Read this article about internet bullying, even though pictures are normally more interesting.
School is starting across the country, but not all students are returning with a smile on their face. Recently, four youths have taken their own lives due to net mobbing – cyber bullying – hated by people they’d never even met. They were hated by people that hate themselves most of all and spew it out on innocent, weaker souls. They were martyrs in a cyber universe with words as their strongest weapon – WORDS that cut deeper than any knife.
I am passionate about stopping net mobbing and blog trolls whatever the cost. I wrote therefore an article about this, which was published in the Swedish newspaper DN. I’m asking you now to take a moment of your precious time and read my article…
Who do you become behind the computer screen?
(Published in DN)
How many of you out there logout your conscience when you log in online?
‘Those of us who hate Stina’ – this is the name of a group in Facebook. Stina is just one of the many adults and children in Sweden that are exposed daily to hidden bullying via our dear internet. Anti-bullying Site Friends has done a study that over 50% of bullying now takes place online, and that is set to increase. The Internet has become the new bully’s wet dream.
When did it go so horribly wrong in the communication society we live in? When did it became okay to hurt, humiliate and destroy another human being in the name of freedom of speech? Ironically, it is precisely that freedom is deprived of the victim in these electronic witch hunts. You can not hide from the words find you online, via SMS and MMS. Sure, you can log out and shut down for a while but they’ll be there again when you log in again, and the nightmare begins anew.
In one newspaper it was written that there is no direct difference between bullies live and online, but there is in fact a radical difference. I myself was bullied as a child and remember the unpleasant feeling of fear in my stomach when I got on the school bus, and the feeling of relief when I got off the bus on my way home at the end of the school day. That’s the difference: I could close the door to my bullies and find a respite. Those people who are exposed to online bullies today can’t do this, as the bullies follow them home via the computer.
So who is it that sits behind the screen making other people’s lives a living hell? My theory is that there are more people than we think – that there is a kind of simmering discontent in everyday life, which in turn creates a complete lack of empathy. How many ‘average Joes’ turn into fucking internet psychopaths when the courtesy-mask comes off as they enter their own homes? Behind a screen, everything is so easy, no one sees, no one hears, and you always have an internet-alias to hide behind. With this alias, nothing everything is possible. There is a disgusting if-you-don’t-see-it-then-it-doesn’t-exist mentality in Sweden.
But there is a light at the end of the cyber tunnel for those who are vulnerable. A relative of 13-year-old Stina has helped start up internet wanderers, a page where people can turn to when they get bullied online. The association ‘Friends’ supports those who are bullied and need help. Several well-known artists now also support Friends in the fight against cyber bullying.
The cases that have been highlighted in the media are but a small peak of a very large iceberg, and when cyber giants like Facebook repeatedly refuse to take responsibility for their uses, ordinary people must act. The little person who stands up against internet hate is the largest living hero in my book.
The biggest change that YOU out there can make by using your computer is to spread love instead of hate. You have a powerful tool you have in your hand and you have the power to alter or destroy the whole world with it.
I hope this could get someone out there to listen.
LOVE to you all… and NO to haters :)
ps. Stop bullying and support Friends HERE
pps. Håkan Hellström has done it… like Friends on Facebook HERE