PLPulse

It’s Not Your Story. It’s Their Reality.

As Snapchat and other social media apps rise in popularity, the misuse of these platforms increase as well.

OPINION BY Kaylen Maltais, Assistant Editor-In-Chief of PLPulse

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Our lives are a series of moments, and whether those be moments of laughter, sorrow, pride, or regret, they all have an indisputable effect on the kind of people we are and the people we will become.  

Now, unfortunately, we live in an age where all of these moments, both good and bad, but especially bad, are captured for all to see.  

Maybe this doesn’t hold much weight for you, but for someone who’s been on the wrong end of a camera phone during a particularly bad moment, I can assure you that it sucks. Plain and simple.  

Luckily, the bulk of my digital faux pas were during my flip phone-wielding days, and therefore, died alongside my bubblegum pink Nokia. 

However, this does not mean that I am safe from the lurking ghost of Snapchat, nor does it mean that others are. It would be so easy to just bury all of my embarrassing pictures at the bottom of my trash folder like I did not too long ago, but that was before apps like Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram came along. 

These apps, although great for sharing one’s greatest moments, have the power to stain one’s reputation with a big, fat digital Sharpie. With platforms such as these, we have the power to, not only humiliate each other in front of hundreds, or thousands of people at a time, but we have the power to make these moments haunt them for the rest of their lives; too many times have I seen students take advantage of this power.  

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 11% of students across the nation reported having been the subject of a posted photograph without their consent.

How many times have you seen a Snapchat story highlighting the mistake of others with hashtags like #papiopassout for no other reason than to be cruel? How many times have you scrolled through your feed and stumbled upon a tweet that not-so-anonymously called out another student all for the sake of senseless confrontation? 

We, as products of the 21st century, have grown up with the world at our fingertips, the power to accomplish an unbelievable amount of good, yet when faced with this humbling privilege we use this opportunity for the destruction of our fellow classmates.  

We must understand that our lives are not some punchline for someone’s next Twitter post. The moments we regret or are embarrassed of should be just that; moments, not some meager attempt for likes and comments that patronize us for the rest of our lives. 

Next time you walk into your classroom and you see someone hunched over and their eyes drooping from exhaustion, or you happen to be in the cafeteria and a student gets caught up in the moment, singing to their favorite band, don’t whip out your phone and plaster them on your Snapchat story.  

Do us all a favor and put your phone away. Remember that we’re all human and that we all have our good moments, as well as the bad, and although they have an inevitable effect on us, it’s not your job to decide what effect that should be. 

There is an undeniable power that comes with the use of social media, but with that power comes great responsibility, and we owe it not only to each other, but to ourselves to take that responsibility seriously and with a generous amount of human decency.

 

Want more? Here are some recommended outside sources that expand on the topic:

Here’s an article expressing the pros and cons of Snapchat among teenagers: https://cyberbullying.org/snapchat-basics

To read more on the legal repercussions of social media misconduct within the school, read Megan Friel’s article, “Explicit Effects,” that comes out Nov. 17 in the upcoming Scepter issue.

If you agree with this article, use the hashtag #It’sNotYourStory and show your support!

 

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It’s Not Your Story. It’s Their Reality.