In the midst of catastrophic natural disasters and deadly human violence that are already taking their toll on human civilization across the globe, another sickening sign of impending apocalypse seems to have emerged on social media today. Whether it is real or a hoax, many media reports suggest that a spate of teenage suicides around the world over the recent years could have been instigated by an online pressure group through the deadly game called Blue Whale which allegedly pushes depressed and vulnerable children to kill themselves. Although the real existence of the game and its links to the recent teenage suicides have not yet been confirmed by police in any country, the governments, agencies and institutions in many countries have already started warning parents to be aware of their children’s online activities. According to Hindustan Times, a school in Punjab in India has even introduced a rule that requires all its students to wear short-sleeved shirts so that the Blue Whale tattoos, one of the signs of the child’s participation in the game, can be seen. This shows that just as in any other country where the game has created a wave of panic, India has also been hit by this social hysteria especially after some of the children who committed suicide across the country were suspected to have participated in the game.
One winter night in 1993, my wife’s elder sister, Sita Rai in Sibsoo got the biggest shock of her life. While everybody was busy with works late into the night, a group of men suddenly circled them and started attacking them with sticks and machetes indiscriminately. All their faces were covered in black soot. They threatened the family that they would kill them if they do not surrender their money and jewelry. Her father-in-law was subsequently dragged away into the fields, to the spot where he had hidden the money underground and was left with severe cuts and bruises after robbing him of his life-long savings. Later, the family learned that the robbers were from the same village but since they had distorted their faces with soot, they could not be identified. Likewise, many robbers disguise themselves when they rob people. Even if they do not hide their identity, they at least wait for the night to fall before they decide to act so that their identity can be hidden by nature. This is the negative energy you would get when you hide yourself behind the masks.
The advent of social media has significantly revolutionized the way we relate to others. It has become easier than ever to find people with common interests and connect with those whom we love and care. The entire world is growing up online. Due to the absolute convenience and easy access the social networking sites offer, social media is becoming one of the most widely used tools for marketing or information-sharing. Today, many people are using social media like Facebook and Twitter even to organize informal gatherings and to share the event with the public. However with so many young people growing up online using social media, their personal safety is becoming a concern for parents and teachers. The recent rape and murder of a 19-year-old girl in Gomtu is a gruesome reminder that social media can be dangerous if you don’t know how to use it responsibly.
Over the past few years, the internet has been flooded with various hoaxes that can be easily construed as true by gullible readers. In the modern era of information overload, it is increasingly becoming difficult for us to sort out the fake information from the hoaxes. Most of the internet hoaxes appearing on social media come from the fake or satirical news sites. The hoax sites usually do offer a disclaimer to indicate that the stories they publish are not to be taken seriously, and hence, it is very important to check out the disclaimer notes of the specific web site to determine the authenticity of the stories.
The moment we hear about social media, the first thing that crosses our mind is Facebook. We know that it is one of the most popular social networking sites today with over millions of registered users worldwide. It has become an ideal platform for people to interact with their friends and family-members as it provides easy access to hundreds and thousands of audience at any given point of time. With its user-friendly design and several amazing features, it has helped us create a completely different world online for each of us. We may not have so many friends to talk to in the real world, but we always have at least somebody to talk to on Facebook, be it a friend or a stranger any moment we log in. In fact, most of us would have more friends on Facebook than in reality. It has become a social medium for people to reach out to those whom they love or interact with the public either casually or officially. It is being used as a means to reach out to people both by individuals and organizations today as it provides so many interactive features that enable us to do whatever we like. So we have started posting all kinds of stuff, both serious and funny, for the public to see. As a result, we often end up doing strange things online. Here are five weird things we do on Facebook today.
I am sure you all would have been accessing various websites like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube from your mobile phones but have you noticed that the mobile versions of these websites can also be accessed from the computer? Since the mobile versions of dynamic websites are easy to access and can load fast, most of the visually impaired people around the world use the mobile versions of websites especially the social networking sites. One good reason why the visually impaired are more accustomed to using the mobile version of websites is because they contain less features and are more accessible for the users to navigate around. It makes the sites more accessible with JAWS, a screen-reading software used by blind users in the world. So, if you don’t have a smart phone and if you have slow internet connection, the following mobile versions of the social networking sites are recommended:
Social media was one of the prominent concerns among the youth of Paro as found out during the 2-day youth forum on youth concerns conducted at Paro Youth Center on 17th and 18th July 2015. It was amazing to know that most of the participants were aware of both negative and positive influences of using social media. While many saw it as a platform for keeping in touch with friends and family-members, and sharing good information, some had painful experiences to share. Since all of the 40 participants said they are active users of social media, they acknowledged that using it responsibly is important for their personal safety.