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Turning away from social media

Social media has taken over computers and businesses for the better part of the 2000s and I think it’s doing more damage than good.

There have already been countless studies that have come out talking about the negative effect social media can have on people, most of all impressionable children who spend a good portion of the day online. It can be hard not to get lost in people’s Instagram stories, their snaps, their tweets, or their Facebook posts. Every thought needs to be shared, every meal needs to be photographed, and every event needs to be publicized. But, when people are sharing the best parts of their lives without any honesty or reality behind it, how can we tell their real life from their fake one?

It’s no wonder that children feel the need to seem “cooler” or like their lives are a mosaic of interesting things and nothing but. When their friends or their enemies are posting all the highlights from their lives, how could you not feel crappy about your own? It’s not like you get to speak to people for your job or go to all these cool events or get free things on account of your blog. If only there was some way to make it all better, right?

But, what people fail to realize is that no one’s life is perfect. It can be hard to see and realize this when you see nothing but the good things about someone’s life, but that doesn’t mean their lives are only the things that you see. There’s heartbreak, paranoia, bad moods, dark circles, blemishes, and meals that didn’t quite reach the Instagram-worthy cut.

Everyone is so wrapped up in pretending to be something they’re not or trying to match the highlights of their friends. Not only do we miss a great chunk of our lives doing this, but we remain in a constant state of competition for no good reason.

I made my social media profiles public when I first took this job, but I quickly realized how unhappy that was making me. It’s not like all I do is see the CN Tower, eat nice food, and go to concerts. In fact, it takes more effort pretending that that’s what my life is. To only capture the social media moments is a sure-fire way to guarantee that you’ll see life through the lens of an audience instead of living for yourself. Who wants to do that? Why would you want to do that?

There’s nothing wrong with taking the time for yourself and accepting that even if you aren’t as interesting as the people online, at least you’re living your life for you and no one else.

Why you could be a victim of digital kidnapping

As a parent, it is your priority to look out for and protect your children. It’s a natural instinct. What if I told you that in some ways you are putting them in more danger than you can imagine?Have you ever heard of digital kidnapping? Prepare to have your world turned upside down.

Social media platforms are easily accessible nowadays. Almost everyone has an online profile. It’s a place to share your inner thoughts, opinions, personal and even intimate moments — a new engagement, new home, new pet, a new vacation, and especially a new baby.

New mothers love sharing pictures of their children online, but some vow to post minimal or no pictures of their children. I’m not a mother myself, but understand the need or desire to share every moment of your precious baby with your friends and family. Their height, their weight, their likes or dislikes. Your child is your biggest accomplishment and you should be proud that child is all your own — but are they?

Look up hashtags like #proudmommy or #momspam ( I mean even I am guilty of using the #proudaunt tag) you will find thousands of happy kids or babies, sharing happy moments with the world. This is where the story get dark, now look up hashtags like #babyrp #childrp or #orphanrp. The ‘rp’ stands for role play. Your child’s picture has been taken by a complete stranger. Your child had a new name, a new life story, and a new mommy or daddy. Your child has been digitally kidnapped.

Before last night I never even heard of the term or trend, until I saw a Facebook article shared by an old university classmate. Her caption was simple, ‘this is why I never post pictures of my child online.’ The article led me to a news story of a young mom named April. In 2012, she gave birth to twins, Sophia and Vivienne. She was a mom that loved to post pictures of her children online. April even joined a special Facebook group where she would upload pictures of her babies, which were often met with adoring comments and support. Then, one day she got a message from a total stranger alerting her that her kids pictures were found on another woman’s page.

The twins were now named Adaya and Kamberlin. These babies had a new mom. Her name was listed as Ashley and she spoke about the love she had for her children and even shared false medical issues the girls were suffering from. April was a victim of a digital kidnapper. The police were not able to do anything as there was ‘no crime’ or actual harm to the children. Despite threats of legal action and reports of a false profile, Ashley kept posting pictures of her ‘children’. Flash forward to 2016, and April was still fighting this digital kidnapper and even appeared on an episode of Dr Phil where she revealed just how far the story escalated.

April and her husband hired a private investigator to investigate Ashley- this fake mom came with a criminal profile and a longstanding “history” of her twins being taken away from her by her mother. Worst of all, there were pictures of her fake daughters all over her house — on her bedstand, on the living room walls, and in the entry way.

While this story is extreme, it speaks volumes to the society we are living in. People share every moment and detail online for temporary hits of pleasure and satisfaction from virtual strangers and distant friends. This trend goes hand in hand with artists having their material stolen and passed off as someone else, or even online fraud and identity theft. People catfish everyday, pretending to be someone else in order to get a date.  Cases like this did not exist 10  to 15 years ago because your personal treasures and moments were kept in a photo album inside a drawer and pulled out only when close friends or family come to visit. Now, nothing is private and nothing is sacred. Our culture has evolved so dramatically that this is the new normal.

