Social media is a blessing and a curse. It provides a way for people to connect and explore each other's worlds... and it's a breeding ground for negativity. Deep in the darkest parts of the world wide web, trolls are waiting to pounce on victims with vicious comments. But platforms are taking a stand and promoting kindness. Here's how to block unwanted and cruel opinions with Instagram's "Comment Controls," one of the app's latest updates in hopes to create a positive experience.
Breathe a sigh of relief: Those users who seemingly come out of the blue to attack won't have a leg to stand on with these new features. Feel free to post those #shelfies and #dogstagram shots in peace. According to the Instagram blog, the app is looking to make the experience more positive, especially in regards to comments. A portion of the post reads,
If your account is public, you'll see a new way to choose who can comment on your posts — from everyone to just groups of people, like people you follow or your followers. Also, whether your account is public or private, you'll be able to block other accounts from commenting on your posts.
How wonderful is it to know that that nasty comments from strangers can disappear? To add to the feature, Instagram will also block offensive comments in Arabic, French, German and Portuguese, because — no matter the language — everyone knows trolls' words can be very hurtful. Finally — the option to post without waiting for something to backfire.
This is just one factor in Instagram's step toward kindness. In an effort to provide users with a mental health resource, the app will allow anonymous reporting for live videos. This will let users report someone who looks like he or she is in need of assistance or going through a difficult time when on a live video. According to the Instagram blog,
The person will see a message offering help with options to talk to a helpline, reach out to a friend or get other tips and support. We have teams working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, around the world to respond.
There are plenty of factors that can cause depression and anxiety on social media — especially when the pressure increases to maintain a strong online presence or when real-life relationships deteriorate because of what happens virtually. Some users — especially young ones — are likely to crack under this intense demand they create for themselves. There's no denying it; growing up in the 21st century isn't easy.
Stressing about handles and selfies has become increasingly popular according to Janis Whitlock, a research scientist in the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research. "Worrying excessively about your on-line 'look' has become increasingly normalized," she told Psychology Today. "Helping people recognize this tendency and redirect social media time to enhance wellbeing is a critical skill." Thankfully, it appears the apps are looking to help those who feel uncomfortable by these new norms.
Of course, no positive strides toward kindness on Instagram would be complete without some sticker updates. New heart-shaped stickers are not only adorable, but have a purpose. The Instagram blog reads, "Take a photo or video and share a #KindComments to make someone's day." It's as simple as that. If you're feeling really empowered, check out the walls around different cities that have been turned into #KindComment murals, courtesy of IG users such as Lakwena (@lakwena). "I was thinking recently about how my mother used to lead protest marches in London,” the artist told the Instagram blog. “Probably the first type of graphic work I ever did was banners for those marches. That was when I realized how important words are.”
Now, more than ever, it's time to post with good intentions.