Social media, it comes in a variety of forms from the most popular like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram to things like blogs, business networks and forums. Those who are active online within these social media platforms each and every month reach into billions of users. Accessibility is also becoming easier, as everyone can now connect via a mobile device.
The reason behind social media, why do people share? First, many want to share the content they find, because it is entertaining or the information has value. Social media helps connect people, as well as helping to grow businesses. Another reason includes people using social media for causes and charities, sharing these because they feel strongly about a certain issue.
This brings us to how social media can have an impact on the community and general society. Many of the problems in the world today have more exposure, therefore bringing increased awareness of issues. This is definitely a positive side to social media, but is there also a downside?
Let’s first have a look at some more of the positive effects of social media in domestic violence:
The positive role social media plays in domestic violence
As we have mentioned, social media brings awareness. What would have remained in the dark can be brought into the light. Women have taken action to develop campaigns against domestic violence. Exposing the truth that this type of violence is not an isolated issue, but many have to deal with it every day. Social media can help those who are suffering realise they are not alone. There is also information where they can get help.
In some areas and in the minds of certain individuals, domestic violence is considered normal and many accept it as so. This is especially true for violence against women and children, due to gender inequality. Social media can in a way help to educate and expose the issue, to try and help people understand that domestic violence is not okay. Getting the message out to the broader community, which will hopefully inspire change.
Social media also offers those in need, access to help, information, and a connection to other victims and survivors of domestic violence. There are even apps that have been developed, which attempt to help those in need.
On the flip side, can social media aggravate the issue of domestic violence?
The negative role social media plays in domestic violence
Social media has made it easier for everyone to share their ideas, make friends and connect. But it has also provided a platform for those seeking to cause harm. Social media can be turned into a place where they can easily harass their victims, making it more public. Victims are now not safe anywhere, as technology allows the abuser to track and have even more control over their victims. It is easy to embarrass somebody online, a place where friends, family and many others can see.
On many occasions, women might want to get out of the domestic violence situation. Seeking refuge at a shelter or elsewhere their abuser cannot find them. Their position can be compromised, especially on Facebook, if they are tagged in photos. There could also be the sharing of explicit photos and other personal information.
Many using social media show their support by liking and maybe sharing certain campaigns and causes but fail to take real action. Those who are given the opportunity to interact privately with an organisation have been shown to provide more support through actual donations or voluntary help. Those on Social media display a type of inaction, their job is done once they have liked and shared.
As we have seen there are both positive and negative issues when it comes to the role of social media in domestic violence. Since social media is here to stay and will most probably keep growing, it can be used, if done properly, as a tool to help those in need.
Social media campaigns
Here are a few links to some online campaigns: