Social media can be both a blessing and a curse. It forms relationships, is creative and most of us cannot live without it. But in a world where most of our lives can be found online, are the negative repercussions of trolling and cyberbullying getting out of control?
Just a month ago, Jesy Nelson released her documentary ‘Odd One Out’ detailing her story and the struggles she has had with her mental health as a result of the trolling she has experienced. Her struggles started when she first appeared on The X-Factor back in 2011. A fresh-faced beauty within the pop group Little Mix, each dreaming of fame with music at the centre. Through her documentary, Jesy shows how unhappy she was despite being so successful on The X-Factor. She would receive horrific comments calling her a “fat singing whale” or saying that “the fat one is repulsive” even stretching as far as one comment telling her to “go kill yourself”. Hiding behind a screen seems to give so many people the confidence to ridicule and bully people, both celebrities and not.
We have a generation growing up in a world where social media is all they have known and as Jesy says in her documentary, that is scary! The words that are said over social media stay with you forever, and I believe more needs to be done to prevent cyberbullying and raise awareness of what affect trolling can have on people. At the end of the documentary there were two statistics which stated that:
7 in 10 young people have experienced cyberbullyingDitch the Label Survey, 2019
26% of young people who have been cyberbullied report feeling suicidalDitch the Label Survey, 2019
That data terrifies me! So many people struggle with this and unfortunately right now there is very little that can be done. But activists like Jesy and others who speak out are changing perceptions and hopefully are making this world a much kinder place.
I do have so so many questions though… Why do people feel the need to comment negativity on social media? What can be done about it? Why don’t Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others do anything about it?
I believe that a massive change in this negative behaviour can be influenced by each social media platform. They have a responsibility to keep their users safe and at the moment that is simply not happening. Every celebrity receives scrutiny for the tiniest of things and regular people like you and me are being bullied over practically nothing. More regulations and putting measures into place will prevent these issues occurring in the first place and would be a massive step into saving an entire generation.
Society itself also has a huge responsibility and needs to change in order to prevent the next generation suffering from this same abuse. Young people of today are both receiving and dishing out these harmful comments. Schools simply need to educate and enforce rules, this is the best way to resolve this national crisis. I feel that I was well supported at school, yes there were slight snide remarks, but I am grateful that bullying was never really a part of my teenage years and that is down to open conversations that were had. Transparency and honesty goes down well with younger generations, by educating and raising awareness, trolling and cyberbullying can be prevented.
I personally believe that changing perceptions, particularly about body image, educating and enforcing regulations are at the forefront of how we are going to put a stop to trolling and cyberbullying and finally regain control.
Please drop me a comment with your opinion on this, what do you think should be done?