We live in a society where everyone is keen to judge. Labels are being flung left right and centre which inevitably means, everyone wants to label another. This means that we have stopped listening to each other and conversing with each other and I are now seemingly very passive-aggressive with each other. In our fast-moving world and society, it is far easier to listen to a couple of words, make a judgement and throw a label at a person than to listen and ask questions. The importance of questions in our society today, amongst a variety of cultures, races, religions and abilities will help us all clarify and understand each other as individuals. In today's society with the invention of social media and providing our thoughts within 140 characters, expression for the individual has become brief, reactive and misunderstood. With a thought passed in a minuscule 140 characters, it has helped enable the suffocating judgmental culture within the various cultures. Insults are thrown with no thought given as to why the insult should be thrown. Rarely when someone sees a comment they don't like, do they stop to ask why that comment was made. Why is that? Why are we so quick to insult, but so slow to ask questions and discover the reasoning behind comments we may take offence to?
Being quite new to social media myself, I found the use of twitter by some to be quite absurd. It had not occurred to me how challenging both mentally and emotionally social media would be. Now, we see governments wanting to intervene on the use of social media which could now be seen by many as a public social utility by many. We must question, is it fair to intervene like this? As an adult who is new to the use of such media I can see both sides of the coin regarding this question.
Most people who turn to social media are not adults but are instead youngsters. Of course, youngsters are likely already to be subject to far more bullying than your average adult. They will likely face bullying in school, socially and to face more bullying online, which could and indeed does tip some youngsters and teens over the edge. It is also well reported that children are groomed by adults through social media by paedophiles. It is well documented that it is frequently white paedophiles who work alone through the internet on social media grooming the children. Rotherham shows the other side of paedophilia and child sexual exploitation within gangs a different method used by a different ethnicity, Pakistani Muslim.
As a parent myself who hasn't taken much interest in the past with regards to social media, I am on a steep learning curve. Not only for myself, but my child who I want to be able to protect. However, protection and the use of legislation against true criminals such as paedophiles has become politicised. The politicisation of social media, presumably done in an attempt to direct children into a political understanding and acceptance, has eradicated the recognition for our governments to protect us but instead has made us sceptical of our governments and corporations. There is an obvious use of propaganda within social media, as children and teenagers switch off the television and consume this new media.
For this reason the scepticism shown by parents is understandable. The excuse used to control social media due to paedophilia and online grooming appeared to be predominantly aimed at people who shared comments which did not fit a political agenda. In fact it was frequently reported that this was how the laws were being used not just by the papers but by the corporations themselves. Indeed people risk being sent to jail on the basis that they offended someone. But is it easy to prevent offence with so few characters available? Isn’t it inevitable with so few characters? So, did we need laws, or did we need questions?
I have tested this theory myself. I first noticed the problem when I made a comment that I did not want more migrants coming over, in a social media comment. Quite abrupt comment to make but regardless it was how I felt and with the right to expression, I expressed my thoughts and feelings. Obviously, my abrupt comment regarding a newspaper article about migrants, upset some people as I had expected. What I had expected next were questions asking why I felt that way. Perhaps that expectation was too high because what I got instead was insults, accusations and judgemental labels. As these were thrown at me, not once did those people making these insults ask why I felt that way.
Further to my surprise, the insults did not stop after two or three minutes but continued for a week or more. Hundreds of comments were exchanged and an ever-growing string of insults. But no questions. Nazi, xenophobic, Islamophobe, racist were words and insults I would receive in most comments. But no questions. No one inquired as to why I didn't want migrants coming to the country. So instead I had to tell them. I wonder how easy it is to say sorry when you have spent over a week insulting someone? Someone vulnerable who has experienced something quite traumatic? I wonder if it's easier to continue your argument on the basis of a person, the person you judged and insulted without understanding why, for the sake of saving face.
Of course, I am not a malicious person. I am not hateful. I am not a Nazi, or a racist perhaps somewhat Islamophobic and yes quite xenophobic too, but no malice is meant by that. It is simply what the name says it is, phobia, fear. And with ongoing terrorism, and ongoing Muslim grooming gangs and ongoing migrant rapes let's not pretend this fear is irrational. It is not. With our laws leaning towards greater protection for children of different races, religions and ethnicities then it is understandable that the British natives fear what protections they will receive. Yet again, biased and propagandist laws directing citizens in a certain politicised manner.
What I found when I tested this theory is that despite being insulted, I was able to question those who insulted me and in doing so we learned more about each other and came to accept why each of us felt the way that we did. In fact, some people when they put themselves in my shoes were able to understand my position on my feelings a little easier than they had when they had insulted me after presuming the worst of me. What this proved was that when people were faced with questions, their position and their outlook was also questioned not only in someone else's mind but in their own mind. Indeed they seemed to be unsure of their political ideology. Things weren't as black-and-white as they had thought.
So, to apply law and legislation to political thinking and comments is not only extreme but infringes on human rights. And yet governments and corporations want to apply such laws and infringement, why? Why not instead, teach people to talk, converse, debate and ask questions? Would this not be far more productive? Would this not mean unnecessary laws and legislation? Would this not expand the minds of those who use social media? Would this not help create an open and free society? Would it not be far cheaper on the taxpayer? And would it not keep the focus on real criminals such as paedophiles? Why? Why are they so scared to teach people to reply to comments with the question, why?
As a child, I remember growing up believing that asking questions was rude. This belief was implanted somewhere. Where, I cannot be sure. But I grew up with a strong belief asking someone questions about their beliefs and their feelings was rude and insulting. Of course, I am an adult now and it wasn't until recently that I understood why asking questions was actually so important. There are likely millions of people, including adults who truly believe that to ask questions of others who they do not understand and possibly judge, is rude and insulting.
Many people are not taught philosophy in school. They are not taught critical thinking, possibly ever. And certainly not on political issues. The vast majority of us tend to accept what we are told. We tend to follow the agenda and the propaganda barely questioning it. We tend to follow what our teachers say, they are after all rewarding us with grades. It is perhaps not ideal for one's future to grate on those with the power to make it a good one. With such compliance, this no doubt makes us easy to mould. All of which is likely intended. And that is why, I believe legislation and hypersensitive laws have been put in place over the idea of educating people to simply ask questions. So, it's time to wake up generation alpha. It is time to teach them critical thinking and philosophy at home. It is time we teach children ourselves.