Let’s Chat: Cyber Bullying/Harassment on Social Media

By Alexis Long

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What is it about social media that makes people want to harass and bully people? Is it the fact that they can hide behind their screen and not face any repercussions? For the person being bullied/harassed, is it really as simple as just ignoring it and getting off the website?

Cyber bulling isn’t a new thing.  “Then why are you talking about it, Alexis?” Because over the weekend, Allie Rose-Marie Leost, a female animator at EA, received tons of backlash over Mass Effect: Andromeda‘s flawed facial models.

It began with a post by gaming blogger Ethan Ralph (The Ralph Retort). Angry ME:A fans pointed fingers at Leost, alleging that she was the primary reason behind the flawed facial models in the game. Ralph, as well as many others, suggested that Leost earned her position by doing sexual favors, according to a Kotaku article.

Yeah, the facial models look kiiiind of bad, but can you really blame one particular person? Leost served as one of many facial animators. I understand that people will complain if something is done poorly (obviously), but even if she was the sole person who worked on every face in the entire game, this was signed off on by higher management.

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Although Loust was not physically hurt by the harassment, a lot of cyber bulling cases end in the loss of a life. At the end of spring break, many members of the La Marque community rallied at the high school’s Etheredge Stadium, hoping to raise awareness about the dangers of cyber bulling. Raul Vela, who helped plan the event, lost his 18-year-old daughter, Brandy, from an apparent suicide in November 2016. Shanda Lundy lost her 15-year-old daughter, Bailie, earlier this year. According to an article by KHOU’s Brandi Smith, “Senate Bill 179 and House Bill 306 are under consideration. Called ‘David’s Law,’ the bills would offer protection for cyberbullying victims and make cyberbullying a misdemeanor crime.”

I always hear people say, “Well, just get off the internet and ignore it.” One of the issues with cyber bullying is that it can start online, but lead into real life actions. A lot of situations does end up staying online. Some choose to ignore it and just move on, but others can be really fed up with it and decide to fight fire with fire, by choosing to meet with the person in real life. Of course, you can talk it through (after all, if the cyber bully is meeting you in person, they may not say too much since they don’t have their screen/anonymous persona to keep them protected), but you never really know what to expect. This could just make the situation worse.

Yeah, being on the internet does mean that we should develop a bit of a thick skin, but it is okay to be hurt sometimes. HelpGuide.org provides some pretty good tips like, “save the evidence of the cyberbullying, reporting threats of harm and inappropriate sexual messages to the police, preventing communication from the cyberbully by blocking their email address, cell phone number, and deleting them from social media contacts.”

Don’t be afraid to report the account. The harasser may be violating the website’s terms of service or, may even warrant criminal charges depending on your location.

“What if they create a new account?”

I say keep reporting every bullying incident until it stops. There is no reason for anyone to ever put up with cyberbullying.

References:

Gach, E. (2017, March 19). Scumbags Harass Woman for Working on Mass Effect: Andromeda’s Animations. Retrieved March 19, 2017, from https://www.kotaku.com.au/2017/03/scumbags-harass-woman-for-working-on-mass-effect-andromedas-animations/

Smith. B. (2017, March 18). Cyberbullying Victims’ Families Rally for Awareness, Legislative Changes. Retrieved March 19, 2017, from http://www.khou.com/news/local/cyberbullying-victims-families-rally-for-awareness-legislative-changes/423635373

Published by

UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism