By Nik Nayly
The emotional distress and challenges that victims of cyberbully have to bear are far more painful than one could imagine. It is time for us to be more aware of what we and other people choose to say online.
People who sign up for social media have a sole intention to express and embrace themselves online. But with social media algorithms, cyberbullying can take place. When getting cyber-bullied, the feeling of being laughed at or accused by others can cause victims of cyberbully to have mental breakdown.
If you watched the Netflix docu-series, ‘The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel’, you would encounter Pablo Vergara, a musician, and actor who is known by his stage name, Morbid. Vergara is a victim of cyberbully, and he mentioned in the docu-series that every day he receives a lot of death threats, false accusations, and hate from people online, because of his physical appearance.
“At a point when you get so much hate and negativity, there’s something that breaks in your mind,” says Vergara.
Vergara confessed that because of the overwhelming hate and negativity he received, he was in a very bad state and had a meltdown because of cyberbullying.
Even though cyberbullying happens online, it heavily affects the victim’s personal life. It must not be viewed lightly that cyberbullying affects the victim mentally, emotionally and physically. Victims of cyberbully may feel upset, paranoid and humiliated. Consequently leading to tiredness, illness, depression and self-isolation which would result in total meltdown.
“The web-sleuth goes on with their life as nothing happened, but they really turned my life upside down,” says Vergara, who felt like he lost his freedom of expression.
After the incident, sadly, no one apologised to Vergara for the accusations and the bullying they made towards him.
“No one apologised to me, no one reached out to me. People shouldn’t get away with that, and we have to be more responsible for what we say and do. What happened to me could happen to anyone. I survived, but lots of people get cyber-bullied and they don’t make it,” says Vergara.
Be responsible online
One of the things that are often overlooked when cyberbullying occurs is that cyberbullies are not held accountable for the hate they throw online. Most often than not, the hate comments are easily forgotten by them. However, the same does not apply to the victim of cyberbully.
As a social media user, if you see someone getting bullied on a social media platform, reporting and blocking the account is necessary. Each social media has provided the feature to report accounts or comments that have violated the terms of service. For example, Instagram has a ‘Report’ tool for the Instagram community to report inappropriate posts or accounts for bullying or harassment, hate speech or symbols, etc.
Moreover, if you have ever thrown hate comments and bullied someone online, do apologise to them even if it was a long time ago. We never know how our words may hurt someone. Let us all create a safer space online, and be more accountable for what we say. ***
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