The babyrp hashtag has been hidden on Instagram due to reported content that doesn’t meet the website’s ‘conditions,’ but from the few posts that remain, strangers role play the lives of babies and kids, giving them an entirely different life and creepy fantasies. This is truly the dark side of Instagram and, as I said before, the trend is small but growing thanks to our obsession with social media. So, what can you do?

  • The obvious, would be to limit the amount of posts with your young kids on social media or use platforms that only temporarily share the pictures like snapchat or Instagram Story.
  • Don’t include any identity details in the pictures
  • Download an app that helps you watermark pictures, similar to professional photographers.
  • Tighten up your privacy settings: you have the option to make your profile private on sites like Instagram
  • Review your friends lists and make sure you’re actually willing to share these photos with your online friends and consider e-mail for larges sets of pictures

Digital kidnapping is not illegal and it is hard to control, just be aware of what you post online and make it difficult for people to identify your child as their own.

How to deal with the last-minute holiday shopping dash

If you, like me, left all your Christmas shopping to the last possible minute, never fear! It’s not too late! In fact, you still have a week! That’s plenty of time — but it’s also going to make gift giving a bit more challenging. The stores will be packed, kids are starting to get off school, and most of the sales that existed are now gone. While saying that, it’s not impossible! And, Women’s Post is here to help!

Here are some tips to help you out during your last-minute shopping dash:

Try to avoid malls: I know this one may be hard, but if you can visit a boutique shop or an outlet store, do it! Trust me. The malls will be incredibly busy and crowded. You will have to navigate through a sea of people just to get into the store. And then, it may take you 30 minutes to get to the cash once you finally choose a gift! Maybe try to hit some local fairs that are open and find some great hand-crafted items.

Have a list and check it twice: Don’t just wander. There’s no time for that. You’ll get overwhelmed by the people and the products thrown about. Eventually, you’ll leave empty handed because it’s just all too much. Have a plan and carry it out.

Be prepared to compromise: What you want to get your mother may not be available anymore. It also may be a lot more expensive now that the pre-Christmas sales are done. The list is important, but be ready to pick up something else if you can’t find the item you are looking for. Then take your previous idea and save it for a birthday.

Try online shopping: Amazon Prime appears to have a two-day delivery system if you sign up for their free 30-day trial, which is absolutely amazing! Just make sure to get it in the next few days. If you can’t get that type of quick service —and who knows how late the delivery is offered — don’t worry about it. Just print a picture of what you ordered and place it in a nice envelope or a box with a bow!

Donate to a charity: This can be done without even leaving your computer. Most charities make it really simple to donate, and will even provide you with a lovely email or photo that you can include in a card. Try to choose an organization that resonates with the person you are donating on behalf of. Just make sure you do some research to ensure the charity you choose is ethical and actually uses the donation to make a difference. Why not check out Charity Intelligence to make sure your donation goes far.

Ultimately, make sure to get an extra-large coffee and enjoy the experience. Take a few girlfriends and make a day of it. The physical shopping will be a pain in the ass, but with friends, at least that line won’t seem so excruciating! Good luck!

Let’s stop hating on women through social media, shall we?

Over the past week, the world witnessed some rather high profile women get into some rather uncomfortable situations. And while life is bound to get messy at times, the problem with modern day society is that spectators are now able to watch the events unfold time and time again, while at the same time adding their thoughts and opinions on the matter — anonymously — through the click of a button.

And while this way of life has brought the world closer together and has provided insight on the mindset of today’s society, it has also allowed people to lack in forgiveness and spread negative dialogue. What hurts the most however, is to see independent, well educated and woke women engaging in the same negative dialogue – to criticize other women. Not only are we pushing the feminism movement back a couple of years by doing this, but we are doing our gender a disservice by dragging our colleagues through the mud.

Just last week, Qandeel Baloch split the world in two after being strangled by her brother because of the “kind of pictures she had been posting online.” Like many of you, I found myself scrolling through the deceased social media star’s Instagram, coming across sexually suggestive pictures and videos of an attractive South Asian woman boldly expressing herself.  The think pieces and blogs flooded my newsfeed, with comments from mourners condoning the death and asking people to take a stand against these types of ‘honour killings’. However, in the same comment section, there were people — many of them women — who felt bad, but understood what provoked her brother to brutally murder her in the first place.

“She was asking for it.”

In a very different situation, the Internet witnessed Taylor Swift being ripped apart by Kim Kardashian West on Snapchat when the reality-tv star posted a telephone conversation between her husband, rapper Kanye West, and what is believed to be singer herself. The topic of the telephone conversation was the allegedly misogynistic lyrics directed at Swift in one of West’s singles. Swift had previously released a statement saying she wished the couple would ”just leave me alone.” Kim, listen up: A hundred years have passed since this shit storm started and Kanye West’s single released. Since then, we’ve already seen you and Swift publicly lash out at each other, while the Internet followed along, taking sides. So why don’t you exclude us from this narrative, and give each other a call?

