilities could be worked on for weeks and there would still be something missed off. While it is unlikely to only ever use the internet well and never encounter any problems, it is more than worth the time and effort to build ourselves better lives with the aid of the modern technological tool to end them all. Our entire lives pivot on our computer experiences. Ultimately, it loves me, and that love is reciprocated.