Photo by anomalous4

I’m wondering when we became a nation of tattletales.

I have a lot of problems with what social media is doing to our society. I believe that it causes us to be mean, because we forget that there are humans on the other end. I believe that it causes us to be close-minded because we put our opinions out there and that is it – no discussion, no debate; rather, far too often, name-calling and entrenchment in positions. I believe that the addictive nature of social media, coupled with the Fear of Missing Out, is causing us to miss large chunks of experiences in our real lives.

But a disturbing offshoot I have started to see is the inability to handle our own conflicts…

As a parent, we went through a phase where my daughter would come running: “she did x” or “he did y”. And unless there was physical injury involved, I encouraged my daughter to handle the situation herself, talking her through her options. This is the sort of healthy skill that functional adults need to have: the ability to negotiate their own way through the inevitable conflicts of life. Even now as a teenager, I will remind her she has to work it out herself, but I will be available as a sounding board as to her options.

That’s not to say it’s easy. Conflict is hard for most of us, myself included. But at the same time, resolving conflict is necessary for a peaceful life.

Unfortunately, I’m seeing regression because of social media. It seems to happen more in a group or forum setting than in one-on-one, but I’ve seen it in individual posts as well.

Someone says something, and another person is offended. The offended person then goes to someone they believe to be in charge, and demand action/apologies/something else to fix the situation.

The end result? It’s like a three year old running to an adult and asking for intervention.

These rational, intelligent adults are tattling on people, and expecting others to fix the situation.

There are a few points to be made here:

  1. Name-calling and tattling are the refuge of toddlers.
  2. We are adults and need to start acting like it. That means that if someone is offensive, the people need to sit down, face to face and work through it, with a mediator if necessary.
  3. Participating in social media is an entirely optional activity. If you find yourself getting upset all the time, it is your choice to keep exposing yourself to it. You can stop. (This is the exact reason why I haven’t watched the news in about 5 years. It is also why I really limit my involvement in social media.)
  4. If you find yourself continually being offended across the board, that is a sign that maybe the problem isn’t with the world…the problem is with you. Just as those who complain that they are not loved need to stop and consider if they are lovable, those who are offended all the time need to consider if they are looking for a fight.

Hard points, but ones that I find I have to live by. Yes, there are times when I do find myself being offended by everyone and everything. And the problem is always with where I am on my journey.

Yes, it is easier to ask someone else to take care of an uncomfortable situation. But I have found that working it through myself always gives me a stronger relationship and understanding of the other person.

Yes, it is easy to engage in the vitriol on social media. But I remind myself that I am there for the recipes, cat videos, and the positive messages from people’s lives; I also remind myself that I have a choice from day to day whether or not I go into social media. More often than not I don’t.

P.S. You may be reading this post on Facebook, but it is not written on or for Facebook. I simply have notice of my blog posts forwarded to Facebook, but I rarely check Facebook itself. So don’t let yourself think that because you are seeing this on social media that I am participating in social media. I’m not. It’s just a relay.

Photo by anomalous4


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