Tag Archives: Compassion

It’s Worth a Moment of Your Time…

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 7.44.47 PMIn my short lived ventures around the internet, I found this little gem which provides a positive insight into the use of social networking and technology. A breath of fresh air in a world who is so afraid of that which is new, different, or puts us in a state of vulnerability.

Social Network Suicide Prevention: Is It Enough?


When you wake up on a Sunday morning, the last thing you think you’re going to encounter is a suicide threat on one of your social network feeds. I certainly didn’t anyway. Perhaps for some people that’s pretty “normal” (and I use the term very lightly). For me it wasn’t. And of all places it was on Instagram! A little iPod note screen shot talking about having decided on a suicide date. It caught me off guard so much I wasn’t sure what to do. Of course after a few minutes of reflection I decided to look up if there was some way I could report the person was suicidal, and thankfully I found it. Though others were coming to the rescue and commenting on the person’s status, I wasn’t going to try to talk down someone I hardly knew, and I certainly wasn’t going to let them post something that sensitive, without reporting it.

I still wonder if it was the right thing to do or not.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provided me with some great information about what social networks do in situations like this. Unfortunately Instagram was not on that list so it took me a little more time to try to figure out how to do it…which partially is why I’m writing this post. But, what shocked me was how little the social networks actually did in these situations.

Naturally when you send a report to a social network, they have a policy that they are not liable for the person’s actions after initiating contact. What they do is take the information from the report and send a cute little e-mail informing the person that an anonymous user reported them for (fill in the blank) and offer them the contact info of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline where the individual could get professional help, which includes both a phone number, and a live chat. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a very sensitive community, with the understanding that a person doesn’t have to be suicidal at all to call. On their site they say:

If you feel you are in a crisis, whether or not you are thinking about killing yourself, please call the Lifeline. People have called us for help with substance abuse, economic worries, relationship and family problems, sexual orientation, illness, getting over abuse, depression, mental and physical illness, and even loneliness.”

Super nice of them. Here is the kicker…

Of course the site Admin also informs the user that the information they’ve posted is a violation of the Terms of Agreement and promotes the issue of (insert issue here section whatever part who cares) and they will have their profile terminated. Instagram and other Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter terminate the account to prevent the escalation of violence. Instagram even has refused to allow certain terms to be searched and in some cases have warnings attached to keywords (click here for more info)

Yeah it’s a bit harsh…and can escalate the personal torment of the individual.

I can’t help but ask myself how I feel about this whole scenario? Is it even worth it to report the issue if it means removing the self expression of the user? Does it even help the person if therapy is offered to the user? Perhaps not.

Knowing all this information I still had to make the decision whether or not I was going to report the user for self harm. And I did. Not because I felt it was right for the profile to be terminated, and not because I was obligated by any moral or social standing…but because I wanted to give the user another option. It is said that the main reason a person will post about suicidal thoughts is because they want either some kind of affirmation that they should go through with it, or they want someone to show they care enough to try to stop them. If they were suicidal and didn’t post anything to a social network or even tell anyone then one can assume that they had their mind already made up, and nothing can really be done for them…a sad assumption, but not an unfounded one. There are a lot of misconceptions about suicide. But even severely depressed people have mixed feelings about death, and most struggle until the very last moment between life and an end to their pain. Most suicidal people don’t want to die…they just want their pain to stop or someone to prove they care. The impulse to end it all, does not last forever.

After my struggle to report the user I posted info on how to do it incase anyone else wanted to try. Another user (one I know personally) pointed out how very little the social media sites actually do and that he felt these threats are the best form of awareness. He isn’t wrong. Seeing a real threat for yourself is definitely a wakeup call. But I feel it is better to offer the options to a hurting individual. If they do contact the Lifeline, law enforcement and intervention can be provided for the individual (because IP addresses are used to locate the nearest help center and ultimately the individual in crisis). I would rather offer them the option than nothing at all.

