A few weeks ago I watched a television-drama-type-thing called Cyberbully. This was the Cyberbully starring Maisie Williams, although I have seen the Cyberbully which was made a few years ago with Emily Osment. Anyway, watching the newer version of Cyberbully really changed my perspective on online negativity (and obviously I’d recommend watching the film, even if it’s just for Maisie Williams because she’s great.) I’m not ever mean to people online, or in real life really. I’m generally that person who tries to stay out of any and every argument and wants everyone to be happy all the time. I’m not really too controversial at all.
Something though which I never really thought too much about (maybe because I just don’t pay too much attention) was how taking part in online negativity you haven’t started can affect people. In the film, the character played by Maisie Williams posts a hateful comment on a video of a girl singing, and so after her comment more people comment horrible things, and share the video and just generally mock the girl. The film looks into how this affects the girl, the struggles she’s gone through, how important singing was to her. I know that I haven’t ever been outright horrible to someone on the internet, whether that be upfront or behind anon, although before watching this film I’d never thought about how sharing things online which make fun of people could be equally as harmful.
For example, I’m going to use Iggy Azalea (see even this is getting worryingly close to my general rule of not being controversial or causing arguments.) I can’t definitely say that I’ve never, I’ll use Tumblr as an example, reblogged a post which has made fun of someone else. In fact I probably have at some point in the 3 years i’ve had Tumblr, as lots of people have, whether that be a post making fun of a person who I don’t know and therefore don’t have to consider their feelings, or a celebrity who will probably never even see the post. I don’t know a lot of background on Iggy Azalea, just things I’ve read, I don’t know whether some of the negativity is slightly ‘justifiable’ and with reason, or whether she’s actually a lovely person. I don’t think anyone knows that if they don’t know her, whether there’s a lot of evidence online that someone’s been a horrible person in the past or not, you don’t know for certain unless you know them in real life. All I know for definite is that there are a lot of people who feel negatively towards her. I can’t say that I’ve never been tempted to share ‘funny’ posts which are actually at the expense of others, but after watching this film it sort of made me realise a lot of things.
It made me realise that no matter whether online ‘hate’ is towards a celebrity or a stranger, there’s a good chance they’ll see it and it can and probably will end up affecting them. It also made me realise that no matter how trivial or how much of a little joke hate is, it probably is really hurtful to the person it’s aimed at. And I think the biggest thing I’ve realised, is that sharing posts which seem small, insignificant, and just a bit of a joke, is almost as bad as being the person who makes them.