Digital violence and its impact

Blog - Belgrade, 19 March 2021

Do you know that toothpaste commercial that promises a Hollywood smile?

That Sanja from the XY company who calls us at least once a week and offers great bedding at an incredible price?

A brunette promoter standing in the center of the city, every Wednesday, almost pushing a flyer into our hands?

We all know them. And it's okay that we like or dislike their way of communication.

But what do we do in the second case?

We change the TV channel.

Hang up to Sanja.

Cross to the other side of the street.

We have solutions that will never endanger anyone. People will continue to do their jobs, and we will live in peace.

However, what happens when we don't like some content on social networks? When an influencer or regular user tries to present themselves, their work, or a product in a way that does not suit us?

Then, as if the mentioned rule from reality, adapted to the digital environment, which would be: "I will continue to scroll, delete, send, block" does not apply. We will probably comment, dislike, condemn, ridicule, and even swear. Some would think why not. Where does he get the right to post content that is not fun for us? Which is not useful to us? And what else is the comment section for?

I’ll stop with the irony because the topic is anything but fun. On the contrary, it is becoming more serious and reflects our harsh reality.

We live in a time when, unfortunately, it is completely legitimate to challenge someone's work with public commentary just because we wanted to do so (sometimes the reasons are completely justified, but it’s not what we are talking about), and at the same time not to bear any consequences. The problem is that we can never know who the victim may be, or how our attack will affect them.

Cyber ​​violence has become more frequent and no one is sufficiently protected. This type of abuse is still not sufficiently controlled, and sanctions hardly exist. It seems as if people continue to perceive the digital world as exclusively virtual, unaware that what is happening on the Internet directly reflects on reality. And if an unpleasant situation still happens, and the person decides to report the abuser, it is often the case that this is not possible. Those full of hatred and ready for aggression mostly attack from false profiles, hiding their true identity. As a result, the agony and inability of the victims to protect themselves become even greater.

In the age of digitalization, we learn a lot about what digital platforms are, how they work and what their benefits are, but we don't know enough about how to protect ourselves from them. Negative commenting causes negative emotions, which everyone experiences and channels differently. That is why we are witnessing depression, difficult mental states of people, but also those worst cases, which ended fatally. This is more common among younger generations, adolescents who have just stepped into the internet world and do not know how to deal with social rejection and pressure. Due to their huge desire to follow the imposed trends and be popular, they form a group of users who are most susceptible to virtual traps and manipulations.

I often ask these questions: Why someone feels endangered by the work and opinion of another person? What is it that leads any person to hate speech and calling someone out in public? Is this a topic that psychology should deal with, or are we all, the entire society, obliged not to bury our heads in the sand and do something to prevent digital aggression? The questions are numerous, and I do not have clear answers or solutions.

What I can conclude as someone for whom social networks, in addition to entertainment, is a job, is that the situation is alarming and that this is a global problem that we need to talk about more. We need to raise awareness and think about future generations, who can very easily accept this model of violent behavior as normal. And we don't want that, do we?


Author: Jelena Markovic, Content Manager          

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