February 18, 2024

Lauren Galli

Galli Gripes: Your Picture Is In the Dictionary Next to Gullible

internet gullibility

Does anyone else remember the playground taunt, “Your picture is in the dictionary next to gullible”? It was thrown at us when we stupidly believed something ridiculous someone told us, such as alligators roam throughout the NYC sewer system, getting bitten by a bat could turn you into a vampire, or the gym teacher lives at the school. None of it was true, but our child-sized brains believed the tall tales because they were salacious and exciting.

Lately, it appears our brains have reverted back to that same level of gullibility—and I blame that on our dependence on electronics. With social media professing new things every single day, we are becoming something akin to a herd of cows walking into the slaughterhouse.

People are being scammed, hacked, and betrayed left and right. Don’t believe me? Well, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

How to Survive the Internet

These days, there are thousands of new ads for crazy products, and scammers constantly attempt to obtain our private information for dastardly purposes. But fortunately, there are ways to steer clear from the dangers. If you are looking to incessantly scroll your social media without falling victim to some savvy trickster or taking the latest rumor as gospel, here are three almost surefire tips to keep your wallet and common sense intact.

1. Google It – If you see a website selling “high quality brands” for $6, give it a Goog. Make sure the company actually exists, check the internet history, look for reviews of the site, and above all, do not put your credit card information into an app unless you know it is reputable.

Google is also useful for finding false information. For example, a large pet food company was recently flagged in a TikTok video for “killing dogs.” Although the allegation was completely untrue and unfounded, it hit the company hard and damaged its reputation. The brand was forced to release a formal statement with evidence of the healthiness of its food to rebut the online rumors.

2. Think Before Speaking – If something sounds highly suspicious, it’s probably not true. Remember the Pop Rocks and Coke urban legend from back in the day? There is a lot of B.S. in the world and there is no shortage of people who are willing to spread it. The potential engagement of the Swift/Kelce juggernaut is not going to destroy the country and empower one political party to take over the world, I promise. But some of the misinformation out there has the potential to create confusion and chaos. Please, consider the source of your favorite “facts” before spouting.

3. Know That Fear Mongering is Real – The internet, especially social media, has become a place where we can go to express our thoughts and opinions. And that is MOSTLY what it is — THOUGHTS AND OPINIONS. In a recent TikTok video, the creator showed several horrifying images, claiming to be the reason she avoids deep water. However, upon further investigation, many of the images were simply water currents, gentle sea creatures, and a random swimming marsupial – captured in a way that made them look menacing. However, the hundreds of thousands of people who watched the video didn’t know that because they scrolled along and took it at face value. Now they are irrationally terrified of the ocean.

The Truth Is Out There — Or Is It?

You can find evidence to support both sides of every argument on the internet, but that does not necessarily mean either one is true. The internet provides an audience for everyone and their opinions — and we all know what they say about opinions.

Do not believe everything you see on social media.

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