How social media can be a social change vector

Photo by Saulo Mohana on Unsplash

Social media and technology are often painted in a bad light. For example, they are believed to have negative impacts on human interactions, and to affect both psychological and physical health, according to studies, many millennials and gen Z members have developed an addiction to social media and their phones. Although accessibility to technology has its negative impacts, we tend to forget its positive role. Because of social media, connecting between one another, raising awareness for social movements, as well as planning logistics regarding protests is much easier than before. Here’s how accessibility to technology plays an important role as a social change vector.

Taking the law into their own hands
Recently, victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault and abuse have been denouncing publicly, via their social media, their perpetrators. When a sexual assault is reported, the odds of the victim getting justice are not great., in Canada, only 1 in 10 substantial sexual assaults result in a criminal conviction according to Statistics Canada.,Those convictions only affect the reported sexual assaults, which are only 6% of all sexual assualts . Because judicial systems tend to fail those victims, they have been taking the law into their own hands and using their social platforms, such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, as a way to get justice on their own. 

Social medias’ impact on social justice movement 
Victims of social injustice have been using their own phones and social media to film and publicize the injustices that are inflicted on them. The Free Uyghurs’ movement is a good example of it. The reason we are aware of the “re-education” camps in China, which were discussed in this article, is because some Uyghurs snuck their phones in the camps and exposed the situation. 

Before the accessibility to technology, people were not as aware as they are now. It’s because people have filmed and posted online what happened to George Floyd and so many more victims of racial discrimination and racial crimes, that the Black lives matter movement has reached as many people as it did. Although justice has yet to be made in most cases, at least, people are aware of this issue which is the first step to getting justice. In Canada, Joyce Echaquan, an Atikamekw woman who died on September 28, 2020, recorded a Facebook Live video showing how badly she was treated by hospital staff. Echaquan was allergic to morphine which she mentioned to the nurses, yet the nurses proceeded into making fun of her, being racist towards her, and giving her morphine. If it wasn’t for this video, we would not know what happened.

In short, although social media and accessibility to technology have their negative effects, they have helped social justice.

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