There was a time when people used to write fan letters to their favorite celebrities. Some of them might still do it, but in this era of technology and social networking, sites like Instagram and Twitter serves as communication bridge between fans and artists. While some people use them to appreciate and admire their favorite celebrity, sending them love and showing support virtually, some of them misuse this opportunity to bully these celebrities. Leaving negative and hate comments under their posts is common on their social media profiles.

Cyber bullying is type of bullying that takes place over electronic devices such as mobile phones and computers via text messages, online posts and comments. We often see it in movies about high school students, where personal videos or pictures of one person are being shared around the campus resulting in embarrassment and humiliation of that student.  Unfortunately, such toxic behavior exists in the real world as well. According to the Digital Rights Foundation (DRF), based on the statistics collected via their Cyber Harassment Helpline, Punjab accounts for the bulk of the cases concerning cyber-bullying in Pakistan. A total of 535 calls were made and out of those, 62% of the calls were made by women.

Recently, on world children’s day (20th November), the fifteen years old Stranger Things actress and UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassador Millie Bobbie Brown talked about how she has been the victim of online bullying as well. “It’s a terrifying feeling to look at your phone and see that the messages that people are sending you are filled with anger, hate and even threats” she said. However with the help of her supportive friends and family, she overcame these hurdles. We also have an example of Greta Thunberg, the sixteen years old climate activist who appealed to the Swedish Government to take climate change seriously. Her determinism and courage has influenced many others and people support her for her cause, however she is no stranger to internet bullying. Politicians, who do not believe in climate change, mocked her for her cause, compared her to Nazis and was called “mentally ill” as she has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome.

People are body-shamed, criticized for whatever they post on the other hand, while others are unfortunate enough to have their personal information and pictures being leaked on the internet. Such situations are hard to face as they tear down one’s reputation. The power that one feels over the others, as they try to take control over the lives of the people they bully is the reason they continue with such awful behavior. The sad part about cyber-bullying is that whatever happens over the internet happens fast, which means a rumor or a post could get famous within a time span of 24 hours, it stays there forever, and in some cases parents are unaware of the fact that what their child Is going through online. Therefore it is important to spread awareness about cyber bullying and people who take advantage of others should be banned from using such sites. There are laws against cyber-bullying, however the government should make sure that they are implemented and people get justice.

No matter what people say, just remember, they hide behind screens to hurt you, you are stronger than them and what they say does not matter.

Written By: Izza Raza

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