“The Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media”
“If social media controls you and is robbing you of your freedom and good emotional energy chances are, you're addicted and it's time to find another hobby.” – Germany Kent
No hobby or liking has ever proved to be productive, once it turns into addiction. There is always a limit to which having guilty pleasures doesn’t harm a person. Once that line of limit is crossed, a person not only eventually causes his own irreparable loss, but also ends up causing injury to the ones affiliated with him. Addiction and influence are two situations directly related to each other. Influence and peer pressure sometimes end up pushing a person deep into the pit of addiction, from where coming out is next to impossible. Even if a person somehow manages to get rid of his addiction from something, he ends up being affected by something or the other forever, which causes some serious mental health issues. Social media is one of the biggest and wickedest addictions one could ever have. It projects the utopian world that does not exist.
People get so carried away by activities they see on social media, that they end up falling into its deep pit and start following what they see. Everything that they see comes from under a title or category called ‘trending’ which popularises the particular content and reaches all the viewers. That content holds the power to influence the viewers to an extent that they end up imitating the content. They consider it to be the latest and most followed fad for the time being, which would lead them to becoming popular and getting into the limelight. Some people want this kind of recognition by hook or by crook, since the verified blue tick on most social media platforms is something which is very desirable, and people are ready to cross all limits to attain that recognition.
When we are addicted to something, we fail to see its repercussions. Its worst consequences, which once used to haunt us, all of a sudden feel like a blessing in disguise. That is where the real trouble begins. An excess of anything can be proven harmful at times, as the type of addiction does not really matter as to whether someone is a maniac or aficionado.Once anyone starts on that way, he ends up surrendering to the ‘seven deadly sins’ of nature.The seven deadly sins would namely be lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride.All these seven sins go hand in hand. Where one exists, the others automatically follow. This blog intends to discuss these seven deadly sins in context of social media addiction, its consequences and a legal overview of the situation.
Social Media’s Deadly Sins:
People commit these sins because of their social media addiction, which can further be elaborated based on the risks they are always ready to take for the sake of fulfilling their irrational intentions.
Ø Lust: This sin basically refers to the uncontrollable, obsessed and preposterous craving to constantly know what is going on in each and every social platform, a person is associated with. It also extends to a person becoming an active part of each and every platform. The user gets obsessed with following other people’s profiles, their pictures, their activity, and every single detail of their profiles. He just wants more and more followers and as many rendezvous as possible. This kind of interaction often develops a maniac mentality in the user where he crosses the line of social interaction and acts in an eerie way rather than acting and thinking rationally.
Ø Gluttony and Greed:The constant hankering to get more and more, and a totally unsatisfied feeling with what you possess, this state of mind would be the best to describe these two sins. Gluttony makes the people so frantic about being updated, that they can’t help but go through their smartphones every minute. Greed can be best described as the feeling of having more and more followers, having increasing popularity, the constant dissatisfactory feeling with what comes the person’s way. This leads a person to go to any extent to get what he wants. This fanatic and adamant approach usually lands a person in hot soup. The ravenousness to look for more content and trend more takes over a person’s mind. When people don’t really get what they’re looking for, they turn to aggressive means to come across it anyhow.
Ø Sloth: Social media has turned us into sloths. We have ourselves built social barriers for ourselves and have become couch potatoes, seeking for comfort in these social platforms for the sake of essential human interaction. We are now happy living within the walls of our tiny forts with walls as indestructible social barriers. This sluggishness is not restricted to physical acts only, but extends to the level of affecting a person’s mindset as well. Logical and lucid thinking completely exits a person’s mind and is substituted by narrow mindsets.
Ø Envy and Wrath: These two sins usually go hand in hand. Enmity, anger, rage, usually arise when a person sees someone else as a threat. When a person realises that someone else is getting more popular than him, has more followers, has more so-called “friends”, is getting more views, likes, comments, etc. he feels the urgent need to shove that person down by some way or the other. He starts to despise all the activities of that person. Every action from the other person triggers them and deep down, they develop an enmity with the person which they never really express in public, or else their created social image of theirs would be at stake. Where jealousy resides, these two sins make way.
Ø Pride: The atmosphere of repugnance that this sin brings with itself is on an undefined level. Pride is the worst enemy of man. It leads a person to the road of over-confidence because of a few responses they always desired. A person closes himself for criticism forever once he gets this feeling as he feels that he is perfect in every manner. He gets the feeling that if anyone ever spoke anything against him, it will be because of the other person’s feeling of jealousy, which leads to the development of enmity between the two. The person takes pride in all his actions, even if he ends up in the worst chaos.
