I have made so many friends from around the world; I have re-connected with so many others that I have lost touch with; I have discovered so many people who have similar interest with me; I have joined many groups that share the same ideology with me, and we have exchanged so many ideas; I am up-to-date with all happenings around the world; I am exposed to different aspects of knowledge; I can now shop from the comfort of my home. All these and many more are made possible through the social media. This is part of efforts at making the world a global village. Thus, the social media as a platform has made life easier and worth living for this generation, and if I were to add my voice as to whether we are happier than our forefathers or not, I will unequivocally assert that we are indeed a privileged generation.

However, it must be noted that every good thing has a way of its being abused. This is not just restricted to the mundane things but even spiritual issues. Thus, the social media with all its benefits is not exempted from abuse. This abuse takes many forms, which touches the very foundation of the social media, and cast doubts in the minds of many, most especially the elderly ones, as to its benefits.

First, in a bid to make money, many have engineered and perpetrated the abuse of the social media. How did they do that? You might ask. The love of money they say is the root of all evil. Thus, some unscrupulous people set out on a journey of purported friendship, but with the ulterior motive of taking advantage of unsuspecting eager friends, either to directly rob them, or to use them for rituals. We have heard many instances of people who were robbed or killed in a bid to meet with the friends they got connected through the social media. Thus, an avenue for making new friends for the advancement of one’s course in life has suddenly metamorphosed into a snare that mars or ends one’s life. It’s as bad as this!

On a similar note, the education imparted through the social media has been hijacked and corroded with mean virtues and values, leading to the dissemination of information that is capable of corrupting public morals. It is in this light that dirty languages/stories and the display of nudity is at its peak in the social media. What is supposed to be a bedroom affair is being brought to the attention of a usually curious and expectant audience. This is so rampant that one will not be wrong in asserting that nothing sells like sex and sex-related contents. Videos and photos that are of such nature go viral within the twinkle of an eye. Thus, morality is at its ebb as a result of the abuse of the social media.

Again, blatant fanatics have pervaded the social media and are causing confusion everywhere. Instead of them to be condemned, same spirit has permeated many people, thereby giving rise to serious intolerance. Needless to state, where there is no tolerance, there can be no peaceful co-existence. Based on the foregoing, the social media of today has become an avenue for hurling insults and attacking persons who do not belong to one’s block or ideology. Sectional and sentimental write-ups and reports which are lacking in objectivity are being employed, and this has succeeded in inciting violence. Men have failed to understand that because we all cannot be supporters of one ideology that is why there are varieties. If all men were to speak with one voice, then there would have been no need for different languages. This is so serious that even where there is one route established and proven as the most authentic of all, people will still be seen struggling with the unknown. So, there is little or nothing anyone can do to make people unanimous over issues; but this, have many people failed to understand. So they lie in wait and attack, injure, insult, fight and quarrel over any stance other than theirs, thus converting the social media to a place where like-minds wage war against those who reason differently. What a pity!

The above clearly shows how a good and productive platform has been abused to the extent of its distortion. This is why the solution to the issues discussed above is imperative.

First, civility must be encouraged in all respect; and the hallmark of civility is tolerance. Topics that will preach tolerance and respect for other peoples’ choices and opinions should be encouraged in the social media. No one should be condoned or celebrated for vituperative comments and statements which serve no purpose other than the incitement of violence. What is being rebuked and castigated, has a way diminishing and eventually, becoming extinct.

Secondly, the Government needs to pass a law regulating the kind of contents to be allowed on the social media, and meting out punishment to those who violate same. This is because no matter how moral the sphere of social life may appear today, it has a serious implication on the foundation of the society if allowed to persist unchecked.

About the Author:
 Author Photo Bandawa writes from Abuja, Nigeria. You can follow on twitter @NBandawa

E-mail: ntayibandawa@gmail.com