Since the 2000s, our society has been moving towards a more technologically advanced world relying on our phones, tablets, computers and other devices for day to day activities. These advances have assisted us with mundane activities and have accelerated our growth in communication internationally.
With the growth in our use to technology, we've seen a transition from real life interactions to a dependence on online interactions. Social media has become an outlet for many to connect with individuals all around the world including friends, family and even strangers. It gives us an opportunity to learn and talk to each other from the convenience of our bedrooms or a way to pass time while we work.
On the flip side of our convenience, more individuals have used social media and being online as a method of being toxic on the internet. Many utilize the function of anonymity to hide and say or post anything they want to. This may range from simple insults to full on rage posts.
We've seen a trend in these posts getting worse over the years, even causing a concern to be brought up about cyberbullying and the effects it may have on our youth.
The issue with cyberbullying is the lack of consequence. Most people won't go through the trouble of trying to uncover who these anonymous users are while others may choose to ignore them entirely. Even when given the option of reporting these individuals, some will just consider it a waste of time and continue on with their day. What we're left with is a large population of toxic anonymous users online who are thriving and growing off of people being unable to punish them for their vicious words.
Even worse are the individuals who choose to post toxic posts on their social media passive aggressively. Many will argue that they're just words, you should be able to ignore them. Words are equally as damaging as physical attacks. What these individuals find is that posting online is a safety net. They are armored by the friends and followers they have online and know that their actions will not be seen as serious because it is online.
We need to challenge those who choose to post and spread toxicity online. It only takes a few minutes of your day to report toxic individuals online when you come across them. It only takes a few minutes of your day to approach those people in their messages and tell them that what they're posting isn't appropriate, especially if you know they wouldn't be able to say those same toxic words in person.
No, it's not our responsibility to filter and tell people how to post on their social media. But, you are capable of reducing the toxicity being put out into the internet every day through small actions. We are capable of talking to people we know about their toxic posts and trying to show them why it wasn't ok for them to do. By allowing others to post these negative and toxic posts, we are giving them support in their actions, and I'm not ok with that.