The internet can be a dangerous place where trolling and bullying can have very serious consequences for the victims. This week’s episode of Maisha Mkanda looked at the stories of three victims of cyberbullying and the devastating effects it has had on their lives and their loved ones.
From pen pals to online friends
Long before the internet became popular, having a pen pal was the in-thing. One would make friends with anyone from any part of the world by letter writing. But now at the click of a button, you can become friends with someone, post pictures of yourself online and receive instant reactions to your posts.
Even though many people enjoy the convenience of the internet, it can be a dark and dangerous space to be in. As such, many online users have become victims of cyberbullying.
What is cyberbullying?
According to entertainment and media law expert Liz Lenjo, cyberbullying is where one person spreads information that is either intimidating, threatening or even embarrassing about another person. Most cyber bullies are psychologically sick and feel entertained by harassing other people.
Why does cyberbullying happen?
Although many countries today enjoy freedom of expression, sometimes that freedom has had damaging effects when used irresponsibly. Most countries don’t have legislation and laws in place to deal with cybercrimes.
Minister of the gospel, actor and trainer Robert Burale opened up about his cyberbullying experience to the Maisha Mkanda crew after he tested positive for COVID-19 in July 2020.
“I started coughing and as most people who do, I went to the pharmacy and bought some cough syrup and self-medicated. A few days later I had excruciating headaches and I thought it was migraines. I bought some medicine, but it didn’t work. It was when I had breathing problems that I decided to go to the hospital – and that is when I tested positive for COVID-19”.
Robert was shocked by the outcome because firstly, he believed that he couldn’t get it and secondly, he thought COVID-19 was a conspiracy.
While in the observation room, Robert decided to do a live Instagram video with the intention of making people understand that COVID-19 is real. The moment the video went live he started trending for all the wrong reasons.
Listen to his story here plus hear other victims of cyberbullying speak out:
Maisha Mkanda airs on Maisha Magic Plus DStv Channel 163 every Sunday at 8 pm.