OKAY THE AUTHOR WON’T SUGAR COAT THIS;
The anonymity and misunderstanding of the web has given the scope for people to go for online harassment without the fear of consequences.
The web can be a wonderful place, and is mostly, but it is a whole universe in itself and highly misunderstood by law enforcement and by basic citizens.
This has led for “trolls” to go and harass people online, often making people fear for their lives just because they can.
Cyber harassment refers to online harassment. Cyber harassment or bullying is the use of email, instant messaging, and derogatory websites to bully or otherwise harass an individual or group through personal attacks.
These people will often get away because people don’t understand the web, simply underestimate it, or simply don’t care enough to understand severity.
These are a few horrifying instances of online harassment (these are all high profiled, there are many non-covered instances of day to day harassment) :
Biranna Wu, a game developer and computer programmer was harassed with rape and death threats with her address published online, after she criticized the controversial gamergate movement online. She was forced to flee her house. She also received many images of tortured and mutilated dogs after the death of her own dog.
Journalist Sagnika Ghose was threatened with rape by twitter users after she posted her personal views on twitter. People published her daughter’s name and school online as part of the threats.
Blogger and software developer Kathy Sierra was harassed by a group of anonymous individuals, who had threatened her of rape and strangulation, posted her address and social security number online. She shut down her blog writing “I will never feel the same. I will never be the same.”
Anita Sarkeesian was harassed with rape and death threats along with a video game of smashing her face being created online. Her Wikipedia page was vandalized with racial slurs and sexual images.
Online harassment just doesn’t happen to journalists and bloggers, high school kids have been victims too
The Author while researching this topic found that online sexual harassment largely targets women. The author being a woman, is pretty scared. Of course online harassment affects men as well.
These people aren’t just targeted due to having an opinion they don’t agree with, they are targeted because of their success and even their identity. This isn’t a small thing.
Many people fail to see people on the internet as actual living people, which leads to threatening much easier, and scarier.
An often reply to online harassment is that to just turn off the computer and wait for it to go away. That isn’t practical. We all need the internet. Many of our jobs depend on the internet, and if the trolls get what they want, they get worse.
Though countries are starting to improve their cyber security cells, it still is a major problem. Good news is that Social networking sites are working on making reporting harassment easier. Problem is that treating it by monitoring the web constantly is a risky proposition, reason why we need to understand it.
The internet isn’t supposed to be a pit of threats, it can be a safe place where people can have healthy discussions and grow as people. To curb the threats people need to understand the internet.
It isn’t a small thing that can be avoided, the author bets people reading this wouldn’t like being harassed so simply. Hence they shouldn’t treat it lightly. Read a more detailed study at http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/10/22/online-harassment/
Here’s SciShow’s video about the psychology of trolling
If you are facing serious threats or harassment you should do the following things
*keep a copy of the harassment message/ site/ post
*contact the site if they have a harassment hotline
*contact the police
See more at:
Here is a previous submitted story about a girl’s first experience of online harassment