23 Oct Posting about the war on social media
The other night at dinner I asked my clever and sensitive 14 year old Godson where he was getting his news. To my dismay, he answered Tik Tok. As we watched his favorite 16 year old Tik Tok ‘newscaster’ describing the days events in the war between Israel and Palestine, however, I realized that while the news being transmitted was solid, the comments other kids were posting were distressing and alarming.
As fate would have it, the next day one of my favorite reporters, Leah Groth, reached out to me for a story she was writing for Best Life titled Things You Shouldn’t Say on Social Media During Wartime.
I’ve pasted my 7 responses from her article below:
Avoid Using “Winning or Losing” Language
Dr. Hokemeyer suggests avoiding language that contains desires for a win or a loss. “In war, there are no winners. Humanity loses as sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters are sacrificed in the name of a political or religious ideology,” he explains.
Language That Conflates Fundamentalist or Religious Groups with Geographic Identities
He also urges against using language that conflates fundamentalist or minority groups with geographic identities. “Just like not all Trump Republicans are Americans, not all followers of Hamas are Palestinians, nor is everyone who lives in Israel a Jew,” he reminds.
Any Language That Justifies the Killing of Other Human Beings
You should also avoid language that justifies the killing of other human beings, Dr. Hokemeyer says. “War is atrocious. The impact, devastating. No matter how strongly you feel about one side or the other, soldiers who fight and civilians who die, lose their homes and possessions and suffer devastating trauma do not deserve it,” he explains.
Avoid using language that dehumanizes other human beings, says Dr. Hokemeyer. “In the same vein as number three above, no person deserves to be called vicious names or treated like an animal.”
Language That Elevates an Existing Online Argument
Try to avoid using language that elevates an existing online argument, urges Dr. Hokemeyer. “There is enough chaos, violence and aggression in the world,” he says. Instead, use your voice to “promote peace and a resolution to the multitude of destructive forces that are threatening our world order and our global wellbeing.”
Accusing Someone of Being “Stupid” or an “Idiot”
You shouldn’t use language that makes someone else wrong or calls them stupid or an idiot, says Dr. Hokemeyer. “Wars and conflicts are the direct result of strident, binary positions. Social media magnifies and thrives on these differences. Wars are resolved and conflicts healed in the subtle nuances of truth that exist between the two binaries. Be a part of the healing rather than enhancing the destruction,” he encourages.
Don’t use language that is fatalistically dire, Dr. Hokemeyer says. “Humanity is adaptive and resilient. While we lose our way at times, we are all called towards life and away from death and destruction. Be a part of the solution by posting about healing, hope and peace rather than promoting hate and division,” he explains.
While the world’s events feel out of control, we can control how we comport our in person and online in responses to them. Use your presence to channel peace, empathy, and compassion. Intentionally avoid toxic reactivity. Pray and work for personal, relational, and ideological peace.