If you watched CyberBully last week, you’ll understand the resulting shock waves that were sent across social media by this hard hitting thriller. This very topical drama played out the realities of online abuse, led by the brilliant Maisie Williams (Game Of Thrones’s Arya Stark).
You’ll probably be able to appreciate that this was hide-behind-your-hands viewing – chilling, uncomfortable and one that continues to affect you way beyond the credits rolling. During the ad breaks, you could almost hear the sound of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts being deleted.
The drama told a story of 17 year old Casey Jacobs, a normal teen whose social life revolves around texts, video calls and social media updates. However, the dark side of the internet met the dark side of humanity, as we saw her targeted by an advanced computer hacker slash cyber bully.
It was a heavy-handed message of online security and the reality that hackers have access to a wealth of rich and personal information, but also the dark and sinister world of trolls and cyber hate.
However, it was actually the underlying message that touched me the most: there is a potential cyber bully in each and every one of us. And don’t let us think for one minute that this is only a teenage problem – it’s omnipresent. We think we’re viewing innocent content, we think our comments aren’t really being noticed, we know that there’s always someone being harsher than us, but sometimes it’s just one bad word that makes all the difference.
How many times have you viewed a ‘fat girl falls over’ video on Facebook, YouTube or Twitter and shared it with your friends? How many times have you fuelled the ridicule of others? Do you follow The Lad Bible? The internet makes bullying funny, it has become popular culture.
This isn’t a message to stop people from posting freely on the internet, but it is an important point that we should all be conscious of. Channel 4 did an excellent job of amplifying the issue of cyber bullying amongst teens, but it’s more widespread than just teens. As it becomes more and more ingrained in our popular culture, are we becoming ignorant to its consequences? If we can recognise that each of us has the potential to be a cyberbully, then maybe, just maybe, we can prevent it getting out of control.
Something to think about.