In no other age has broadcasting your opinion been easier. The internet has transformed the way we express ourselves and undoubtedly influences the content we share with each other. Needless to say, the fact that retrieving information and viewing content online has never been simplified drastically, has changed our lives for the better. However, the privilege of anonymity has its own drawbacks. It’s more than common to experience bullying online. Anyone with an audience can be a victim as well as a victimizer. The line is fine and when freedom of speech is added in the equation it is logical to conclude that anyone could be swimming in deep waters.
Having experienced online bullying and assaults as an observer, I can’t help but feel as though there is no way we can reduce the amount of content that is being uploaded and involves mainly hate comments. From political and religious matters to music, art and entertainment, everything can be prone to receiving hateful feedback. What is even more disturbing is that young people often offend people of their own age, showing no respect to a different perspective or opinion. How have we come this far in disrespecting each other and why do some of us think that it is okay to be unfairly aggressive on the internet?
One of the main reasons is that we haven’t fully grasped that the digital world developing in front of us the past few decades has been slowly turning into an extension of our life with legal implications. Almost every other activity on the internet is now being regulated by laws worldwide. Because the internet is not perceptible by touch, a lot of people tend to think that what they say or do on the internet cannot be seen in the “real world”. They live by the false notion that their actions on the internet have absolutely no repercussions in the lives of others. This idea could not be more wrong, as we have seen many teenagers-victims of digital bullying ending their own lives after receiving abusive messages. If we think about it, though, could the fear of harming others hold us back from being our true selves on the internet?
The real question is whether we should refrain from expressing our opinion or say what’s on our minds no matter the circumstances. As much as I like being absolute, I have to admit that the solution could be somewhere in the middle. We should express our true opinions on the internet, as long as they are drafted with respect to those who think otherwise. Reducing conflict online could be achieved by putting real effort in infusing our content with compassion and tolerance to the opposing view as well as participating in real conversations, not “dog fights”. Fighting online is no different from fighting on the internet; we could save ourselves from the embarrassment.
When we think about the internet, we can all detect the opportunities this new tool is creating. Using it as a platform for the expression of our anger and desperation can’t be a satisfactory utilization. For this reason, it is crucial that everyone tries to partake in these practices and that the new generations are taught properly about the importance of this powerful tool and the implications that sometimes come from using it.
Online hate speech and bullying is one of the biggest problems teenagers have to face nowadays! One of my best friends made a video about bullying, contributing to the fight against it. Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gVFmieZz-k and comment telling her I sent you. Oh! And if you are a tv series fan, you will definitely have to subscribe.
See you next time,