By Majd Othman
KUWAIT: Since the advent of social media and its widespread use, numerous reports and analyses have been published regarding its negative impact on individuals, particularly those who are addicted to it and spend excessive amounts of time online. However, these social media platforms have also become significant sources of information for their users, playing a crucial role in disseminating events quickly to the audience, especially for those who are victims or facing misfortunes.
Social media has been instrumental in assisting many people in resolving seemingly insurmountable problems that would have otherwise remained unresolved, and numerous stories attest to the importance of this tool in rescuing individuals from disasters. Kuwait Times gauged public opinion on whether social media is an effective means of addressing complex issues by making them public. While some individuals agreed with this notion, others deemed it unnecessary, expressing concerns that some people exploit their problems as a means to gain fame.
Alaa Abdulrahman, a Palestinian woman residing in the United Arab Emirates, provides a compelling example of how social media played a pivotal role in rescuing her children and herself from a dire situation. Her husband had abducted her three children and taken them to her home country, Palestine, where she was prohibited from entering due to the occupation. Alaa turned to social media for desperate help, having been granted custody of her children by UAE courts following a divorce.
However, implementing the court’s ruling was nearly impossible in a country under occupation. Over a two-year period of seeking assistance through social media, with the intervention of numerous social media celebrities and the use of hundreds of hashtags to raise awareness, Alaa was able to win her seemingly hopeless case. She successfully reunited with her children in the UAE, later revealing that her children had endured violence at the hands of their uncle and relatives.
Expatriate Mona Abdallah expressed full support for people who use social media to seek help, emphasizing that society should take substantial action to assist them. She acknowledged that while some individuals misuse social media for personal gain, it should not overshadow the genuine needs of others seeking assistance. Citizen Amani Omar stressed that social media can have a profoundly positive impact, particularly in cases related to justice.
She cited the example of a viral video depicting the physical abuse of a student in India solely because of his Muslim identity, believing that the video going viral on social media played a pivotal role in holding the perpetrators accountable. On the other hand, citizen Msaed Abdulrahman noted that social media has emboldened some individuals to exploit the pain of others. “Many people believe it’s a form of jest to deceive others into thinking they are victims of abuse, not solely for the purpose of gaining fame, but also to attract attention to themselves,” he stressed.