surinenglish

Naked

The best way of explaining the dangers of exposing themselves on the internet to our children, who are hit by social media before they even hit adolescence, is most probably to propose that before they post an image, they print it out, stand up in front of their class and show it to everyone.

Youngsters tend to have a greater sense of embarrassment in front of their classmates than in front of their screens, which have an inexplicable effect of removing inhibitions.

Therefore, the confrontation between the false sense of anonymity and immunity offered by electronic devices, and the defencelessness felt in the face of cruel judgement of the peers they share a classroom with every day, could have a healthy dissuasive effect.

Possibly the greatest danger of social media is the false sense of invulnerability which comes from moving in a parallel world that collapses like a house of cards when the paths of what is virtual and what is real end up crossing.

The best thing we can do on social media, and the sooner we understand this the fewer problems we'll have, is to be aware that the lines of real life and virtual life are not parallel, but converging, and at some point they will meet.

It is not at all advisable to give opinions on social media that we wouldn't be prepared to defend in front of a real audience, in the flesh, formed by not only our friends but also our neighbours, bosses or clients. Neither is it advisable to share images that we would be ashamed to hold up in front of that same audience.

When it first appeared, WhatsApp was hard to differentiate from the SMS text message system massively used until then and which is now hardly used at all. However they are really opposing systems, and not because the earlier one costs money and the later one is free.

The first allowed a personal exchange between two users, and the second is a social network in which the messages, which might well be private, can go viral as soon as one of the participants lacks a minimal sense of loyalty.

The speed with which an unfortunate image or message is reproduced across this media can make any adolescent understand, albeit too late, that they would be far better off getting undressed in front of 30 classmates than doing it in front of the camera on their mobile phone.

Imprudence, however, is neither a crime, nor an excuse for pointing an accusing finger in the wrong direction.

Malaga CF's head coach may have behaved immaturely, recklessly, rashly or simply naively, but that doesn't stop him from being a victim.