IN ECTEL’s 15th anniversary report, it was acknowledged that most ECTEL countries recorded cellphone penetration rates greater than 100 percent, meaning that we have fewer people than cellphones. These statistics reflect a growing liberalization fueled by our use of technology, to send each other messages, whether by traditional SMS or via social media alternatives including Skype, WhatsApp and Twitter.
As part of this connected reality, you may be aware that many people use social media tools and status messages to define themselves and even identify their current mood. Within the limits of the small screen sizes and message length restrictions, we have become more artful in expressing our thoughts and moods in these bite-sized messages for sharing with friends and family.
Despite these benefits, something sinister is looming and we might need to start the dialogue on how to appropriately respond. If you disregard intentionally negative interactions online such as cyberbullying, and the release of naked pics and revenge porn, it seems that another problem has arisen. These usefully communicated words and messages, wrongfully read by a rage-filled person, may alarmingly cause you injury or even death!
Think about some occasional experiences such as:
* Interruptions arising from misdialled calls;
* Approaches from those who have mistaken your identity;
* The arrival of mis-sent email or text messages.
A jealous, vengeful or rage-filled person, upon observing otherwise innocent messages or calls, may react inappropriately, even violently. During the recent AGM of the ICT Association of Saint Lucia, the keynote speaker was a local psychotherapist who counselled on the impacts of ICT on relationships. Her report on technologically connected people who were ironically feeling disconnected in their daily lives, was surprising. Such observations should cause us to question the proper etiquette for using technology devices, and also our reaction to social media in our everyday lives and relationships. Even if some people display tendencies of domestic violence, it should be worthwhile to examine our own levels of preparedness and conflict resolution if placed in that environment.
To share your views, contact the author at: www.datashore.net or via The VOICE.
About the Author
Dr.Lyndell St. Ville is an ICT Consultant based in Saint Lucia. His expertise includes systems analysis, design, and capacity building.