Sometimes I think the world would be a better place if the World Wide Web had never been invented. Yes, I see the irony; if the internet had never been invented I would never be able to post this article. But before you scream “are you CRAZY!?” hear me out. Think of all the people, mostly teenagers and young adults, who have been victims of cyber bullying, some of whom have been driven to depression or to even take their own lives. It could all be avoided if it were not for the Web and the safety net of anonymity it provides.
I’ve personally encountered people who will abuse and harass you anonymously without bothering to check if there’s any truth in the malicious rumors they’re spreading just because they’re jealous or bored and have nothing better to do or simply out of their minds – who knows? I’m really lucky in that I have friends who stick up for me and family who I know will stand by me no matter what; but I also know that a lot of people are not so lucky, and when these things happen to them they don’t have the support to help them get through it and end up going down a darker road.
When it happened to me, I initially wanted to hunt down the perpetrator and give the b***h a piece of my mind. But the anger did nothing to help with my peace of mind; it only made me more anxious and sick. It wasn’t until I calmed down and looked at the situation from a different angle that I realised the more I stress over it, the more the haters ‘win’. So I chose to stop caring or thinking about it, I concentrated on the good in my life and pushed the bad out of my mind (and tightened the security on all my social media sites too, of course). But most of all, I prayed.
I prayed for forgiveness, I prayed to give thanks and I prayed for those haters because don’t you feel sorry for those people on the net who have nothing better to do than abuse random strangers? Those bullies who get a kick out of knowing their words can hurt someone? Those players who feel powerful when they think they can control someone’s life from behind a screen? Those cowards who can even be bothered to make fake account after fake account to hide behind? They’re probably the ones who need help, they’re probably the ones who don’t have a loving circle of family and friends, and they’re probably the ones who need us to pray for them because no one else will.
I’m not perfect, I don’t pretend to be; I’ve done things in the past that I’m not proud of and some that I even regret. But I think when these kinds of things happen that are essentially beyond your control, you can either choose to lash back at the hater and fight fire with fire, or you can choose to pray and believe that this is all part of God’s greater plan, trust that He will make everything right and fight hate with love.
So, having chosen the latter, this article is my open letter of apology to anyone I have ever hurt and to anyone who feels like they have been hurt by me, whether intentionally or accidentally, directly or indirectly. Sincerely from the bottom of my heart:
No if’s, no but’s; just “I’m sorry”. I can’t undo the hurt but I’ll take any karma sent my way and serve my sentence, I’ll take the bitter pill if only for some closure.
I’m so glad the internet and social medias were not yet what they are now back in the 2000’s; I can’t imagine having to go through high school if they were. Puberty was difficult and awkward enough without having to constantly display your life and compete with your peers online. Back then you could escape playground bullying as soon as the final school bell rang, but now the bullying continues online and follows you wherever you go. How are students expected to concentrate on schoolwork when they’re worrying about what photos, updates and comments their friends are posting behind their virtual back every minute of the day? I’m seriously terrified to think about what kind of world my children will be born into.
Terrified enough to wish that Tim Berners-Lee had never invented the World Wide Web? Maybe.