By Beardy Ed 

Photo credits: Memepesa 

I can tell you either laughed, giggled, chuckled, smiled or whatever the heck you do when amused. There is a lot of ‘teasing’ on social media most of which revolves around the physical appearance of ladies. Foreheads, flat bottoms, skinny frames, not-so-blessed busts and the list goes on. Notably, this is not only restricted to ladies but some gents also face the same treatment 

(I feel you light skinned men). 

What can be considered to be just harmless joking and where does the line lie? Are we going  overboard and leaning more towards cyber bullying? This is an emerging issue in today’s society. UNICEF defines cyber bullying as bullying with the use of technologies. It can take place on social media platforms, gaming platforms and mobile phone messaging apps. It is  repeated behavior aimed at scaring, angering or shaming those who are targeted. 

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Tweeps can actually attest to the occurrence of this phenomenon daily on the bird app (Twitter for the lesser). Not a day goes by without the use of harsh and hurtful words towards other app  users by unapologetic bullies. KOT is a proud lot of gossips, keyboard warriors and clueless individuals all who have a single mission; to expose and make fun of others for clout.  

I was recently treated to a horror show in one of the WhatsApp groups I am part of. A young  fellow decided to celebrate a man he considers to be one of his heroes and role models. Mind you this was on Facebook. The man being celebrated is considered to be a fraud by the rest of  the group members who has spent years in law school. The agents of doom never sleep a wink. 

A screenshot guru shared the post in question and all hell broke loose. The fellow was accorded  a front seat during his roasting session. Almost everyone delivered a sucker punch lowering the  fellow’s esteem. It still baffles me how he never left the group. 

Photo credits: Techweez 

How many times have we subjected others to such unwarranted treatment? Psychology tries to  explain the core reasons behind this uncouth behavior. Jealousy, obsession and a lack of  empathy tend to lead social media users down this dark path once in a while. Take a scenario  where a not-so-handsome sixteen-year-old boy comes out as gay online or a skinny nineteen year-old girl posts a photo of herself clad in a skimpy crochet top. What would your first reaction be? Jealousy at their brazen and maybe misguided confidence would burn through you. It is human to have negative emotions towards others but how we manage and let out these  emotions showcases our humanity. Frustration and underlying feelings of failure can also fuel bullying. Nerds and model students get the short end of the stick on this one. I can go on and on with a million examples but I hope you get what I am driving at. 

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We may want to join in on the ‘fun’ with the bullying pack since everyone is doing it why not  me. Cyberbullying tends to occur on a one-on-one basis but the more common way is in form of pack bullying. Stars like Mulamwah and Jimmy Gait have had very rough journeys due to  pack bullies. Some of us may have been part and parcel of such marauding bands. 

It would do us no harm to restrain from crossing the line when joking with friends or keep off  making smart, sarcastic or rude remarks towards strangers online. Kindness cost nothing. I get  it that we all have our own issues. Offloading the anger and pain on others only gives a  temporary high. Give appreciation where it is due. Making others smile actually gives a sense of fulfillment. Remember that one time you gave someone a tiny gift and they got really excited? Does it even compare to the evil satisfaction you get when someone cries because of an insult? Always remember the golden rule: Do unto others what you would want them to do  unto you. 

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In conclusion, for the cyber bullying victims, seek out a therapist to try and heal from the trauma.  It would also be great to remember that some evil guys just spend their time hating on others  because they consider themselves to be failures. It has nothing to do with you most of the time.  Keep on being you and doing what you do best.  

Surely good deeds will erase bad deeds – Al Quran 11:114


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