So are the policies of Social Networks really effective in these cases? That I can’t say for sure. every situation is different. Legally there is very little they can do, and with the masses they have to keep track of it would be unfair to ask them to take any more responsibility on the matter. But what I can say is that it offers a helpful option and removes the individual from potentially being a threat to others and ridicule.


Below are a series of helpful and thoughtful videos that touch on several subjects involving and related to depression and suicide (I’m addicted to TedTalks okay? They’re just so informative). 


Feel free to leave you comments, questions, or concerns on the matter or videos below.  



How a 3DS Can Change Perspectives

Screen Shot 2013-05-05 at 1.35.15 PM“I cried the first time I held a Nintendo 3DS. The experience was a revelation that I’ll not soon forget, and even if everyone stops making games for it tomorrow, my blue 3DS XL is not going anywhere. That little machine is a window into a part of human experience that most people take for granted, but which is otherwise inaccessible to me.

Backing up:

I am mostly stereoblind. Stereoblindness is a blanket term for any condition that prevents a person from perceiving depth using binocular vision. Depending on whom you ask, it affects somewhere between 3 and 15 percent of the world’s population, which creates an interesting demographic hurdle for the 3D television industry. Some people are stereoblind because their vision in one eye is severely impaired, others because their brains are unable to coalesce images from both eyes into a three-dimensional result.”

To read more please visit this link.

Child Pornography: “Viewing” isn’t “Possessing”

A New York court on April 8th declared it legal to view child pornography on the internet claiming thst it is not “possessing” child pornography if it is merely being viewed (See full article here).

The issue the, New York court of appeals states, is that viewing online doesn’t mean you posses the media its self. If you view a lawn mower online doesn’t mean you own it right? Well, they aren’t wrong on that point, but we aren’t talking about inanimate possessions any more are we? We’re talking about children, living breathing beings being abused for the sake of entertainment (I’m sure that if one of the court members own children was in one of those online child pornography sites, they’d be playing a much different tune). What about hiring hit men? If one isn’t killing anyone themselves are they still held responsible for the death?  The way I see it, viewing pornography is the same as hiring a hit man because it is another way of enabling the creation of child porn simply because of the increase in demand for it (and an increase will inevitably come as viewing increases).

On a side note I was dicussing pornography with a friend and they made a good argument. They wondered how is pornography is not considered prostitution when you’re paying people to have sex with other people…like prostitutes. So why isn’t porn specifically illegal like prostitution considering they have the same definition?

Regardless, online morality might be taking an “interesting” (to put it lightly) turn because of this ruling.

Want to know what you can do to help fight against child pornography? Click here.

“If you want to complain, go start a blog.” and Other Issues with Constant Communication

Found on http://kiwicommons.com/index.php?p=6970&tag=cyberbullying-infographicMy sibling inspired this particular post. The title is a direct quote from him as he gave me his opinion of bloggers. I laughed at the time because I understood exactly what he was talking about. As I got to thinking about it I began to realize the truth in it. I began to wonder if perhaps he had a deeper point? Are we using social media to associate ourselves with another identity, or use media to shield ourselves from the conflict caused by our own opinions? Or is the use of the media its self making us mean?

There has been much speculation over the past decade or so as to whether or not the use of social media has made the last generation a more cruel one. It isn’t such a wonder as to why. With Youtube videos like Llamas Wearing Hats and Happy Tree Friends, it’s more and more obvious that our media is certainly becoming more violent, and in cases such as Kiki Kannibal cruelty takes on a whole new level of online bullying. Research has been done for the issue of online bullying with little to no conclusive evidence as to its increase or decrease.

I venture an opinion/suggestion.

Personally I do not think that the internet and its use has made any generation meaner. Humanity has always been this mean. It is only because of the introduction of communication technology such as Facebook and television that we’re seeing more and more of it. Communication is faster and can reach a wider audience at the speed of light. In the last decade we’ve been introducing a younger group of people who may not have the maturity to make wise decisions online.  Kids who are bullies now have avenues to dissociate themselves from their victims through social media. They don’t understand the real world impact, because they can hide their face behind a mask of binary code. Most of it comes down to immaturity and poor choices.