Problems Arising Because of this Misuse:
The seven deadly sins with respect to social media facilitate the rise of multiple problems, some of which invite multiple serious legal implications as well. Although the problem extends to people of all age groups, but the main group of people targeted by these sins are the teenagers these days. They act out of the heat of the moment in multiple situations and do not realise that their actions might have grievous consequences which are sometimes of legal nature. Some recent cases have proved this observation right multiple times, like in the case of Boys Locker Room, a group of boys on Instagram were alleged to be sharing pictures of teenage girls and sending them bizarre messages rape threats. A similar case had been highlighted on Snapchat, a few days before this incident came into light. Many more similar incidents have taken place in the past which have clearly implied that these teenagers do not realise the depth of the terms they are using and the severe consequences that might follow because of their actions.
There had been another case, where a teenage boy committed suicide because his girlfriend had falsely alleged him and started rumours like she had been sexually harassed by the boy. Their acquaintances started accusing and targeting the boy for his wrongful actions and started boycotting him. The boy got so scared of the situation that instead of reporting the matter and seeking help, he committed suicide. When the matter came into light, teenagers started protesting against the girl and started spreading fake news regarding the matter. We as public do not hold the right to pass any verdicts about what had happened or what should have happened. Such acts only add fuel to the existing fire leading to all the related people getting burnt by it.
Most of them believe in the theory that if they are not posting anything regarding the latest hot-topic, their peers might think that they are socially backward and are unaware of the current affairs. They do not realise the significance of understanding ‘what to post’,‘where to post’ and ‘how much to post’. They end up posting things that fall into the category of fake news and divert from the actual facts, eventually creating some by themselves. They do not realise the difference of putting forth their perspective and forcibly calling someone else’s opinion their own. If they wish to criticise or show their disapproval for some action of the Government or authority by means of protest, they mostly fail to understand the difference between peaceful protest and sedition. They post outrageous comments that incite rage amongst their peers, who follow this action, eventually creating a big pool of seditious remarks.They have falsely been influenced by movies, web-series and other sources of visual recreation. Objectifying people, discrimination, anger management issues, body-shamming, hate-speech, and many other habits that should be avoided are in fact considered “trending” these days, which ultimately leads everyone to following it. Teenagers nowadays are involved in activities like pornography and drugs which might lead to certain serious legal consequences.
The cases of Sanskar Marathe v. The State of Maharashtra & Anr., Ambikesh Mahapatra& Anr. V. The State of West Bengal & Ors., Kanwal Bharti v. State of U.P. & 5 Ors., and many other similar as well as significant cases have been seen in the history of Social Media misuse.The recent case filed of Arnab Ranjan Goswami v. Union of India, on 19th May, 2020 plays a very significant role in the present scenario. Another recent and very important case is of Sasikala Pushpa v. Facebook India And Ors, filed on 2nd June, 2020. These cases, and many other similar cases filed during the pandemic situation have only highlighted the problems arising out of the rapid rise in the use of Social Media platforms.
Where the sins exist, trouble is bound to follow. Peer pressure, the tag of following the trend, and multiple other such factors, eventually leads to the seven deadly sins taking over the world of social media. During the present time of the lockdown due to the prevailing pandemic, it is next to impossible for anyone to avoid social media platforms. But there is an urgent need to realise that any of our activities would eventually only affect us, so it is beneficial to act smartly irrespective of the prevailing situation. It is in no way suggested that the use of any social media platform should totally be prohibited. Anything and everything should be put to limited use,it does not transform into an obsession or addiction. Where addiction resides, the seven deadly sins ultimately make way and lead to the commission of some heinous acts.
“All the seven deadly sins are man’s true nature. To be greedy. To be hateful. To have lust. Of course, you have to control them, but if you’re made to feel guilty for being human, then you’re going to be trapped in a never-ending sin-and-repent cycle that you can’t escape from.”
By Aditi Bansal,
Law College Dehradun, Faculty of Uttaranchal University,
2nd B.B.A. LL.B. (Hons.)
 Cri.PIL 3-2015, in the High Court of Judicature at Bombay, also available at, https://indiankanoon.org/doc/57916643/  available at, https://www.casemine.com/judgement/in/56e66820607dba6b53430d5b Criminal Misc. Writ Petition No. - 17021 of 2013, in the High Court of Judicature atAllahabad, also available at, https://indiankanoon.org/doc/176018166/