A simple click is NEVER a simple click: How one click can have a huge impact online

Clicking, it’s an action which is synonymous with anything digital and yet we don’t consider the adverse effects of that very action online. With using the internet being as simple as ever, most users disregard the need to think things through and fail to recognise the implications of their actions, opting instead to act in an impulsive manner. I’ll be honest with you, I, like many others, have fallen victim to the trap of being awed by the simplicity of the internet and because of that, having acted impulsively without a regard for what my simple click may cause. These aforementioned actions could cause a food delivery driver to die on the job, they could cause child labour to be propelled or they could cause someone to take their own life. It is for these very reasons why we must instil a sense of caution whilst using the internet as our actions may have severe consequences both online and offline. 

In September 2020, 36-year-old Dede Fredy, was hit by a car in Sydney's Marrickville whilst working as a food delivery rider for Uber Eats. He was the first of five riders across various food delivery companies to die on the job nationally in the coming month. Uber Eats and other food delivery services make it easy for their large user base to get whatever food they please with only a few clicks of a mouse. Sadly, users of the app are not made aware of the tragic effects of this food delivery model and how it encourages drivers to drive recklessly in order to fulfil their quota, causing death. That year, despite the death of many food delivery drivers, Uber Eats’ revenue soared to 660 Million US dollars in 2020. This is a key example of how the simplicity of the internet enables its users to look past the consequences of their actions.

The naivety which comes with clicking a button not only applies to food delivery, but to supporting child labour. There are around 265 million working children in the world which is almost 17% of the worldwide child population. Without knowing it, every purchase that you make online may be supporting this criminal act. This once again represents the devastating effects which a single action may have online. The instant gratification which we receive from ordering something online blinds us to what is really happening behind the scenes, that being child labour. In this day and age, it is more crucial than ever to understand where and how our goods are being made and through its simplicity, the internet acts as a cloak for these operations, making it easy for users to unknowingly be helping the act of child labour. 

According to the eSafety commissioner, 1 in 5 Australian kids admitted to cyberbullying a peer online and of these, more than 90% had been cyberbullied themselves. It’s as simple as clicking send and yet most young people fail to think through the repercussions of these actions online. What may start as a simple joke or a petty remark can end in tragic events such as suicide. This could be seen in 2018 when 14-year-old Amy Everet tragically took her own life after being bullied online. For the perpetrator of this crime, they may have seen it as a joke or may not have realised the harsh reality that comes with cyberbullying but now they will have to live with that for the rest of their lives. Just a few clicks and it’s a life sentence for the victim and perpetrators. This underlines the sheer significance of clicking send, tapping go or pressing share online as one action could have such an impact on not only the person who was affected by it, but the person who carried it out. A simple click. The death of a driver. 

A simple click. Child labour being propagated. A simple click. The suicide of a child being bullied. In this ever-changing digital age a simple click is never a simple click. As a society, we must educate both ourselves and our youth that click, swipe or tap may seem simple or look simple in principle but in reality, a simple click may be one too many. By failing to recognise the significance of our actions online, we can be exposed to untruthful content which can lead to us being misinformed, causing us to make further bad actions online without even knowing it. These actions which have unintended consequences are not only unfair to the victims of them but they are unfair to the people which carry them out without knowing so. However, by making sure to think through exactly the consequences of our actions online next time we click buy, send or go online, we will be able to build good will by doing the right thing, benefiting ourselves and those who may have been affected by our very actions. The test of fairness and what is right hinges on the few quick clicks which we make online. Be fair and build goodwill by thinking, not mindlessly clicking!