Might I also go so far as to say that violence in our world probably isn’t increasing either. It’s simply easier to access. Violence has become more and more popular in our media because our world violence is getting viewed more often from news networks.  I remember the days when my parents wouldn’t let me watch The Matrix because it was rated R. When I go to see a rated R movie as an adult now, The Matrix looks tame in comparison. Video games are violent for the sake of being “more realistic.” Why not? If they’re seeing it on the news why shouldn’t it be more realistic?

Just moments ago I was talking to a friend about this particular post and the points I was attempting to make. As we talked we began to discuss the maturity level of people coming into contact with technology regularly. We ventured to suggest (by we I mean me) that constant communication also causes social dependencies. Now communicating with friends and loved ones isn’t a bad thing, in fact building relationships is a wonderful part of living and seeking advice is normal. What I suggest is that in being in constant communication with people, we become dependent in an unhealthy manner, which in turn causes us to neglect building self sufficiency. Cases such as this might be so dependent that they cannot make any decisions outside of the advice of their peer groups or romantic relationships. But, I digress.

The point I’m trying to get at for the most part, is that the only difference between this generation and all the generations before, is the amount of access we have to technologies that allow us to view the cruelties of the world. Because of this, values have changed. We’re living in an age where we don’t turn off. We don’t shut down. We only go into temporary sleep modes when it comes to instant communication. Even news networks need to find ways to be more entertaining for the sake of keeping a viewing audience. As I recall the news was never entertaining enough for me to watch it when I was young, now I see kids plopping themselves in front of the TV to watch the news with their parents (not necessarily for the news of course, but for the entertaining segments or shows afterward). We’ve become so engrossed in the ability to communicate, I think we’re paying less attention to what we’re saying, and more attention as to how fast we’re saying it.

Technology and Perfection: Too High a Demand?

William Morris was quoted to have said “No man is good enough to be another’s master.” a statement that can be interpreted by the time he lived in which was an age when machines took the place of artisans and perfection became the demand. In turn, designs were rejected if there was even the tiniest flaw therein. The Arts and Crafts Movement was a rebellion against the idea that handcrafted designs had become obsolete because of their inconsistencies and imperfection.

Is technology doing the same to humanity?

I found this post the other day and it brought up some interesting points about technology. Firstly it discusses some of the issues brought about by the industrial revolution to the design world (which was highly influential to design as we know it). Secondly it touches on the view that technology has caused us to have increased, and in some cases unreasonable demands of people. Though raw in verse, it will get you thinking.

Miss Mimi’s Inspiration: What Arts and Crafts Taught Me About Grace..

Collaborative Consumption: It May Replace The Green Movement

Let’s face the absolute truth. Technology has successfully made the world smaller. A population of billions upon billions of people has been shrunken to a small screen sized box. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily. This smaller community has the potential (and I use that word intentionally because not everyone is willing to use this small box you’re using for good) to do some very productive, intentional and valuable deeds.

What is collaborative consumption? According to collaborativeconsumption.com :

“Collaborative Consumption describes the rapid explosion in swapping, sharing, bartering, trading and renting being reinvented through the latest technologies and peer-to-peer marketplaces in ways and on a scale never possible before.”

A movement for using this small world as a smaller market place, not necessarily for products, but also services. Need a couch to sleep on as you journey on a quest of self discovery? Places like couchsurfing.org help connect you to a world of people who also like to live on the edge. Need a product in exchange for another? Swap.com is the place to go to find what you’re looking for in exchange for what you’re looking to get rid of. Part of Occupy Wall Street? Try sharing or swapping instead of buying and this top 1% won’t have ‘so much power’. The internet is your online flea market.

To go deeper here is a TED Talk from the creator of collaborativeconsumption.com. I encourage you to use some of these resources…this may be the next (if not entirely replace) green movement.