Because here’s the thing, ladies. There are a lot of women out here that are fighting for your rights and freedom. Women that are currently driving on streets they are not allowed to drive on. Women that are interviewing for a job they are deemed unqualified for. Women that are being utilized for their body without their permission. The least you can do, is offer a little support. They’re not asking for billboards of heartfelt messages with a hashtag, or a protest in lieu of every mistreatment that takes place. However, when someone is strangled to death in the comfort of their own home for essentially being themselves, it is not an invitation to slut shame the victim and justify their killer’s actions. She wasn’t asking for it. No one ever is.

Neither was Leslie Jones; one of the stars of the new Ghostbusters movie, which has been getting mixed reviews. Jones announced early this week that she was leaving Twitter “with tears and a very sad heart” after receiving racist and sexist abuse that she describes as her own “personal hell.” Her response to the incident was not only relevant to the situation at hand, but also to the events that have occurred in the past weeks regarding social media hate.

Jones called on Twitter to crack down on the hate, posting, “Twitter I understand you got free speech I get it. But there has to be some guidelines when you let spread like that.” She had a few things to say about the negative comments as well. “You have to hate yourself to put out that type of hate. I mean on my worst day I can’t think of this type of hate to put out. I don’t know how to feel. I’m numb. Actually numb. I see the words and pics and videos. Videos y’all. Meaning people took time to sprew hate. I’m more human and real than you fucking think. I work my ass off. I’m not different than any of you who has a dream to do what they love. I’ve never claim to be better or special. I just try to do my job as best as I can. Isn’t that any of us yall. So Yea this hurts me!”

The question arises; how do we overcome this girl-on-girl hate? Social media has evidently fuelled gender violence. Comment sections will make you lose faith in humanity while trending hashtags will encourage you to take part in a social media cleanse. Imagine the difference we could make if women gushed about what they love about other women by merely swapping hate and jealousy for support and encouragement?

A big difference. Let’s start THAT hashtag!

What are your thoughts on social media hate against women? Let us know in the comments below! 

How to date more successfully

It’s no secret that most of today’s dating happens in virtual space. One swipe here, one click there, and presto! You’re matched! The problem, however, is that there is a reverse mentality associated with this world. Many women are using these dating apps with the hopes of impressing a man enough to win his approval. She may be wondering things like, “Is my pic good?”, “Did I write too much in my profile?”, “Should I say hi first?” Notice how all these anxieties are based on the idea that the man is the decider, while the woman seeks validation. How often do you try to earn his thumbs-up? This reverse mentality is important because it allows you to recognize your own power and start approaching dating with more confidence.    

Know your Worth

Knowing your worth is an important part of dating the smart way. If you truly believe in your value, he’ll be more likely to invest in your stock. He’ll be seeking your approval instead of the other way around.

How can I do this, you ask? Simple: you just need to know your worth. For example, a guy from an online dating app makes a teasing remark about how you should take him out for dinner. Many men think this is flirtatious and endearing— so instead of playing along, you should assertively say something like, “But we haven’t yet established if you’re even the right one to make me leave this dumb app.” With this approach, you’re creating the understanding that you’re also someone who deserved to be pursued.

Date Around

In the words of Billie Holiday, “A kiss that is never tasted is forever and ever wasted.” In spirit of this mantra, you should treat dating as a sampling buffet. This is not to say that you should gobble down every dessert at the table. Rather, you should select a few delights that interest you, and take the time to learn about the individual flavours you enjoy the most. When you discover a type that you genuinely like, you can then invest your time into nurturing that match.

The bottom line is that you need to see the dating process as your chance to discover your needs and wants, and focus less on becoming what your partner wants. The more you learn about your personal dating goals and desires, the more confident you’ll become later on when choosing the right guy.

Stop Dating Jerks                          

Most women who date jerks secretly hope that they’ll be the one who changes him. The problem with this mentality is that you’re wasting all your valuable time and effort trying to improve someone who’s not fit to date you in the first place. If he needs that much changing, why are you so attracted and invested in him? If he’s not making you feel like the most special woman in the world, why bother? Find someone else who doesn’t need changing because he’s already a great guy.

 Reconsider your Dating Apps

 Finally, you may also want to reconsider the dating apps you’re using. Apps like Tinder and POF are usually just a virtual sex platter. There’s other apps like Match and WhoWinkedMe, which are better suited for quality singles looking for the real deal.

 

Ultimately, if you want to enjoy better dating experiences, you need to start improving yourself first. Make good choices about who you date and, most importantly, how you treat yourself.