Hidden Agendas, Visible Pain: The Reality of Online Harassment
Once, my friend confided in me that she was receiving texts from an unknown number, and the person threatened her, claiming to have her pictures. Whenever she would call the unknown number, it was never answered.
After blocking the number, the person would text from a new number. In reality, the unknown person didn’t have any pictures. How could pictures appear when someone hasn’t sent them to anyone? After a thorough investigation, it turned out that the unknown person was someone known. He had been bothering the girl, unaware of the consequences, merely to pass the time
Online harassment refers to any form of threatening or offensive behavior towards an individual through digital platforms, especially messaging apps and emails. Forms of online harassment include sending threatening messages, spreading rumors and false information, making disparaging comments, and more. Additionally, some people send nasty emojis and GIFs, which can also be used to threaten others.
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Why do people engage in online harassment? There are many reasons, such as targeting a disliked person, seeking personal benefits, intimidation, attention-seeking, revenge, or even for malicious entertainment. Among the younger generation, harassment for the sake of seeking attention or entertainment is particularly common.
Online harassment is not limited to any specific gender, age, or background. Anyone can be a target. However, it most often affects women and public figures. Nowadays, as everyone uses social media and forms online connections, people tend to share everything, during times of emotional distress.
Later, during conflicts, online friends may adopt an antagonistic stance and resort to harassment using anonymous identities. In addition, public figures may engage in online harassment to stifle opposing voices, censor opinions, or gain a competitive advantage by diverting attention.
Being in the category of “Ashraful Makhlooqat,” should we behave like an animal whose decisions are solely based on emotion? Why not clear all the matters through discussion while facing each other?
Due to its offensive nature, online harassment can lead to immeasurable stress, depression, anxiety, alienation, and, in extreme cases, self-harm. Furthermore, online harassment can impact physical health, resulting in issues such as headaches, insomnia, and gastrointestinal problems. Apart from affecting mental and physical health, it can erode confidence and damage one’s professional reputation.
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Considering the negative impact of online harassment, raising awareness is crucial. It is socially, morally, and ethically unacceptable. If someone has an issue with another person or wishes to communicate, they should address the matter directly and have a face-to-face discussion, rather than resorting to threats while concealing their identity.
Often, girls conceal their experiences due to fear, which can lead to dire consequences. Therefore, in such cases, girls should confide in a trustworthy individual and discuss the unfair treatment they’ve faced. But the most important thing is that one should not share personal materials with strangers because online friends can switch to their strange mood at any time.