In this day and age, technology is amazing. With the internet, you can look up the answer to anything or find out about anyone. You can trace your family tree, read the daily news, order your groceries or a new outfit for the weekend and now with smart phones, you can access the internet pretty much anywhere, anytime - the whole world is at your fingertips. I find it hard to believe that just ten years ago, I was chuffed to have a newer version of snake on my phone or the latest polyphonic ringtone. I can't imagine having a phone without the internet or endless applications now, even a camera. Technology has come a long way very quickly and will continue to do so, but sadly this means bullying and hate has too taken on a whole new form.
When I was in school, you of course had bullying and the internet became a more common phenomeon in households when I was around 15. However, looking back, it was still quite a naive and sheltered life compared to teenagers today. If you didn't find yourself on the receiving end of bullying then you probably went without seeing it, aside from a bit of graffiti scribbled on a wall or desk somewhere. (They were the only wall's people could write on then! Now you have facebook walls). You might have been able to scribble a nasty message on a bit of paper back then but now you can email, IM, text, tweet, the list is endless. I am of course not saying that bullying back then was any less traumatic, bullying in any shape or form should not be tolerated and is a horrible experience for anyone, the affects of which can last a lifetime. Today though, it seems more and more people are willing to jump on the nasty bandwagon and post bitchy, nasty comments on forums and networking sites. We don't seem to be able to say anything good about eachother.
I like to read newspaper websites daily most of which, allow you to comment on the article you are reading and it is shocking to read some of the nasty things people say. Most articles are of course about celebrities, in their bikini's or on the red carpet trying to be the epitome of perfection. An image which most people argue is unrealistic and damaging to young girls (and boys) who look up to them, yet comment after comment on these articles are nothing but negative, nasty statements.
Recently there was a picture of Reese Witherspoon on an article, looking lovely on holiday in her bikini; healthy, natural and relaxed so I was shocked to read all the negative comments that were being posted.
'let herself go a bit'
These were just a few comments of many that I read. I would kill for a bikini body like hers, or Kelly Brook's and yet I read lot's of awful comments from the public about her recent bikini pics too:
'she's getting on a bit now, a couple more years and her looks and figure will be gone and what will she do then?'
'she need's to work on her bum it's starting to sag'
'she looks really fat nowadays'
'her stupid smile annoys me'
All so horrible, as if we now expect the perfection from celebrities 24/7, that we see in the glossy magazines daily despite knowing they are all heavily airbrushed.
The worst type of internet nastiness though, has to be Trolling. Cowards who hide behind their computer screen trowling the internet on forums, social networking sites, groups or newspapers targeting innocent strangers with nasty, hate filled comments to get a reaction. This week it has been reported that both Kylie Minogue and Denise Welch have contacted the police after being bombarded with hate messages from trolls, one of which encouraged Denise to kill herself. Think of celebrities what you like, no one deserves to receive such nasty messages.
I used to be a member of several groups on Facebook but removed myself after finding the walls were just taken up with Trolls posting shocking comments trying to get a reaction. The worst kind of trolling is on rememberance groups, set up for those no longer here, usually taken through tragic circumstances. I cannot begin to comprehend what would make someone want to terrorise strangers with such callousness, let alone strangers who have suffered the loss of a loved one.
But what can be done about these trolls? Many who have been victims of trolling believe the cases should be treated as harrassment and therefore the police should be involved. Many people say take away the anonymity that you can hide behind online and that will significantly decrease the amount of Trolling that takes place. Maybe it will never be able to be policed, with technology progressing as fast as it is, there will always be those who are one step ahead and those who spoil this progress for others.
Such a shame.