Social Media Abuse
We live in a time where technology has given everyone a voice.
It only takes a few seconds to share an opinion with millions.
Unfortunately technology has also given birth to a new type of bully.
The social media abuser.
He/she hides behind a screen dispensing anger, fear and threats with every key they type. Intentionally wounding, gouging, maiming and tearing down others with their words.
Pouring scorn on others and dishonouring them, drowning them in shame and embarrassment. Pushing them to self-hatred, self-harm and even suicide.
All this power, wielded by cowards.
Individuals who in the light of day would not have the courage to utter the words they spew out in the comfort of their homes, schools and offices.
Who are these people one might ask?
You may be surprised to discover that they are the ordinary looking girl, boy, man or woman down the street. Your neighbour, your colleague, your schoolmate, your relative or maybe even your friend.
They wear a mask in the public-eye, disguising the hatred they feel for others or even for themselves. Unresolved anger or disappointment, a lack of self-confidence, a dislike of oneself or even a history of being bullied can be underlying reasons that lead these individuals to hurt people while revelling in the fact that they are hiding safely behind a virtual curtain unseen and unknown.
After all, online accounts are easy to delete and re-create.
How much damage do social media bullies really cause?
The effects of emotional and psychological abuse are far-reaching.
Some of us have thick skin and can ignore hurtful comments from known individuals and strangers alike. Yet there are others among us who are far more vulnerable.
This can be due to their age, previous bullying, life experiences or other challenges that everyday life brings. Individuals with a history of depression and low self-esteem are also more likely to fall off the edge after encountering online bullies.
What can we do to help?
Most online forums and groups are a hiding place for these bullies and abusers. Many of us have come across their attacks on others.
Have we laughed, encouraged them on or worse still, joined in with them?
It has been said that silence equals agreement.
In the first instance, we should report the online bully to the webpage authority or group chat administrators who should act responsibly and take prompt action.
Secondly, if we know the said individual, we must call them out in private. If not, then we must take a stand and call them out on the public forum.
We can no longer simply ignore social media abusers and allow them to poison our society, wantonly sowing destruction with their keyboards.
Remember, the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men and women to do nothing.