Carrie Rentschler wrote an article titled "Online abuse: We need Good Samaritans on the web" talking about the issue of "online violence". Personally, I believe using "violence" in this sense is a misuse of the word. I think better words to describe the internet issues discussed in this article would be harassment and bullying. There are other words as well that can be used, but the word violence is just not working for me.
Now, after getting that out of the way, the article does bring up good points within it. Maybe people are well aware of the harassment and bullying that goes on throughout online activities, but maybe people are not aware of it. The important thing is to realize that it is a problem and that people do deal with it. Just like bullying in school. Except not like bullying in school because cyberbullying and harassment online can be shared with hundreds and millions of people within an instant, and it does not disappear. Ever. Victims of this sort of harassment and cyberbullying have to live and deal with these actions their entire lives. That is a long time.
So what? If we are not the ones getting bullied or harassed, why does it matter to us? It's funny to see embarrassing photos, crazy posts, follow arguments and see who has the better insults online, right? Sure. But there comes a point where enough is enough and some people realize before others when that point has been crossed. When that happens, SPEAK UP. Carrie speaks about the important role that a bystander can play in the lives of victims or even the perpetrator. A bystander is very important, and can even save a victim by standing up and speaking out about the issue at hand. Also, bystanders can be there as support and help support people through emotional hurt that has occurred and is still occurring due to online harassment and bullying.
The concern of cyberbullying and online harassment will never disappear. Some people will always feel some sort of sick contentness through hurting, embarrassing, and ruining people's live because that is how the world is. But that does not mean that we will always have to just sit and watch it happen. No, Carrie challenges us to hold these perpetrators accountable for what they do and to stand up against them. She quotes Jacque Wernimont who said, “There is no technological fix to online violence. The problems are social and so are the solutions.” and expands by saying how building a community that makes people accountable and holds them up to these ideals is necessary and everyone needs to participate. Jacque is right, both the problem and the solutions are social, that means it is solely up to us to make a change if we want to see it.
So next time something is taken overboard, if people are harassing someone online, or unnecessary comments are being made, SAY SOMETHING. Call them out. And call out the other bystanders and ask for support. One person may not make a difference in stopping online bullying, but it is one step closer.