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Sharon Callix
The abusive side of social media

THERE IS no question that social media and the internet have been amazing inventions allowing us to connect with the rest of the world.

This has made it possible for a lot of business owners to grow, for families and friends to communicate wherever they are in the world and for people to learn all sorts of things.

Though there are many good things about social media, attention must be paid to the darker side of the ever-growing network.

The first thing that we need to take into consideration is that the internet is basically a virtual version of the real world, which ultimately means you have good people and bad people in it.

The biggest problem with the internet is that it can even encourage the most introverted person to become abusive, commonly referred to as a ‘troll’.

For those not familiar with the term ‘troll’, it is the name given to people who like to instigate drama and debate for no other reason than to instigate drama. With that said, we can start to talk about certain things that should be considered problematic and how to stop them.

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Why are some people abusive on social media?
It seems like social media could be a little more personal than your regular internet forum as far as anonymity goes because most people use their real names. But the truth is that social media is also plagued with fake profiles and people who have profile photos that are not legitimate.

They create a fake name and take a photo from some stranger and they pretend to be this person.

The reason why they do this is because they want to be able to insult celebrities, athletes and all kinds of people in the media without suffering any repercussions. In the real world you will have to face the consequences of treating people badly, but online you can avoid this by using a fake name to register to a popular network like Facebook and Twitter. Everyone knows that this goes against all social media terms of service, but people break these rules because they do not fear any serious punishment from it.

Then you also have people who use their real names and don't care about being insulting and antagonistic to others because they feel safe behind their keyboards. They feel secure about not having to deal with anyone face to face and they are insulting and downright childish just because they feel they can get away with it. This is a terrible problem and there is definitely the need to get rid of it before it becomes too serious.

Why do they think they can get away with it?
Those who are abusive online simply feel that nothing will ever happen to them. They don't even consider online interaction to be real and this is why they believe that their actions are nothing but a way to kill time when they feel bored.

They are also aware of the fact that in most places around the world there is no legal prosecution against any kind of racial comment or hurtful way of talking to others. We have seen many cases of athletes being harassed online because they are of a different race or sexual orientation and things can get very ugly when it comes to the kind of terrible things that people can say to others. There is no question that people feel that they can get away with this mainly because they are right.

So far the internet laws have not become strong enough to make sure that no one is able to act this way without punishment. This is something that needs to be changed soon and many people are hoping for the internet to be regulated in order to stop this abuse.

Racism in tweets can be a legal problem now
The good news is that many countries around the world are taking racial abuse into serious consideration and many of them have started to invest more time in the creation of laws that regulate the kind of content that people can post on Twitter, Facebook and other networks. There are some cases of people being sued for their racist comments and this is definitely a step on the right direction.

There is no reason to allow for this kind of abuse to continue and all the big networks are encouraging users to start reporting abuse, spam and any kind of behavior that seems to be wrong. Twitter has started to take action with his and has banned the user accounts to start giving people proper warnings of how this will not be tolerated.

Who are these abusive people?
There are many reasons why people are racist and abusive online, but this generally means that they lack proper education and they have very unfulfilled lives in the real world. They see the internet as the place that they can use to vent their frustrations and they believe they can continue to get away with this for as long as they want to, but things are starting to change and more cases of people being sued for their actions online are starting to be noticed.

There are still many things that need to be taken care of as far as internet laws go. Thousands of people still believe that the internet should remain anonymous, but those people, in my opinion, are those who like to do things that are not correct. There is going to have to be a lot of regulation happening online because the virtual world has become an essential part of our lives and this makes it extremely important to find ways to make it better and safer for everyone.

Once this regulations begin, we will probably see a large number of trolls and internet abusers cease to exist. Once anonymity becomes a thing of the past online, we will see an increase in great material and a decrease is worthless abuse. It might take a while for this to happen, but eventually the internet will probably be an extension of real life and everyone who goes online will have to be properly identifiable as an individual. This is unavoidable if the internet is to become a better place instead of going to ruin because of people using it carelessly.

We invite you to raise awareness when it comes to encouraging people to stop internet abuse and to report all kinds of behavior that you find to be improper. This is an excellent way to make small changes that can turn into huge steps to create a safer and more productive environment online for everyone who visits the web. All we need is more people to actively denounce this behavior and thing will definitely start to change. The internet should always be a great place to do business and interact with others.

Sharon Callix
Award-winning Social Media Coach

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