A few days ago I came across a harrowing article that left me feeling particularly emotional; it outlined how a former child model had been pushed into committing suicide after she was continuously and systematically cyberbullied about everything from her appearance to her clothes and shoes. A day would not pass where she did not receive some message telling her that she should go and kill herself because she didn’t deserve to live and, many months later, that is exactly what she did.
In the wake of the horrific incident, her distraught parents have started a non-profit organisation and have even gone so far as inviting their daughter’s bullies to her funeral in the hopes that they will truly understand the consequences of their actions.
I’d like to think that this is an isolated incident but every day I hear of situations where people are using the internet as a means to bully, intimidate and project their own insecurities on to people whose only crime is to exist.
In the olden days, before we all became keyboard warriors with our massive black mirrored shields and even bigger disregard for the well-being of others, children were taught the value of being decent.
We are all so much more than the sum of other people’s opinions
Our mothers, some of them anyway, taught us to play with children who were sitting alone, to share our toys and, ultimately, show kindness whenever and wherever we could, but nowadays, it seems that it has become easier for children to isolate themselves, play alone and, well, believe that no one else’s feelings and thoughts are as real as their own. So in the face of such change, what can be done to avoid tragic situations like the one above?
Apart from the fact that our laws need to embrace the new realities which have enveloped our ever more technological societies, it is paramount that we work on ourselves and guard ourselves from becoming bullies.
If you feel that something may or may not cause hurt, don’t send it out into the vast black hole that is the internet. If you wouldn’t say something to someone on the street when you’re face to face, don’t do it from behind the comfort of your screen.
If you do have something to debate, try to be as rational and as diplomatic as possible and keep the discussion relevant to the topic at hand. Ask yourself why you feel the need to put someone down to feel better about yourself.
If you yourself are going through a difficult time because you are being bullied by schoolmates, at work or anywhere else, always remember that what people choose to see and criticise in you will always say more about them than it ever will about you.
Try to ignore negative, unconstructive comments as much as possible and know that with time it does get better. Surround yourself with positive people who are willing and able to give you the love you deserve and understand that your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth. We are all so much more than the sum of other people’s opinions.
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