Today’s level of internet “trolling” is getting completely out of hand.
I guess maybe I’m getting too old to enjoy the social media accounts I’ve had for years because the abuse, harsh words, threats, and just general rudeness sucks the fun right out of catching up with posts from my friends.
Some of you readers might remember the name of the lady who has been the most recent victim of some pretty intense online bullying.
Jessica Davey-Quantik worked here in our newsroom for a little over a year, and in that time added a flamboyant, creative, strong, and motivated voice to our newsroom. Her thirst for travel and adventure has lead her literally around the world working in journalism now, she was stationed in Qatar for a while, and after returning to Queen’s University to upgrade her education, she’s currently working in Yellowknife, where she is working hard at making the community a home.
Recently, she’s gotten into burlesque and she’s found a community where she really excels. She’s found herself and it’s really lead to a great source of pride for her.
After a recent event and photo shoot, she put some photos from her burlesque on her instagram account and was immediately hit with backlash. She was hit with comments about anything from “kill yourself” to “slit your wrists” and many comments on her personal appearance.
Now, one thing I always admired about Jessica was her overwhelming sense of self knowledge. Not always self confidence, but she was always extremely aware of who she was and what she stands for. So, in typical Jessica fashion, she wasn’t letting the “trolls” win.
One youngster in particular was only 15, and sending her hate so bad that along with some of her friends, they found out his actual identity, and reached out and contacted his parents, and also the headmaster at his school.
It took a while, but she did get an apology from the youngster.
I applaud the effort she took into holding this guy accountable. If only everyone who received the hate online had the confidence and drive to call their trolls out.
So, if you’re being bullied online, remember this one thing: those trying to tear you down online are at some of the lowest points in their own life. People feel the need to try to belittle others because they want others to suffer on the same level that they often are.
So, while someone decides to say hateful and mean spirited things to you, remember that there are dozens more people out there ready to shower you with love and support.
The troll that attacked Jessica ended up living in England, but it’s not only a global problem, it’s something that we experience right here at home. Even on our local facebook groups, words are quickly thrown around that aren’t necessarily on the same level, but are still meant to cause harm.
The problem with free speech is that it gives people licence to be assholes. The beauty of free speech is that it gives people licence to be assholes.
I’m sure most of you reading this have seen the Disney classic,Bambi, in which one of the main character’s mother consistently had to remind him of a pretty good message which still rings true today —“If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”
Am I an angel when it comes to saying things I shouldn’t? Absolutely not. Do I bite my tongue when I see what is said online? Many, many times a day. Often times, the negativity has no purpose other than to be mean spirited, and it’s not an area where I choose to expel any extra energy.
There’s a lesson that they teach children, The Think Acronym, and I think a lot of us could use refresher courses in the message.
T-is it true?
H-is it helpful?
I- is it inspiring?
N- is it necessary?
K- is it kind?
So, before you sit behind your computer screen and prepare to make mean posts, maybe think about it, and realize that every mean spirited set of words has consequences. Jessica’s story is inspiring, she had the confidence to lash out and take on her internet trolls, but sadly in many cases, the victims on online abuse don’t. They internalize the words as true, and it can have dire tolls on them emotionally and physically as well.