A split second decision can change a life forever. Do we ever really stop and think before we make a move? How many of us send something without thinking about where the image or message might end up? In our new way of living in this digital world, we have to think even more about the choices we make. A picture meant for fun, might be the thing that comes back and haunts you. A slew of words could be the factor that causes someone to end their life. All of these things must be considered very carefully when playing online, as it is quick to turn to fire if put into the wrong hands.
Make one wrong move and your reputation might be ruined forever. You might lose out on that dream job, dream person, or maybe more. You can erase all you want, but it will forever be embedded in the dark web, taunting you from a distance. You might think the person you are talking to across the screen is someone you can trust, but how can you really be sure. There are so many creeps and sickos lurking, looking for their next pray. Hoping to get someone to give them exactly what they want and then take it and use it against you. You might think it is an innocent sexy photo, until it ends up in hands you never wanted it to. Making you feel disgusted and violated, the picture misconstrued to be something it was not originally intended to and wishing you could go back in time and change your decision at that very moment that you pressed send. Making decisions like these in a split second might make you feel beautiful in the moment, but what about the next day, month or year? Would you still want to post this picture? Will it be worth it? Ninety-nine percent of you will agree, the answer is no. A moment of gratification has become our lives that we don’t stop and think about what happens later on, how we will feel, or how others will perceive us. I am guilty of that and have had to live with the disgust, my one split second action caused.
Feeling disgusted because someone screen shots a picture and tried to change it into something it wasn’t, all because I decided I no longer wanted to send sexy photos. I have felt the shame and regret and had to swallow a hard pill in the form of a lesson that could have cost me a lot. Beating myself up for making a mistake, no matter how stupid it was, still a mistake. A mistake I don’t like to give myself a break on. Reminding myself how I shouldn’t go along with the crowd and shouldn’t let others drag me into their wild games. I have had to kick myself for actions I have done, pictures sent, words said, all in the name of online fun. Except is it really fun when it can directly impact your daily life? Not so much. When I have to worry about a picture being safe, then it never really was fun. I was just caught up in the brief moment of weakness of playing along with the in crowd. A lesson that I had to learn and was not a pretty one either. The goal is that as long as you learn from your lesson, then you can give yourself a break from past mistakes. Right your wrongs, take back your self-respect and don’t let anyone try and drag you down with them. That is when, you can raise your head up high and walk on, even if they will keep trying to pull you down. A picture can be erased, but words can be imprinted forever.
Do you think about the words you say in a message to someone? Maybe you think it is a cute joke, but your cruel words may be what sends them over the edge. Their day so bad and feeling like they have no escape, you put the final dagger in their back, and they break. Not realizing your words have power online is the most dangerous crime. People always present themselves as something they may not be online, feeling either safe to be themselves or be someone else. You never know what someone is dealing with, and with so many attention seekers in this world, you can’t be sure who is real and who is out for the glory. People always trying to seem more important than they are because they feel inadequate in the real world are the ones who seem to spew the most venom without worry about consequences. Making it their mission to appear to be someone important, they are usually the individuals that are the most lost. They don’t care about others and will go out of their way to embarrass or expose them. Only exposing their insecurities in the process.
Words they write that flash across the screen, words of disrespect and belittling, can not be erased from the mind of the person they are directed towards. Words cut deeper than physical wounds because we internalize them. We twist them to make our insecurities true and tear at ourselves deeper, letting the wound penetrate to the soul. These kinds of actions are despicable and the words even more so. Your decision to post a nasty message with a cruel insult may trigger someone who has been bullied all their lives. It might drive them to become bitter and angry, or worse make them continue the trend. Rethink the message and try to address all you encounter with positivity and understanding. It will make everything better and will make you feel better inside as well. You cannot take back the words you say, once you hit send. There is no retract button, once it is out in the inner web, it stays there. Delude yourself all you want by deleting the message, someone has seen them, someone can spread your original message. Make the decision not to send the message, if you don’t want to be responsible for the consequences that might occur if it goes sour. Walk away from the drama and don’t incite it, it will make your life so much better.
We make decisions all day, every day, yet the ones we make online tend to be the ones we don’t put as much thought into as the others. You wouldn’t walk down the street in your lingerie or shout racial slurs and death threats at everyone who walked by. At least I hope you would have better sense than to do those things. You wouldn’t knowingly break the law because you know the end result could very well be you behind bars, your freedom taken away. Yet the decisions we make online are so haphazard, not thinking about anything other than the instant gratification we will receive if someone likes our photo, leaves a comment, or shares our post. That is not living, that is existing for the purpose of likes. A whole world is outside the internet, yet we spend so much time making bad decisions that we get trapped into its appeal. You can be a keyboard warrior trying to make others feel worse about themselves, while you get some sick pleasure out of the experience. You can be a sex kitten who always posts sexy photos and has no sense of caring that these photos might end up in the wrong hands, leading to a black mail situation or worse, a stalker. Thinking you are safe because a screen separates you, when reality that screen is not very protective at all.
Thinking twice about what you do and say in life, will make you a better person and a more thoughtful one. Paying close attention to what you post online will help you as well, because it will keep you protected from all the predators that are out there. A decision only takes a second to make, but you need to be sure that you are comforted by the decision’s outcome. You don’t want to have to worry nonstop about ramifications for the things you are doing online. Being smart is your greatest weapon when it comes to keeping yourself safe in this digital world we live in. Making sure photos we post don’t reveal too much of ourselves or accidentally reveal our locations will help keep you from the dangers of online stalkers turning into real nightmares. Keeping your identity safe by watching what kinds of pictures you post will also keep you from having your life potentially destroyed if those photos ever fall into the wrong hands. Being cautious about the words you say, will help protect you and others from unnecessary drama and stress. Going online should be one way you get a break from the day to day monotony of work, school, etc. Let your online time be used for a positive escape, rather than a negative one. Making steadfast decisions will keep you from enduring what could end up a lifetime of torment and harassment. So, think twice before you just post hastily, not thinking of what could come in the following, days, weeks, months, or years. Your online footprint lasts longer than your analog one. Make sure it’s a good one, full of good and positive decisions, making not only the real world better but also the digital one.
©Writing the Rose
3 September 2019