2019 might be the year cyberbulling becomes a serious conversation in our lands. After the issue concerning the Masiyiwa’s and the removal of their Twitter accounts, it seems other influential figures have joined the conversation and this time MDC-T Vice President Gutu took to his own Twitter and commented on cyberbullying and how he reacts to it:
Cyber-bullying is real. I have been a victim of weird, vulgar, hateful & hurtful cyber attacks on social media but since my skin is as thick as an elephant's, I have taken it in my stride.I have also used vitriol to respond to cyber bullies.
This year,I will be a nice guy.
— Obert Gutu (@GutuObert) January 2, 2019
Basically water off a duck’s back I guess…
Recent incidents of cyberbullying in Zim
One of the biggest problems with social media platforms is people can go viral very quick and it’s this fame that usually drives people to act without thinking through their actions thoroughly. Behind all the jokes and social media flexing, there are real people and this is what people seem to forget when they cross lines on social media. A study done in the UK last year showed that not everyone is as tough as Obert Gutu and especially children are likelier to end up harming themselves if they are subjected to cyberbullying. Though it doesn’t seem like there have been such high-profile incidents involving children in Zim, it’s only a matter of time if things continue going unchecked.
Locally there have also been a few high profile cases that can be interpreted as cyberbullying …
Priscila Chigumba’s court issue
I can’t wait for the election fiasco to come to an end. I could do with a holiday and some good sex. My body needs a break.
I’m pretty sure Shadaya’s retweet was made in the name of fun but the line between having fun and affecting the next person can get pretty blurry really quickly and once you’re affecting someone there’s a problem. I know there are some who champion freedom of speech at all costs but once you’re messing with someone’s psych I think there’s a problem….
George Charamba’s ordeal
Last year the President’s spokesperson George Charamba seemed to have been forced to leave Twitter after being on the receiving end of some heavy abuse. I say seemed because Charamba later went on to denounce the Twitter account with all his might so it’s not clear if he was on the platform or it was just an impostor. But if the extent of the abuse was so great that even an impostor could not handle it, there’s a clear sign of how toxic online interactions can get.
“Prevention is better than cure”
It seems this year might be the year that the cyberbullying conversation takes a serious twist and that’s a welcome thing. I would rather have the conversation being spearheaded by celebrities and what some may label as celebrity tantrums rather than have something more serious like death being the ignition of the cyberbullying debate…