Be careful in using social media

December 13, 2016
Dr. Fowziya Al-Bakr
Dr. Fowziya Al-Bakr

Dr. Fowziya Al-BakrDr. Fawziya Al-Bakr

SAUDIS top the list of people using Twitter, Facebook and YouTube in the world. There are now other social media networks such as Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp. Increased use of social media has brought drastic changes in our conservative society — which grants limited individual freedom — as they find themselves in a musical garden of new thoughts and real video clips.

No doubt Saudis – men and women – spend hours using computers or mobile phones, reading new articles and latest news and watching photos and video clips. As a result, most of them ought not to keep themselves away from the social media. For them the absence of Wi-Fi and mobile battery charger is a more important issue than vital national and social problems.

The unlimited space offered by the social media has created many issues. Most people are unaware of how to use these networks carefully without harming others and they commit mistakes by sending or forwarding sensitive messages, videos and photos or making quick comments without thinking about its consequences. This situation has forced the government to take punitive action against those who misuse social media with the intent of harming the state, institutions and other agencies.

Misuse of social media networks has created complicated legal issues. It is the duty of social institutions such as family, school and mosque to enlighten the new generation on ways to use electronic media properly in order to stop their unwanted interference. Our children should know the complications of using the social media and its legal, social and cultural consequences.

The issue’s purview is beyond its legal dimension while its social dimension is beyond our expectations. A young woman, who is proposed to get married with a young man, will be knowing everything about her would-be groom from the Facebook. She understands about his friends, hobbies, where he spends summer vacation and his stand on political and environmental issues.

The growing use of social media has forced secondary schools in the United States to issue a circular that pupils should not upload any personal information or video or photo on the Internet if they do not like to see it by their parents and school principals. This means such information could be used in one way or another.

Companies also make use of electronic researches while taking employment decisions. HR officials will check the electronic history of job applicants to know their political and social views and whether it conforms to the company’s policies. If this is the case of marriage and work, just imagine what the and governments could do to remove the signs of people whom they do not like.

The message is that we should be very careful in using the social media. Our comments are heard or read all over the world. It’s like an open telephone and your comments will be heard by thousands and sometimes millions of people. Subsequently, we have to use every word carefully in order to protect us from falling into legal complications and other troubles.

December 13, 2016