At the beginning of the unit I only used WhatsApp and Messages and I didn’t have any other social media. Sometimes being the only one who didn’t have Instagram or other social media apps, was really annoying but after going through this unit and seeing what can happen from having social media my perspective on it has changed. The key things that I learnt were critical thinking and how to use it, what empathy means and how it’s different to sympathy, respect and how it’s hard to always be respectful to everyone and responsibility for myself and for others.
For me critical thinking is thinking before you act. It’s something that we should use in real life and online. Nowadays social media can impact our daily lives a lot more than it should. This is because people think that because they’re behind a screen and they’re anonymous, that they can just say anything they want. But they wouldn’t really say these things in person, and it can make them feel really big and brave like ‘oh I’ve said all these things and no one else has’ but this can really affect the people who receive these messages. People also believe that whatever the latest trend is or whatever people are trying out, they should do. Some of these trends can just be people cutting their hair differently or changing what clothes they wear. But some trends can also be dangerous like car tricks or jumping off bridges. Using critical thinking is what helps us to make the right decisions, to decide whether this is safe or if it going to affect your life. Critical thinking also helps us to decide what’s true and what’s not. In news stories some of them aren’t always true and using critical thinking helps us to know what the true facts are to decide what we believe.
Empathy to me is about understanding how someone else is feeling from their point of view instead of yours. Something that a lot of people mix up are sympathy and empathy. There is a big difference between these two things and confusing them can influence whoever you spoke to. Sympathy is feeling compassion, sorrow or pity for what another person is going through while empathy is putting yourself in another’s shoes and understanding how they feel. Using empathy plays an important part of social media because it can change other opinions of you based on what you say. When answering texts about something sad that has happened to someone you know, and you want to comfort them you have to pick the right words so that you don’t sound condescending or telling them that everything’s going to be ok.
Respect is important in social media because just because you are behind a screen and you might be anonymous it doesn’t mean that what you are saying won’t hurt people. When commenting or talking to people we should always be respectful so that we don’t offend or upset people because of what we believe or think. But being respectful can be hard because say we are defending a someone about what has been said about them we have to be respectful to them so that we don’t hurt them more, but we also have to be respectful to the other person so that they understand what they did wrong and won’t do it again.
Responsibility is important because we need it to do the right thinking all the time. Being responsible isn’t just about making sure that you do all your homework or not forgetting your uniform it’s also about making responsible choices online about what you say and how you respond. Not making the right choices can lead to serious consequences so having responsibility is a big part of having social media. Another part of responsibility is being responsible for others. This doesn’t mean taking complete control over everything they do or say or fixing their mistakes and helping them with whatever they’ve done. It’s about helping them to make the right choices and helping them to learn from the mistakes they made. It’s also about being there to stop them from doing something dangerous or being there for them when they need it most.
This unit has changed the way that I look at social media but because social media has such a big impact on our lives, it has also changed the way I see that. Learning all of this has helped me to understand how we should act using social media and what we should be trying to do all the time.