Harmful Effects of Social Media

Dr. Lorin Bradbury, author of "Treasures from an Old Book, Ancient Wisdom for a Modern World".

by Dr. Lorin Bradbury

Question: As I write this, I feel like I have dug a hole for myself by posting things on Facebook that I am ashamed of. I regret the things I posted, but it is too late. Not only have my friends read the awful things I said, but some shared it and now it feels like the whole world knows. Please share this in your article and warn others about how they may hurt themselves. Right now, I feel like my life is ruined.

Response: Allow me to begin by stating that your life probably is not ruined, but it sounds like it has been tarnished. Also, I will use this opportunity to sound another warning concerning the risks of misusing any form of social media.

Your Posts could cost you a good job. When you apply for a job, employers often ask for references, but it’s not hard to find people to write a good reference, whether you deserve it or not. So, employers have caught on to checking Facebook posts of prospective employees. If you write vulgar or nasty posts, your application is likely to be set aside, and someone else will get that good job.

Your posts could put you in a very vulnerable position. When you post weaknesses and neediness, there are predators out there ready to be your comforter. However, that comforter is a predator and is not there to meet your needs; that predator is out for personal gain at your expense. So, a good rule of thumb is to never go fishing for someone to sympathize with you on a social platform. It would be much safer to invest in a professional counselor.

Your posts can cheapen your reputation. If you gossip, use vulgarity, express your anger, or make risqué comments, you have just cheapened your reputation. None of us need to hear you run someone down, to hear how adept you are at cursing, or to hear about your sex life. When you post those kinds of topics on a public platform, such as Facebook, you may think you are damaging the other person’s reputation, but you are really damaging your reputation. You have just become low class.

Your posts can’t be retrieved. You may attempt to take back your words, but in reality, those statements and comments have made their way into cyberspace. Though you may attempt to take them off your post, only God knows just how for those posts have gone.

So, for the person sitting in the dark, believing you are ruined because of something you have posted, begin immediately to treat social media platforms with respect, just as you would treat a firearm with respect. Both have the potential to maim and kill a life. If you are mad at your husband, do not tell the world. By doing so, you just cheapened your reputation, and you have further damaged your relationship with him.

Manipulation is not the way to build relationships. If you have been posting or sharing comments filled with vulgarity or sexual innuendos, remove those posts, and begin by posting what edifies self and others. Your next job may depend on what you post or don’t post today.

Lorin L. Bradbury, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Bethel. For appointments, he can be reached at 543-3266. If you have questions that you would like Dr. Bradbury to answer in the Delta Discovery, please send them to The Delta Discovery, P.O. Box 1028, Bethel, AK 99559, or e-mail them to [email protected].

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