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“I can only imagine the level of insecurity and self hatred of the individual behind a keyboard typing hate filled messages to individuals they don’t know.” Jaz

The world of social media. The place where you can post pictures of your new baby. Launch a new business. Find a plumber or a 5 star restaurant. The place where you can now stream your favorite tv shows and movies or watch your favorite YouTube sensation (talkingallthatjaz https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSYnij1EIkgwbNSmb-cgfDQ ). The place where one viral video can change the trajectory of ones life. The place where you can bring justice to a situation where police refuse to help. You see where I’m going. Social media can be an amazing place when used for good.

Social Media is also the place that has given bullies a platform to degrade, demean, harass, stalk, and a heightened sense of entitlement. Entitlement to publicly judge and harass people they don’t know. I wanted to see just how bad this was so I spent literally 10 minutes on Twitter and Instagram of individuals I currently follow, from super famous to Insta-famous and here are some of the messages I found.

This photo was on a young lady’s twitter account in response to a picture she posted of herself. These messages were mild in comparison to those telling her that she should die or kill herself.

In this message what “that” is referring to a woman.

This message was referring to a black woman’s caucasian spouse.

This is the dark side of social media.

During my daughter’s senior year of high school, I can remember her showing me an Instagram page dedicated to “exposing” girls, and by exposing I mean young boys who had captured videos and pictures of girls (some aware and some not) performing sexual acts. There were several pages, most titled “Hoes of (insert city). I was flabbergasted and I reported everyone I found! Now before you judge the behavior and lack of parenting, let’s focus on this topic and this issue. I saw first hand how the extreme bullying on these pages ruined lives.

I grew up in the generation of no social media. In the day even before dial up internet and floppy disk. Who remembers the sound of the internet loading?

(For added effect)

Or the day of using a typewriter and whiteout to craft anonymous letters. Bullying when I was growing up existed, but it looked different. I was a victim of bullying, from elementary to high school to corporate america in my adult life. I had my lunch taken and I was called names and teased about everything during my childhood. At that time I didn’t understand why I was a target and it broke me, but I didn’t see it posted everywhere. I was fortunate, the bullying stopped when I left school. There was no way to post online. I’ve also been bullied in the workplace by those in authority who took advantage of my need for a paycheck.

“It takes an unimaginable amount of strength to endure bullying and not everyone is strong enough to overcome.” Jaz

The rate of people harming themselves and others because of bullies is alarming! Children and adults. A few incidents include a 17 y/o teen from Houston, Texas who shot and killed herself because of internet bullies. A 12 y/o girl from Florida who hung herself also a result of cyber bullying. These are just two of several incidents that have occurred in the last 12 months and the number grows ever year.

What can you do to help?

• Report bullying behavior if you see it! Don’t ignore it because it isn’t “your business“. Now I’m not saying you have to dedicate hours to scouring the internet looking for cyber bullies, but if you see it, do something about it.

• Be mindful of your words. You can express your thoughts and opinions without being hurtful. You can also KEEP SCROLLING and say nothing.

• Remember that celebrities are human. Just because these individuals have chosen careers that make them public figures doesn’t give you the green light to harass and bully them.

(Photo Cred: Google)

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Until next time…💛

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