Cyber violence at its extreme

It is deafening. It is sickening. It is exhausting.

Enough, people. Enough.

If I could only have in my hands a remote control for everything, I would definitely press hard that pause-reverse-play button just so I can get away from all these noises the society has been creating these days. It would definitely be a huge sigh of relief to go back to those days where Facebook were all just about photos of happy people adorned with their jeje selfies plus their jeje statuses which are at least less stressful to consider than to wake up everyday with all these nonsensical memes, angry rants, heated online debates and all the bashing from different people who are trying to wrestle their principles and ideologies against one another.

It is tiring, indeed. Reading these kind of posts makes me feel really bad for our country for having these kind of people who never get tired of throwing stones to each other instead of helping themselves to be productive citizens of this country. Everyday, as I open my Facebook account, I would always see posts against one candidate and as I scroll along through my feed, I would see another one against the other. Black propaganda are everywhere. Supporters of one candidate would spread fallacies against the other. In turn, the opposing party would hit back, thus fueling a more heated competition. One will post a status supporting one candidate and dramatically end it insulting the other. And when you open the comments section, voila, it was like entering gates of a battlefield: people cursing one another, calling each other names, wishing each other ill, and worse, some poke serious threats to others . Darn. Just thinking about these things makes me cringe. How could this country ever survive if in the first place, it is really its people who are pulling one another down? Seems like everyone needs to retake GMRC classes. Ethical guidelines and moral values are visibly scratched out from the picture every time people would vent ire over someone or something they see on the internet. People care less if it is true or not. By merely looking into headlines and not reading the whole score of a news or an issue, people comment right away. By merely watching a clip and not bothering to watch the whole video, people comment right away. By merely seeing a photo taken from a bad angle, people comment right away. By merely hearing an excerpt of a tasteless joke from someone’s statement, people comment right away. People always have that urge to judge right away without digging for the whole story. Are we on a race where the one who is able to give the fastest comment gets a prize? Most of our folks would tend to combine a strong opinion with a lack of knowledge. As I browse through the comments, I would find it infested with a handful of inflammatory and negative comments that they neutralize dozens of positive ones. This is the real picture here: people nowadays are really pro in transforming social media into a complete warzone, less the blood and gore. But hey, I know everyone would agree with me that if only every word people say is convertible to swords and spears, it could have been a bloody cyberworld out there. It could even end humanity, I guess. Yes, because everyone has always unsolicited say in EVERYTHING even if he has little knowledge about something or even if he really has no idea about it.

Let us have a trip down memory lane, people. Why is the internet created in the first place? Internet came into being because people needed it. All these years, it provided opportunities for people to connect with their loved ones who are miles away from them. It even gave hope to people who have long been waiting for their love to come. It let us post updates about our lives for our old acquaintances and friends to know that we are still here in this world alive and enjoying life. It made communications easier. It helped businessmen make their business known to a larger audience. See? Facebook really is something baked from heaven. But whatever happened to this world? Somewhere along the way, it transformed into a scary place.

Somewhere along the way, people became instant jury. Somewhere along the way, people became harsh critics and analysts. Somewhere along the way, people became fearless and careless about everything they post and comment on Facebook, Twitter, and even on Instagram. What bothered me more is the fact that even people who came from the same country, who have the same race, are also the ones who are fighting one another. And devastatingly, Filipinos are one of these people. Indeed, it is heart-breaking to see Filipinos fighting each other, wrestling over their conflicting views about religion, politics, etc. They doesn’t care anymore who’s hurting who.

Sure, this is a democratic country. We all have the freedom of speech. We all have the freedom of expression. But somewhere along the line, we must always consider to at least be ‘humane’ to the words that come out of our mouths. Yes, we can post about our thoughts to express our dismay about a candidate’s unacceptable rape joke. Yes, we can comment our opinion on a recent Pulse Asia survey which we believe is erroneous and invalid. Yes, we can make an undesirable slip-of-the-tongue statement of a presidentiable trend on Twitter overnight. Yes, it will take us no time to put a person to shame if we decide to. But it is really worth it?

One of the reasons why I choose not to post and share my views on Facebook about the upcoming elections is that I can see how my virtual friends get so sensitive when talking about politics. I can see how supporters of one candidate become violent when they read something against their bet. I can see how people on Facebook react and fight just to justify their opinions even if it’s already going out of the context. They have this unreasonably high sense of confidence in what they believe in that they do not really care anymore if they are already going beyond bounds. I have seen people cyberbullied just because he posted a status sharing his support for the presidential candidate he’s rooting for. Comments section of the post would contain statements like, “Ambobo nito, amp*ta! Nag-aral ka ba?”, “Ang tanga ng nagpost nito! Ano ka ngayon? Hintayin mo ang bashers mo! Papeymus ka kasi!”. Worst, some would not settle to cussing, they would even post personal attacks and even threats to the person. I have read a news about the rising number of reported cases of cyberbullying now that the elections is nearing. According to the news, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is alarmed by the number of election-related human rights violations happening online. Rights advocates said that they are not condoning these acts of violation underscoring that human rights online are the same as human rights offline, thus, they urge victims to come forward and report incidents as the CHR will tap law enforcement agencies to track violators. So netizens must really watch everything they say, as cyberbullying is a serious offense which entails six to 12 years of imprisonment, and a fine of P30,000 to P50,000, too. That amount is pretty serious so yeah, better be careful on dropping your attacks.

 

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