TURNING VIOLENCE INTO SOMETHING POSITIVE
By: Marcelle Naidoo
The internet is a useful tool in modern society but when used negatively, the effects can be life threatening.
We have become so dependent on the internet whether it is for research or entertainment. Everything we need is simply a ‘click’ away. It provides us with useful facts and statistics which are helpful in our everyday lives, but what happens when this platform is abused?
The internet has become accessible to people of all ages but the most common users are teenagers. As we know in high school, everything is a popularity contest and if you aren’t part of the ‘in’ crowd then you are referred to as a loser. In most cases the popular kids make fun of the less popular kids in order to maintain their position at the top of the popularity ladder. This, however, can get out of hand.
Lizzie Velasquez, who was born with a rare condition that prevents her from gaining weight was directly targeted by a video posted on YouTube said, “People were giving me tips on how to kill myself.” Degrading images, hurtful statuses, and violent videos are all being posted on various social media platform. Some are intended as jokes, others are posted based on sheer nastiness while the victims sit behind their computer screens alone and hurt. Abuse occurs on a continual basis for most teens and many of them have become numb to this. They have found ways to cope such as blocking the perpetrators and keeping away from social media but there are a select few who have turned to suicide and self-harm. The warning signs for victims of cyber bullying include:
- Lack of interest in social activities
- Appearing upset after being on a computer or cell phone
- Unusual moodiness, depression and anxiety
Lizzie Velasquez turned her negative experience around and has become a motivational speaker, helping others deal with similar issues.