From racism to sexism the internet is host to a plethora of hate against any number of groups, spurred by a feeling of anonymity, leading to a culture of “keyboard warriors”.
As technology advances, more and more importance is placed in our online existence. Social media platforms, blogs and thread sites allow us to connect with our peers, and strangers from all across the world. This sense of connectivity doesn’t always work in our favour. Without the pressure of face to face interaction, it has become increasingly easier to act rashly towards another human being with limited feelings of consequence. (Evans, 2011) This has led to a community of internet bullies and cyber haters, which can have a serious impact of the mental health of their targets, with victims of frequent cyber bullying up to 9 times more likely to commit suicide.(2013)
The answer seems simple, to switch off the devices and escape the trap of the internet. This would be the simplistic solution, but by forsaking our right to the internet, we’re also shutting ourselves off from the positive sense of connectedness, leading to a heightened sense of isolation. Instead a more holistic approach must be taken, to change the ways in which young people think, rather than just act. Whilst comments can be reported and moderated, this is a somewhat slow and occasionally ineffective method of monitoring interactions. Instead, to truly stamp out the issue of internet hate, we would have to change the fundamental make-up of human nature, a task which is all but impossible.
It then falls down to the viewer to disengage from hurtful material or persons, taking their mental welfare into their own hands, and for others to stand up for victims of abuse. The end of bullying can only be down through the creation of a strong, caring community, which is everyone’s responsibility.
(2013). “Cyberbullying Statistics.” Internet Safety 101. Retrieved 15/05, 2014, from http://www.internetsafety101.org/cyberbullyingstatistics.htm.
Evans, Karalee (2011) Men call me things: it’s not as romantic as it sounds, The Drum, 11 November. Retrieved 15/05, 2014, from http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3659712.html