Opinion: Why cyberbullying shouldn’t be tolerated

March 1, 2014 Opinion
love and hate

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from the one person that keeps making fake social media profiles to direct nasty comments about me and even more recently at my boyfriend, it’s that sometimes it doesn’t take very much (if anything at all) for people not to like you.

Charlotte Dawson, a much adored model and TV personality, recently passed and there have been allegations that her suicide was the tragic outcome of depression and exacerbated by a flurry of online abuse via social media.

This incident has since placed Australia’s cyberbullying laws (or lack thereof) in the spotlight, and a petition was launched by a friend of the late Charlotte Dawson and has already received almost 200,000 signatures lobbying for the Australian Government to introduce cyberbullying laws.

The internet is a powerful realm but like a gun, if fallen into the wrong hands, can potentially be used to do more harm than good. The internet has transgressed many barriers including cruelty and animosity. There really is no difference between cyberbullying and offline bullying, especially when both affect its victims in the same way.

Voicing your opinion is one thing, but when it comes to directing your vitriolic musings from behind a pretty screen, it’s pretty sad. It’s mindboggling that this sort of behaviour isn’t tolerated in real life, but when you’re a faceless, nameless identity on the internet then the same social constraints don’t apply.

This is the hideous behaviour that trolls exude across cyberspace armed with a keyboard, hiding behind a screen. I have enough faith in humanity to believe that almost all cyberbullies have that more human side to them, and that there just needs to be some amendments to Australia’s laws against cyberbullying to reiterate the fact that bullying in no way, shape or form should ever be tolerated.

Although the petition that would edge us closer to ending cyberbullying has now closed, I think it’s worthwhile for everybody to support any future anti-cyberbullying movements when possible. Tormenting and trolling as the laws allow it today cannot go on unpunished.

It shouldn’t take the loss of more lives of many of these silent sufferers to make us open our eyes. Life is pretty tough as it is, so entertaining yourselves and other trolls at another human being’s misery is absolutely ridiculous.

Much love,

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1 Comment

  • Reply Krista Schwabe March 15, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Hi Leann!! I think you’ve written such an important post (I didn’t realize you were an Aussie!! now I have 2 Aussie friends :)

    Anyone who would bully another, esp anonymously is weak and pathetic. And to continue to do so is harrassment and cyberstalking. I mean, really, no life much?

    I have no problem to real constructive criticism–that’s how we learn, we grow, we better ourselves. But just being hateful? There is no place for trolls on this planet.

    Keep your chin up, keep that gorgeous smile, your heart is worth more than their garbage. I’m older, a parent of 2, with a daughter in college. When I see ppl acting like snotty little toddlers, you kind of wonder if they were raised in a barn!

    It also makes me angry–I volunteer for pediatric cancer research (just raised money and shaved my head!). I see these wee kids suffering, just read about a 5yo boy who died (4 kids will die every day from cancer). Why should those innocent babes have cancer instead of the nasty people? Yep that’s right trolls–I just wished cancer on you. I do not tolerate bullies and I certainly do not tolerate anyone who bullies my friend.

    And Leann is most certainly my friend.

    Go crawl back in your fetid little caves. Karma is most certainly real, and you will get your share :)

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