Social media: The new scapegoat

It seems today that social media is the popular target for scrutiny by the older generation, mainly because of the fact that the popularity of social media seems to outshine the mass media created by the older generation. Of course, whenever there are shady goings on involving texting and online chats, the news media never blames the actual perpetrator. Instead, they get on their high horses and blame all social media.

I say this mainly in an early reaction to Channel 4’s sensationalist documentary Sexting Teacher, which airs in the UK tonight. I’m not so much complaining about the program, as I am complaining about the central message as presented by the advertisement, in which the producers attempt to ask one of the stupidest questions I’ve heard in the year so far: “is social media blurring the lines between student-teacher relationships?”

First of all, this is a stupid question because social media and smartphones are incapable of blurring any lines. It’s just as stupid as saying guns automatically kill people. Social networking doesn’t cause problems. People do.

Second, I find it ridiculous that the producers are trying to categorize the whole Jeremy Forrest affair as either “a romantic tale of forbidden love” or “grooming for sex”.  It was never about forbidden love. It was about some bozo crossing an ethical boundary.

Third, this isn’t the only time that the news media has been targeting social networking sites. For as long as Facebook has been popular, the news media has always been looking for a way to scare people away from it. I should now, because for three years, it almost worked on me.

I highly doubt that the media will ever stop picking on social networking sites unless they stop being popular, which at the moment is statistically impossible. If that’s true, then the important thing is whether or not you actually fall for such sensationalist tripe. In the meantime, social networking sites are going to continue taking crap from the news media, and none of it will matter, because they aren’t fazed by the media scaremongers.

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