Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Internet is not a threat. It is a safety valve

Internet is not a threat. It is a safety valve.

I strongly believe that Internet is a safety valve that allows to diffuse much of the frustrations that could turn into violence. I believe that in a deeply divided society in which despite rising numbers the individual is paradoxically increasingly isolated, we need the means to allow grievances to be vented safely. For this reason, I reckon that attempts to prevent people from expressing their feelings in social media are misguided and dangerous.

Some years ago, I wrote a piece about Thomas Hamilton, a loner that was a member of a gun club in the United Kingdom. Thomas Hamilton was a ticking bomb, loaded with frustrations and resentment made a lot worse by the fact that he couldn't let go of the anguish that was growing and growing inside. Suddenly, one day, he decided to arm himself and walk into a public school where he shot dead teachers, parents and pupils.

Jo Cox's case is cited as a case of politically motivated assassination when in fact it was a case of a mental health patient that on the eve of the attack was asking the National Health Service for support because in his own words he was feeling emotionally troubled. Thomas Mair was also having mental health problems but the case was completely distorted and made to appear as politically motivated. Thomas Mair was described as a Right Wing Terrorist.

In a society in which one in ten teenagers are showing symptoms of mental health problems that go untreated in most cases, social media play a vital role. Those who do not have a rewarding and fulfilling private life can use the Internet and social media to relieve some of the pressure they are under.

I think some British politicians are getting things extremely wrong. Censoring and banning can only make matters a lot worse. I do believe that putting things under the carpet is not the answer. It is better for things to happen in the open so that we know what people are truly feeling and thinking. You might not like some of the comments people make but this is no justification whatsoever to prevent them from expressing what they truly feel and think.

Britain has a particularly serious problem. Why hasn't anybody asked why so many people are choosing to live alone and why so many that would like to have some kind of social interaction are being ostracised? Let's remember that we live in a country in which not less than 15,000 people take their own lives every year (this is about the cases that we know but there will be plenty more that we don't know about). I guess we only notice the problem when our train services are cancelled because somebody jumped onto the rails in front of a passing train.

Behind the drugs problem, there are fundamental social issues related to how we interact with each other. In the Digital Era of Mass Communications millions of people don't have a voice and feel completely abandoned.

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