Cyber-bullying needs to be ended

The internet provides us with some amazing things: online shopping from the comfort of bed, news updates about events across the country, unlimited access to videos of kittens, and the awful ability to read a hateful comment directed at us on social media, each word burning into our psyche from a screen no larger than one of
our hands.

I have been the victim of online hate and, no, it is not funny. To anyone who thinks it is OK to be vicious to others from the safety of your bathroom, you are a coward and you should be ashamed of yourself.

Social media sites Twitter and Instagram have taken up recent changes in an attempt to combat the onslaught of rude rhetoric plaguing the internet, allowing users to filter comments based on key words that could lead to potential emotional scarring. While this is a fantastic step in the direction of a happier, friendlier online world, it really is not going to magically fix the problem.

I know, I know — there are literally too many online users to delete every single one that posts something obscene, but there has to be a way to take down accounts that only deal with hate speech using the same filtering technology or active community engagement to notify the social media site.

I do not know a single person who believes online bullying is OK, and yet, it is nearly impossible to scroll through an account of a celebrity and not see demands that the poster in question kill himself or herself.

This is disgusting. I have seen mild photos of breastfeeding be removed because they “violate terms of use,” but seen a different, horrible user posting awful comments about someone’s appearance and get away with being malicious. Sure, now we can attempt to hide their comments, but what about reposts? What about private messages? At what point do we decide that hiding the problem does not fix it, and the only thing that will is
action?

With suicide being one of the most prevalent killers of teens and young adults in the United States, cyberbullying should absolutely be taken more seriously. We live in a digital age where most of our communication is done electronically, so we need to focus on making that medium a safe one, and not one where parents have to fear the beratement of their teenage son or daughter.

I am entirely in favor of a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to being on the receiving end of hate on social media, and more people should be, as well. We can try to continue to ignore the comments and avoid the hateful words about our appearance, or we can actively work to ban users who engage in such awful behavior.

There is nothing like seeing strangers pick you apart by attacking you over the thing you are most sensitive about. It affects your self-image and self-worth, and that is really a power no one should be allowed to have over you, especially when it is on your own social media page.

Trolling people online is not cute or funny, and most importantly, it is nothing more than a pathetic attempt at being noticed. Good, we saw you. Now what? Now we need to work to stop it and rid the world of such hate, that’s what.

About Chloe Tokar

Managing Editor

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