Warning – Trigger Warnings
However we act online, we put sticky notes at our faces doomed to stay on one’s forehead. At the face of social execution we consciously censor each statement and reposts that may be screenshotted and used against us – at times even in court. The power that web-posts carry is recognized at the state level, so no wonder information filters are actively being pursued as censoring tools against sensitive content “for our own good” by major social networks.
Kids put palms against their faces in disgust or fright to protect themselves from harmful influence. As we are introduced to technology, such a role is undertaken by Twitter or Facebook. The dangers of insulting content are clear. But how come do we ignore the scale to which constant “safety pillows” modify and burden our perception? It is all good until the time comes when there will be no such option to turn into one of the Three wise monkeys. In reality, it is rarely possible to avoid a piece of information or a spiteful comment corresponding to filtered tweets or Instagram posts and, well, spiteful comments in one’s feed. The latter may indeed be harsh, but let us learn to tell them apart from online bullying. Putting a “sensitive content” tag on every other post because of emotional implication creates a whole culture of allergics, intolerant to the further, the milder irritants – a “greenhouse” of unadapted to tough reality minds. Becoming tempered requires exposing oneself to challenging facts and images, unless one consciously wishes to stay in the dark and let a computer paradigm define what gets through, all at the threat of unpleasant pin of reality.
What does it leave us with? Above all, figuring out where to draw the lines between penalty-worthy statements and what fits in the “free-speech” box. Then, reevaluating the project of filtering emotionally sensitive content which shapes juvenile, easily appalled society. As we are racing towards complete digitalization, these concerns gain special place in the discussion of manipulations that various mediums do to human’s mind. Until then, it is in our power to control and temper it independently.