Bullying is, presumably, as old as humanity, but research into it is relatively young. The way it has been changing over the years is what has been making it all the more dangerous. One of the reasons you hear about it so much today is because it is happening in more places than ever before. In the past, children were often bullied at school or in their neighborhood. Today, with the increased use of the Internet, each and everyone is now bullied in all locations and at all times. It’s a monkey on your back that you cannot escape. This has created an epidemic that must be stopped. Just a generation ago, computers were virtually unheard of and the Internet didn’t exist. Today not just the internet but having a posh social media life has become the need of the hour.
You look around and there would be a dozen people snapchatting and instagramming every moment of their life. If you think about it, bullying is the result of an unequal power dynamic, the strong attacking the weak because you stay anonymous. Sometimes I wonder if the Internet has made the world more rural. Before the Internet, bullying ended when you withdrew from whatever environment you were in. But now, the bullying dynamic is harder to contain and even harder to ignore. If you’re harassed on your Facebook page, all of your social circles know about it; as long as you have access to the network, a ceaseless stream of notifications leaves you vulnerable to victim-hood.
Time and again we also have seen celebrities face the brunt of it just because being a public figure requires you to maintain decorum virtually or otherwise. The hate is so much, that one physically needs to burst that bubble to stay sane in the real world. All we need is someone to push us to be stronger but what is happening on the Internet today is just pulling everyone down. A low blow is what you need to go viral which is the sad truth.
Speaking of low blows, Adele after giving birth to her child went through a volley of hate comments which is enough to tarnish the confidence one may have built all these years. After the birth of her son last year, Adele and her husband experienced some major hate from users on Twitter. Many of these messages were extremely offensive and cruel, with multiple users targeting jokes about the singer’s weight. Not so long ago, we even saw hatred targeted towards the little Taimur Ali Khan who was just a day old. Have we really reached a stage where we hate a child who has just entered the world? It’s absolutely heartbreaking. Tom Daley, the British swimmer experienced Internet hate minutes after finishing his Olympic routine in 2012. Twitter mocked his deceased father, after what they thought was a disappointing performance. Tom was also targeted due to his position in the gay and LGBTQ community. Many Anti-Bullying charities and organizations came to the diving star’s defense, and legal action was even taken against Twitter users as some were arrested after threatening tweets were issued.
How can we forget what happened with Anushka Sharma? We’re all familiar with the scenario where people blamed Anushka’s presence for Virat Kohli’s poor performance in the match. She was bullied on Twitter and haunted by taunts of the entire nation. Now try and think logically, if that even makes sense?
While many take this casually, research has proved that cyber-bullying and depression go hand-in-hand and this issue needs to be put to sleep. Virtual or not, any form of bullying is a violation and it is high time we start standing up against it.
This article was first published on Filter Copy