This article has been written by Leah Paxton.
How many times have you been at a concert and spent more time filming it, than actually listening to the music and enjoying the moment? Or too busy scrolling through Facebook instead of really listening to the person talking to you? We live in a world where our online presence is often more important than living in the moment. Yet the way people often portray themselves online is far from reality, with filters being readily available to alter your physical image. And the anonymity that posting online can give you allows you to alter your personality. For some reason many people use this anonymity to add venom to their words and say things they would never say in person or put their name to.
Celebrities are regularly subjected to trolling with people making comments they would never make in person. In fact, it’s not just celebrities who experience this behaviour, social media influencers are also victims. Just because they live their lives in the public eye does not mean that people have the right to say hurtful, mean things for the sake of a response or causing an argument. Although people have no right to say these things it is extremely common to experience this behaviour.
Tolling as it’s known, can have serious psychological and physical effects on an individual. It can lead to a decline in mental health (including Depression and anxiety), self-harm, eating disorders and even suicide. Imagine making someone feel like they don’t want to live anymore just because your bored or attention seeking.
Jesy Nelson from Little Mix suffered trolling due to her weight; they thought she was too fat. She was referred to as the fat, ugly one in the group. She was repeatedly told to kill herself by strangers online. This bullying started shortly after she appeared on the X Factor. After coming off stage as one of the winners, Jesy found 101 messages on her Facebook account.
“You are the ugliest thing I’ve seen in my life; you do not deserve to be in this girl band. You deserve to die.”
This was from a person she had never met. As a result, her mental health took a massive hit and before returning to perform on the X Factor she starved herself for a week as all she cared about was people noticing her weight loss, and people thinking she looked good. The comments took their toll and caused Jesy to attempt to take her own life. She was lucky enough not to have any lasting problems – but not everyone is that lucky.
Jesy took control over her life and changed her mindset regarding trolls. Instead of feeling not good enough and sorry for herself, she now feels sorry for the people trolling her. Her understanding is that by putting her down, they are making themselves feel better about their own lives and insecurities. Imagine making people feel bad about themselves to make yourself feel better just because they don’t know you, and there will be no repercussions.
Kayla Itsines has a similar mindset to Jesy. She believes that when people say hurtful things to her, it is a reflection of themselves and not her. She tries to empathise with the trollers instead of getting mad; in the same way that Jesy feels sorry for them. However, unlike Jesy Kayla was trolled because people believed her to be too skinny.
Two very different stories, as a result of trolling, for two very different reasons. Luckily both have happy endings but this is not always the case. So remember to be kind always. You never know what people are going through. And just because you’re, anonymous doesn’t mean your words wont hurt.