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Do you ever find yourself mostly remembering the negative parts of something, but hardly any of the positive? I ask this as someone who comes out of an exam complaining about how badly I did on question 13, seemingly forgetting how well I did on the other 12 questions. Interestingly, this phenomenon is actually classified by psychologists as something called ‘negativity bias’. To paraphrase the almighty Wikipedia: “Negativity bias is the notion that events of a more negative nature have a greater impact on one’s psychological state, than positive or even neutral things”.
The bad rapport of social media is mainly down to its attachment to negative events. We hear stories of how social media has catalysed bullying and has provided young children with a free source of violence.
In true negativity bias fashion, we all overlook the positive and more prevalent side of social media. We overlook how it has provided companies with a platform for advertising, how it has allowed people who have lost touch to reconnect and we even overlook its community spirit.
I feel embarrassed that I wrongly assumed that I would be playing pass the parcel for the last time on my 10th birthday; introducing the newest edition of the game we all loved: Pass the Blame, ages 18+. Now it’s easier than ever, passing it on to the intangible platform of social media. Albeit a popular view on the topic, it is simply ignorant to believe social media is the “source” of all things negative.
The negativity online exists in the world, whether it’s provided with or without a platform. If someone is sad enough to cyberbully online, they will be pathetic enough to physically bully in person.
The question is, if you were delivered a package of the nastiest contents, do you blame the sender of the package?
Do you blame the FedEx guy who just dropped the package on your doorstep?