A Fine Line: Criticism or Harassment on Social Media

We all know how much we all are dependent on Social Media and are active on some or the other platform. But as a user and a producer how careful we are is a question we all need to ask ourselves.

Social media is a platform where you can connect to the world. It’s a place where you can share glimpses of your life. So that when you are in your late 50s or 60s you can go back and cherish those memories. Pictures tell stories which you can share with your children and grandchildren like how their grandparents used to be, all this just a click away. It’s even a place via which you can stay connected to your friends who are at different places in the world. As a user social media provides you with many benefits. It gives you freedom to use your words in a way that it makes impact on others. A positive impact though. You can use your words to even criticize someone but again in a healthy way.

What we don’t understand is that it’s not a place to harass someone. It’s not a place to demean someone. It’s definitely not a place where you criticise someone to a point that they have to give up on their life. We as a user do not understand that just because we have the freedom of speech and expression that we can write anything and everything we want, we write things that harm someone’s mental health.

There is very fine line between Criticism and hate. Criticizing means to tell someone where they need to improve whereas hate (a very strong word) is putting someone down. You don’t have any idea what a person might be going through. Or how hard it is for them to share about their life on social media but they do just because they want too. And you as a user need to understand that we need to uplift each other. Spreading hate does not only harm the other person but you as well. Because that is how your mind starts to see and process things.

This is a story of a girl who was 15 years old. It was when she changed her school and went to a new school. She was a young girl who was confident, full of life and whose eyes were filled with dreams. It was her first day at school, she walked in her class with grace and confidence. What she didn’t know was the bad luck she had. When she walked in, she saw her old friends from her previous school. She was excited to see her, to reunite with her. As the day passed, she was been bullied by a boy who was apparently a son of politician. She fought with him with and stood up for herself. The boy backed off then, but his evil mind had other plans. As the girl walked out of the class the, the boy decided to switch her chair with a broken chair so that he could teach her a lesson. The girl was lucky enough to not fall down but did hurt herself.

Her old friends told her who swapped her chair. She went up to him and decided to confront. The boy accepted that it was him who did it and he was pretty happy do so. After all he thought he won. But the girl went to the principal and complained about him. Both of the girl’s and boy’s parents were called. He had to apologize to the girl infront of everyone. He wasn’t happy to do so and planned to take revenge from the girl on social media. He decided to message her on social media and harass her. He made a fake account and started sending her abrupt messages. He even asked his friends to do the same. He kept in troubling her for a very long time. One day the girl decided to tell her family about how she was being harassed. This was when her family decided to file a complaint against it. The school had to take action. Little did anyone know that it was the same boy from the previous incident who was harassing her. Actions were taken him and fake account was deleted. The boy’s family had to pay penalty but the damage to the girl was done. She was so taken aback that she went into depression. It took her 2 years to get her life back to normal.

So the next time when you go to any social media platform make sure that you send love or atleast positive criticism to others instead of sending them hate. This will not only make others happy but you will feel positive too. It will give you confidence to grow into a better person. It will also give you a better mindset. Spread love. We all are already going through a lot as an individual so at least on social media let’s be nice to others and not use our rights to demean, harass or troll someone.

Photo by: Senior Airman Kaylee Clark

~Mansi Athwani

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