DhakaTribune
Saturday January 20, 2018 05:24 AM

Words hurt, even if it’s just online

Words hurt, even if it’s just online

Whether it’s face to face or over a screen, let’s be civil to one another

Grameenphone’s new advertisement clearly depicts how social media has helped unite the whole world. However, at the same time, its misuse is threatening users, especially minors. Representing the scenes in a symbolic way, Little Big Films presents a glimpse into the painful yet often invisible world of cyberbullying in this campaign for Grameen Phone.

The expansion of the use of internet has brought multiple opportunities to the youth, making access to educational content much easier than it was even 10 years ago. Of course, what attracts people most, is none other than social media. Nowadays, it’s almost impossible to find any adolescent without a Facebook or a Twitter or an Instagram account. And, because of this, safety has become a major concern these days, especially for youngsters.

Cyberbullying is a grave matter all over the world, even so in Bangladesh where 47% of the nation’s growing online culture has faced some form of cyber bullying or the other. In order to address this issue, Little Big Films has created an anti-cyberbullying campaign for Grameen Phone – the largest mobile operator in Bangladesh.

Often online forms of violence are not considered consequential or problematic, leaving many anti-cyberbullying messages to be ineffective. This campaign addresses this issue by drawing shocking parallels between cyberbullying and physical torture. The graphic depiction of online violence in such a way instantly draws attention to the issue, while also establishing a coherent message – cyber violence is just as real as any other kind viciousness.

A recent study revealed that 49% of school-goers in Bangladesh have faced cyberbullying. And, what’s more surprising is that the youth these days, is more inclined to visit unsuitable sites, use slangs and harsh language on the internet, or succumb to the peer pressure that socialising demands.

Hence, cyberbullying is turning into a major concern for guardians these days. Opening fake accounts and hiding behind the veil of anonymity enables these harassers to escape from punishment. When asked about their ability to resolve these negative experiences, 60% students stated that they felt capable of resolving such issues, whether alone or by consulting parents or teachers. It’s more probable that social norms help protect children from straying too far on the web. Most students expressed that they keep away from sites with explicit contents, those which promote drugs, weapons, self-harm and hate.

It is imperative for guardians to address this issue, and ensure that their kids feel comfortable enough to seek assistance from their parents, if they confront any kind of inappropriate behaviour, online. Grameenphone’s campaign is the first step to combating this issue. Further collaborations with Bangladesh’s national ITC division are underway to take this campaign forward and create a hotline to address cyberbullying.

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