Social Media Trolling and Cyberbullying: You are Part of the Problem

A few weeks back, the nation was awakened by the news of a poor girl who committed suicide after being shamed on social media. The shaming happened via a fake social media profile/page, a phenomena not uncommon today where normal people are trolled openly to gather more likes and shares. Such shaming typically elicits mixed public reactions, with some people actually joining the bandwagon to hurl more comments on the victim. Although we have educated the public on the need to exercise restraint in terms of negative posting and commenting on social media, the rise in cyber bullying cases continues. The risk of certain profiles or pages, especially those whose identity is hidden behind different names or handles, being used to cyberbully and troll others, remains. The question is, how long are we going to tolerate the irresponsible actions of those fake profiles and pages? How long are we going to be afraid of them? Most of us are afraid to voice out and report such pages because we are afraid of becoming the next victim. Given these circumstances, shall I say that part of the problem lies with you. Yes, because of you, if you have been one of those who actually liked such posts, or shared them or commented in support of these fake profiles and pages. This includes comments such as ‘this girl deserves it’ or ‘why can’t girls keep their social media private’ or anything along these lines which puts the blame on the victim. The idea that these girls (or even boys) should not be publishing anything on social media, and that these actions invite trouble is the very reason why those fake profiles and pages are still freely trolling all the innocent victims. This boils down to our way of judging a person by his/her appearance, or the way she/he posts things on social media, something that can actually lead to a person into depression or even to committing suicide. The mentality that making a post viral will ‘serve people a lesson’ and will ‘teach people to behave properly’ is perpetuating the culture of shaming and humiliating, and often ends up with the affected boys and girls taking extreme decisions. However despite such incidences, we continue to criticize and shame others, and in many ways we become the reason for those fake profiles and pages to exist. My take on this is, we have to think before we act on something, think about the consequences and don’t try to be the so-called viral video ‘machas’ and ‘machis’ (both men and women play their role equally here). It is easy to download and upload an image or video to the page and mark them with inappropriate words. It is easy to share those posts in the name of creating public awareness when you fail to be the wiser person. Is all of these going to end soon? Well, the answer is in your hands, people!

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