by Tiffany Niko

Social media connects us, letting us share life’s moments and build communities. But it also opens doors for some to hide and hurt others. I’ve felt the sting of this myself, targeted by someone I’ve never met, using anonymity as a shield for unkindness. This isn’t the first time this has happened to me, usually happens during an election of some sort. This isn’t just my story; it’s a troubling trend that affects us all. Here, we dive into why hiding behind fake profiles to bully is harmful and what we can do about it.

Being hidden online is like wearing a mask. Some wear it to protect themselves, which can be good. But others use it to say hurtful things they wouldn’t dare say face-to-face. These fake accounts are made to cause pain without getting caught. Let’s explore why hiding online emboldens some to spread negativity and how this hurts everyone involved.
Hiding behind a screen, some feel brave enough to attack others, safe in the belief they won’t face consequences. This behavior shows fear more than strength, a fear of standing by one’s words.

I believe if you can’t say something openly, maybe it’s better left unsaid. The impact of these online attacks is real and can deeply affect adults and children alike. For children, the effects can be devastating, sometimes leading to tragic outcomes. It’s a simple rule we should all follow: think before you post.

Every mean comment can hurt someone more than we realize. It could be the tipping point in someone’s bad day or a deeper struggle. We must remind ourselves and others to pause and consider the impact of our words. Cyberbullying has far-reaching effects, spreading pain not just to the target but also within our communities, encouraging a cycle of negativity.

We need a united effort to tackle cyberbullying. Social media platforms should make it harder for bullies to hide, ensuring accountability. Education on digital respect and empathy is crucial. We all have a role to play in making online spaces safer. It starts with choosing kindness and standing up for those who are targeted.

To my local community and beyond, let’s commit to being guardians of our digital neighborhoods. Group administrators and all of us must act against online cruelty, blocking it from our spaces and reminding everyone to choose kindness over conflict. The election is coming and this is really important!

By sharing my story and the stories of many others affected by this issue, I hope to ignite a movement towards a more compassionate online world. Let’s dismantle the shields of anonymity that embolden bullies and build a digital environment where respect and empathy flourish. Together, we can transform social media into a space of support, understanding, and genuine connection.