If you want to know the culture of a society, watch their behavior when they are in a group. Several researches have shown that individual behavior and group behavior vary a lot in various contexts. People tend to become less inhibited when in a group than individually. So, as a group they are willing to forget their values and follow the crowd. One of my recent research is to study the comments of various articles that come in social media especially in articles about women. Earlier I used to read the articles and skip the comments. Now what’s more interesting (rather disgusting) is reading the hundreds of comments below them. Firstly, many of the articles/ news have utterly misogynistic titles. Secondly the comments that follow them are written by hundreds of people (mostly men) who comment in full vulgarity abusing or literally verbally sexualising the woman. Well, one read through these articles and their comments show the blatant misogyny that exists in our society. A decade back these vulgar comments /objectification was happening only in TV / Advertising and that too in a subtle manner. Today it’s happening in our social media and hence very accessible to everyone including children. And as I said in the beginning, most people forget their true self and end up commenting vulgarly just because the others have done so. I remember, I came to know the “F” word probably during my college days but kids as young as 7/8 yrs have started using this casually these days. And by the time they are teenagers, it becomes a norm. Well, it’s not just the “F” word but our kids are unfortunately exposed to really bad words in all languages and perverted vocabulary that’s extremely common in social media.I don’t think any parental control software or technology can prevent this pollution of mind. Why only kids, even adults are susceptible to these useless articles and their comment atrocities! We talk about environmental pollution, but are we aware of Mind Pollution? Are we aware that on a daily basis, we are taking so much of scrap content that pollutes our minds? Unfortunately, we end up sharing and getting addicted to these kinds of junk data even without our knowledge because there are highly paid behavioral and linguistic experts thinking about how to get the audience “hooked” to the content. Now, how can we protect ourselves from this? Some people may suggest quitting from social media. But I wouldn’t recommend that since social media has various other benefits. But, what we could do are the following.
- Filter your Feeds – Subscribe to useful and positive content instead of junk content. Remember, 90 % of what comes in social media is junk which comes in the pretext of “valuable information”
- Declutter your subscription lists – We end up receiving hundreds of emails from unwanted sources just because we once visited their website. We have an option of unsubscribing. But we tend to forget the same.
- Never create / generate junk content – Every filthy comment or junk article that is generated by us adds to this pollution.
- Unfriend – Unfriend people who regularly comment vulgarly or use sexist language on others posts. Remember, whom you associate with is your choice!
- Have a Social media detox time daily – Every day keep aside your mobile phones for at least one hour. You could find an interesting hobby or activity that you could do in that one hour.
- Meditate – Regular meditation helps in better stress management and overcoming the physical and mental discomforts of prolonged mobile usage
- Compensate – Compensate for mind pollution with nutrients ! Read more good books , be with nature . Interact with real people.
The aftermath of environmental pollution is here already and in a few years, we may be hit with the repercussions of Internet pollution unless we take immediate precautions. And as I mentioned in the beginning, the culture of a society is visible in every action of ours – be it offline or online. Just remember, what type of culture are you portraying or passing on to the next generation. Are we giving a positive and rich culture or a famished negative culture?