EDITORIAL: Negativity on social media very contagious

EDITORIAL: Negativity on social media very contagious

(Photo: Flickr)

By Lyonel Doherty

Oliver Chronicle

Social media makes us shake our heads in utter dismay sometimes.

Why do some people have to be so rude, critical, audacious, vulgar, negative, hurtful and unkind?

Sadly, the RCMP have been the brunt of some negativity; it’s getting to the point where they don’t want to release information to the media for fear the public will lash out at them. Unfortunately, this has been the case in Oliver.

Recently, the RCMP sent the media a story and photograph about their enforcement of distracted driving, which prompted a lot of readers to criticize them on Facebook.

The latest was a story about an officer who rode a school bus to monitor other people’s driving habits that threatened the safety of school children. About 30 kids on the bus helped him spot driving violations, which were then acted upon by another officer in a different vehicle.

On social media, one reader said it was “sick” to use children this way, while another used the term “entrapment.”

We beg to differ.

The officer wasn’t entrapping anyone; he was merely doing his job in a creative way to catch violators who pose a hazard to our children’s safety. The students themselves were eager to assist the officer and were his extra set of eyes during the campaign. This was far from sick; it was engaging for the students.

Next up we have a comment about the draft Smoke Free Bylaw in Oliver. Someone reacted to one reference in the story by calling someone a “useless, loser parent.” He also said he knew by age three that smoking was for losers.

This statement is uncalled for and very hurtful. We are sure if this person met and spoke to the parent, he would not have used these terms.

It’s like road rage and the safety you feel in the confines of your car. You think nothing of giving someone the finger behind the wheel, but you would never do it face-to-face. Social media is the same monster.

Moving on, we couldn’t ignore a reader’s comment, “Criticize and question everything” as he referred to a letter to the editor. This blanket statement is troubling. Do we really want to criticize everything? Perhaps, if you believe there isn’t enough negativity in this world already.

We couldn’t help but shake our heads when a reader commented on a story about a 101-year-old whose apparent secret to longevity was drinking lots of cow’s milk. The reader said drinking milk is the leading cause of osteoporosis.

Why not say something like, “Congratulations on your ripe old age.”

As human beings, it’s unhealthy to thrive on controversy or find fault in everything. Sadly, it tends to rub off on others.

While social media is a great communication tool, it can be very hurtful in the stroke of a keypad.