Growing up in the 90s and early 2000s, the internet grew up with me. When I was young we didn’t have the internet at home, then eventually we upgraded to extremely slow dial-up, then to high speed, and now the internet is at my fingertips everywhere I go.
I like that the internet allows our lives to be so easily shareable. I like that I can keep up with long distance friends and relatives, and that the important moments are captured and preserved with so much convenience.
As someone who is fairly introverted in “real life” situations, the internet has been a pretty safe place to be. I make friends more easily online. I can speak my mind more easily online. It’s an outlet for me to feel connected while still having the comfort of being by myself. What I don’t like is that the internet has become a place to say or post anything without concern of how it affects anyone else.
For someone dealing with grief, the internet can be full of triggers that vary from person to person.
I’ve had friends post very graphic images of their unconscious loved ones in their last stages before death. I’ve had friends write about their journey through grief, tagging me in the post because I’ve been through “exactly” what they’ve been through, so I’ll get it and agree with everything they said.
Even the posts that seem harmless can be worded in a way that can be hurtful and triggering. After losing my dad after 33 years of marriage, my mom had a hard time reading one of my friend’s engagement pictures with the caption “the ring I’ll be wearing the next 70+ years.” After suffering through several miscarriages, one of my friends really struggles seeing posts where people casually complain about how annoying their (alive and healthy) kids are.
I’m not going to make a list of rules people should follow dictating what you should or shouldn’t post, but I think we all need to view our social media with empathy. The internet is vast and it’s easy to feel like you’re a small fish in a large pool and what you send into the water doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. But it does matter. The internet is a privilege that we are still learning how to use appropriately, and that privilege comes with responsibility.
Let’s take care of each other and keep the internet safe.