Archive for October 10th, 2012

Communication Barriers

I’m back on-line  Three months without internet is hard. Very hard. Especially when most of your daily contact with the outside world happens via the web.

I’ve been offline because we moved house, I now live in a wonderful little bungalow in a nice area surrounded by friendly neighbours. Sadly the council poured tarmac over our local junction box and it’s taken months to locate it and dig it up so that we could get our phone line & internet connected. Over the last few months I’ve missed a lot of stuff, the protests over ATOS’s involvement with the Paralympics, the Paralympics themselves and all the media coverage, party political conferences, dodgy TV, attacks on women’s rights and millions of other things that didn’t make it into the news.

I have spent a couple of months now dealing with a massive flare up of depression and anxiety which I realise was in part because I have felt massively isolated since moving. Not only am I physically further away from most of my friends, I lost my ability to communicate with them and keep up with their lives. When I can’t meet people face to face I, like many others living in today’s society, fall back on social networking or emailing to keep up to date. Without that I found myself really struggling. I started falling into some very negative thinking patterns and lacked the easy access to support and positive reinforcement to challenge them in an effective manner.

It’s really hammered home for me just how important the internet & social media are for me and (I assume) for many others in similar positions. Actually, it’s hammered home just how important the ability to communicate with others and feel heard is. Regardless of the medium used I feel it’s very important that everyone has a way of expressing themselves to others and communicating their needs. Freedom of expression is a Human Right after all;

“everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice”

These last few months have left me thinking about how easily that right is stripped from people. Those who have difficulty communicating in a socially acceptable manner, those who are bullied/coerced into silence through fear, those who are simply never provided the equipment or assistance to be able to communicate with others in a mutually meaningful way and so on and so forth.

As attacks on vulnerable people step up in our society it’s crucially important that we don’t forget about those who can’t join the debate because they are silenced by a lack of access.

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