With 86% of people using social media at least once per day, toxicity has gone digital. Cyberbullying, shaming, and other forms of toxicity are on the rise and that trend looks like it will continue to climb.
The consequences of cyberbullying are turning deadly, making the problem all the more worrisome. Modern cyberbullying has gone beyond the schoolyard taunts of previous generations. It has begun to claim lives.
Conclusive research has shown that people who have experienced cyberbullying are twice as likely to attempt suicide. This staggering fact needs to force us to reexamine the way we deal with cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying Victims Are Paying The Ultimate Price
Bullying has unfortunately evolved into the digital age. With people’s entire social lives taking place online, the effects of cyberbullying can be devastating.
Just last month, for example, reality star and wrestler Hana Kimura took her own life after being repeatedly victimized in cyberbullying attacks. She was only 22 years old.
In one of her final heartbreaking social media posts, Kimura brought up her cyberbullying. “Nearly 100 opinions every day. I couldn’t deny that I was hurt… I don’t want to be alive anymore. Bye.”
It doesn’t have to be celebrities, either. Another heartbreaking case is the story of David Molak, a sophomore, Eagle Scout, and fitness enthusiast from San Antonio. Molak was spending an evening with his brother when a group of unknown numbers added him into a group chat and began verbally abusing him about his appearance.
His brother, Cliff Molak, vividly recalls that night. “My first response to him was ‘These kids suck, that’s really the best insult they can come up with?’ but I didn’t get the response I wanted. I thought he would laugh but he just stared off into the distance and you could see his pain. He just felt that people hated him.”
David was found dead by suicide in the backyard the next day.
It Doesn’t Matter Who You Are
Cyberbullying affects people of all ages and backgrounds. When addressing cyberbullying, many people imagine school kids or lonely teens – and while these are certainly populations at risk, it’s critical to remember that cyberbullying can affect anyone.
Especially at risk are athletes, actors, musicians, celebrities, and social media personalities who are all subjected to the whims of their followers and can be easily victimized as a result. It can be especially hard for people in the spotlight since their everyday lives are under constant scrutiny, and they are often faced by an anonymous barrage of damaging bullying.
The Role Of Online Platforms
As we saw, social media plays a big role in cyberbullying. People are able to reach anyone they want and this gives predators nearly unrestricted access to their victims.
But there’s another role that social media might be able to play. Just like the case of Hana Kimura, many people take to social media to post a suicide note or to say goodbye to their loved ones. With the proper protection algorithms in place, social media platforms might be able to alert authorities about someone on the brink of drastic forms of self-harm.
The L1ght At The End Of The Tunnel
We must use the tragedies caused by cyberbullying as a wakeup call. We can’t let it all have been for nothing.
This is what L1ght is passionate about. Ensuring a safe online environment for everyone so that future generations get to experience the wonders of online interconnectedness without the dangers of toxicity.
Whether it’s social media platforms, messaging and games, hosting platforms, or ISPs, L1ght’s technology can put a stop to online toxicity for good.Interested? Reach out to hear more.