Online Harassment: A Canker That Needs to be Eradicated….

The digitization of the global community has broadened the communication scope. Social media is the new trend which the youth and older generation all patronize. There are numerous social media platforms available for use once you have a device and stable internet connection. Social media use has been on the steady rise and more people are expected to join in over the next few years.

I’ve used Facebook since 2012, WhatsApp since 2013 and Instagram since 2015. Yep! I’m a seasoned social media user. Over the years, people have used social media for various things. One thing I’ve observed is an appalling trend and it’s the use of social media to abuse and harass people. Many individuals sit behind their devices and spew all sorts of unsavory comments. Social media needs to be well monitored to ensure abuse is reduced drastically. Cyberbullying is a problem many people face on the daily basis. The statistics on cyberbullying reveal alarming facts about virtual harassment, its impact and the various forms it can take. In the year 2020, social media is the main news outlet. Cyberbullying has steadily risen and the statistics are really scary. Here are some of the statistics connected with cyberbullying.

68% of children that have experienced online harassment have also experienced mental health issues. (Source: cyberbullying.org)

Yep! More than half of the children that fall victim to cyberbullying go on to suffer from mental health issues like anxiety, depression and stress among others.

Cyberbullying victims are 1.9 times more likely to commit suicide

Online abuse can push a victim to the brink and that can lead to suicide.

A large number of people suffer from racial abuse

Yep! Every single day people of “colour” suffer from abuse online. Racial abuse is rampant on social media and advocates fear that if left unchecked, the situation will get out of hand. The racial abuse suffered mainly by Africans and African-Americans, led to a familiar sight in world football with players in the EPL taking the knee every week to voice their support for the #BlackLivesMatter movement. A familiar sight that sends a strong message that there is no place for any form of racial discrimination in our society.

In Ghana, the most common forms of online harassment include; trolling, catfishing, cyberstalking, online impersonation and revenge porn. On a daily basis, people are abused online and in most cases these people have no one to talk to. As a country and to a larger extent members of a global community, we need to come together and fight this menace. Condemnation and reporting abuse will ensure that perpetrators of such acts are punished. We need to create a safe haven for all social media users regardless of race, faith, age, sexuality and political affiliation among others.

We need to make social media safe for the next generation. Let’s all fight online abuse and make social media safe for everyone. Let’s all fight online abuse and make social media safe for everyone.

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