Our social media stress

All it took to attract international media attention was a coughing fit.

A UK newspaper running a story on a Tasmanian news reader chocking on a cough while presenting a story about a flu outbreak.

Oh the joy of social media!

My family is completely over this winter.

Coughing and horrendous amounts of snot have almost broken us

But it was a sore and tickly throat that became my undoing on live TV.

Within minutes of my embarrassing coughing fit, Facebook took off in a world of its own.

Friends from Melbourne were calling to see if I was all right. 

My family in New Zealand were getting into the mix.

It was astonishing, and just a little scary, to see how quickly the vision of this unfortunate moment spread its way beyond Tasmanian shores.

And then within 24 hours, to the other side of the world.

Luckily for me, I was smothered by kind and caring comments from friends and complete strangers.

But I could not help wondering what it must be like for a person, especially teenagers who are so completely immersed in this world of technology, who make a mistake and it’s all caught on the tiny little cameras we carry around with us all day every day.

Falling over, having a bad hair day, someone making a cruel comment and before you know it, hundreds and then thousands are laughing at your expense.

A recent story touched my heart of a young teenager from Ireland who took her own life because she was constantly taunted on social media by other young girls about her weight.

They told her she was fat and didn’t respect herself.

Can you imagine a young person being alone in their bedroom with these types of messages coming at them thick and fast?

The walls of our homes no longer keep us safe.

And we can’t blame technology and say this is the cause of so much depression, anxiety and sadness because all phones, iPads, and laptops come with an off button.

You can opt out.

You can shut down.

Social media has the potential to spread kindness and inspiration.

It can keep people connected, and as I found out, it can let people know you care.

But never forget how far its reach is or the power of its images.

Like pretty much everything in life, it can be used for good or evil.

Southern Cross newsreader Jo Palmer takes a look at life in a world full of change and challenges.

Southern Cross newsreader Jo Palmer takes a look at life in a world full of change and challenges.

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