23 Jul 2021 Using social media amidst the Covid-19 pandemic: An antidote or toxin?
With COVID-19 restrictions forcing everyone indoors, more people are turning to social media to fill up their time. In this article, we analyse if social media serves as a welcome distraction and even a valuable educational tool, or a platform for bullies to strike and a fuel for mental health issues.
Health Education (Mental health)
Health Education (Vaccination)
Mental Health Epidemic
Bullies, Inappropriate Content and Racism
Online bullying is sadly not a new phenomenon. Back in 2012, Amanda Todd, a victim of cyberbullying, posted a pre-suicide video which went viral, accumulating over 14 million views. Now on TikTok, there are trolls and bullies liking posts of people who are disabled or not good-looking, for example, as a way to mock them and help their posts go viral.
Before taking her own life, Amanda Todd uploaded a video of being bullied throughout her life.
*Warning: This video contains content identified by the YouTube community as inappropriate or offensive to some audiences. Viewer discretion is advised.
There are also concerns that such platforms could be exploited by paedophiles as tools for sexual grooming. While social media companies like Instagram are rolling out ‘kid-friendly’ versions, critics argue that children can easily lie about their age and still hop onto the regular platform to access age-inappropriate content.
Another concern is the perpetuation of discriminatory comments. Live drop-in audio-based social media app Clubhouse may have gained traction in the recent months, but it has been called out for being a breeding ground for racism and misogyny due to little to no moderation. In my short-lived experience there, a speaker was handed a warning that he was “perpetuating the stereotype of a white man speaking over people of colour”.
Credits: TODAY/Ili Nadhirah Mansor
Phoon Chiu Yoke seen leaving the State Courts on Jun 15, 2021.
By way of counteracting such incendiary remarks, another group named SG (not) Covidiots, invites users to “spread positivity and solidarity” instead of engaging in public shaming. Dr Jiow Hee Jhee, Digital Communications and Integrated Media programme director at the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) highlights that there are donations and mass shows of support for various groups during the pandemic. “If you see your friends or family (engaging in online vigilantism), you should talk to them about it and recommend some of the proper channels to address their concerns.”
Using the scale below as a gauge, how would you rate your mental health in the past few months?
If you have scored below 5, it may be a sign that you should reach out for help.
|Unable to function normally||Healthy|
You don’t have to struggle alone.
Contact Family Central at the following hotlines to seek help:
National Care Hotline: 1800-202-6868
(8am-12am daily, from 1 Sep 2020)
• Fei Yue’s Online Counselling Service
• Institute of Mental Health’s Mental Health Helpline (6389-2222)
• Samaritans of Singapore (1800-221-4444)
• Silver Ribbon Singapore (6385-3714)
About the author
Ong Hui Wen
From creative content to technical pieces, I craft compelling copy based on a clear understanding of audience needs to surpass content marketing business KPIs.