In today’s modern world, social media and social networking uses up ever increasing hours in peoples lives and seems to be so important to many, but at what cost ? After the invention of mobile phones, you always heard stories of people having to go to support specialist because they had an addiction to texting. Then recently you hear stories from South Korea of many young people, brought up in the digital age, who have an addiction to the internet. There is also the addiction to devices such as Xbox’s and PlayStation’s which keep many youngsters and adults in the house, shut away behind the bedroom door, not mixing with people and friends and not getting the fresh air they should. For me, the real problem these days, is people’s failure to see social media and social networking as nothing more than a bit of fun. There’s many times when I’ve heard people say in dismay during arguments, or even written “They deleted me from Facebook” or “They blanked me on Twitter”. This came to a head last week, when news channels reported in headline form, that “Lewis Hamilton may quit Twitter”. Why on earth ! do people find stories like this interesting ? and why do people think that Facebook, Twitter and the like is actually more important than real life ? Having a friend on Facebook isn’t the same as having a friend in real life, people can hide behind a number of different faces, they can hide behind made up profiles, and they can even pretend to be someone they are not, so why do people promote social networking as if it was real life ? People can connect with people through social networking, they can exchange views and comments, but at no time can anyone say they know anybody, unless they have actually met them in person. You can learn so much more from people by actually experiencing the personality behind the face and this goes amiss in this society of ours these days. People would rather drink at home and tap on a keyboard than actually go to the pub and talk to people in person. Meeting people in person, actually improves ones perception of others and also can lead to long lasting friendships, where as social networking does not. You can be a friend for many years on a social networking site and still not know anything about someone’s personality or background.
Another bug bear of mine about social media and networking is the censorship policy of many sites, which are just totally and morally out of step with the modern world. The United Kingdom’s Daily Mail ran a story on 22 February this year reporting that a former employee who used to filter out offensive content on Facebook had leaked the website’s secret rulebook, it gave astonishingly detailed instructions that include blocking mild nudity but allowing images of death and disfigurement, as well as racially charged comments. The aggrieved Moroccan worker who was paid a mere $1 an hour by oDesk – a third-party content-moderation firm used by Facebook – revealed it tells staff to delete all forms of sexual activity, even simulated activity where there was nothing explicit on show. Facebook recently deleted comments from a “Lady Godiva” which were not derogatory at all, which asks serious question to whether the people censoring these sites, actually have a grasp of the English language or the rules governing the use of free speech.
As a naturist I feel there’s nothing shameful about a naked body and a tasteful naked photo can improve someone’s positive body image rather than detract from it. Nearly all naked photos eventually get pulled and also get the person suspended for a time, but this really doesn’t help the prudery that most people have over nudity these days. As the “What is Naturism” leaflet says and promotes
“Whatever you may think about people who do such a thing, it is not shameful, embarrassing or ridiculous, in fact when the weather is hot it’s the sensible option – and great fun! It’s good for you too – the human body was not designed to be completely wrapped up in clothes and subjected to artificial heat and light sources and air conditioning 24/7. Millions of normal people have discovered how good it feels to have the sun and breeze on their skin and feel better, more relaxed, less self-conscious and de-stressed as a result. Poor body image is improved when you realise that almost no-one has a “perfect” body. Sunbathing and swimming are the most popular activities – there is nothing like an all-over tan, and swimming in the nude is bliss. Swimming costumes are among the most uncomfortable, unhealthy and pointless items of clothing there are! Naturism is also very sociable. Naturists are happy, friendly people who are pleased to have discovered such a great way of being and treat everyone with respect, and as equals. Being among contented, comfortable and like-minded people brings about a sense of mental well-being and – despite what you may think – you quickly become used to being naked among other naked people. Sounds impossible? Even the most reluctant first-timers say how they “forgot” they were nude after only a few minutes and stopped noticing that everyone else was too. Also, simple nudity is not sexually stimulating – in naturist places you will find people doing what you see anywhere else, only without clothes. We know that newcomers can be hesitant about stripping off in front of others for the first time. Contrary to popular belief, no-one is ever forced to undress and so they can easily experience naturism first hand even if they are not sure if it is for them – and then get involved, or not, at their own pace. Many naturists discovered naturism by accident – often on holiday – and soon realised what they were missing! When the weather cools, naturists get dressed. Naturist places usually have indoor and outdoor facilities and many are open all year round. Anyone can be a naturist. Background, age, shape, race, creed and colour are irrelevant and it attracts people from all walks of life. At naturist places you will see babes in arms, children and teenagers right up to the elderly. There are thousands of naturist families – some into many generations – who find that they get on better with each other as they can all enjoy something together and children brought up in naturism say how they grew up without the usual hang-ups about their bodies..”
This positive attitude is then gazumped by the narrow minded ill-advised and totally unacceptable regulation of the social media websites, who then censor anything without the right to appeal. It almost reeks of days of communism and its great purges, resulting in wide-ranging censorship of any actions of free expression, that the leaders did not agree with. Nudity, sex discussions and such topics should be more wide ranging in a constructive way, rather than blocked censored or changed. Last night the youngest child in our house told his mother that being naked at home is disturbing, wrong and illegal, the disturbing chat about naturism that followed only really echoed what he’d read, watched on TV or been told by people,teaches at school. Surely this cannot be right ?