We begin our week with the beauty that is @brookemcmechan, known offline as Brooke. Our girl advocates towards a positive change regarding hate received within the online community. In recent years, due to the increased use of social media platforms, internet trolling and cyberbullying has drastically amplified. It has been noted that 1 in 3 individuals have experienced cyber threats or abuse online.
Being an online influencer, Brooke is no stranger to falling victim to virtual hate; something she believes drastically needs to be clamped down on. By sharing her story Brooke hopes to help encourage others to chase their dreams, even if people have a negative opinion of you. “Online ‘trolls’ are simply insecure people in disguise and in many cases, they are just jealous of your success!”
We interviewed Brooke about online bullying and here’s what she had to say:
Question: What does social media mean to you?
“Social media is such an incredible place to grow and seek new opportunities. You can express creativity and watch tutorials to learn new skills. However, these amazing opportunities also come with the negatives. We have been given a platform to express our opinions, and whilst this can result in positive uplifting comments some individuals feel the need to spread hate.”
Question: You mention the negative side of social media; can you touch on this more?
“Social media can be so toxic! There are so many people who are unhappy with themselves that they feel the need to drag others down and spread their insecurities. There seems to be so much bitterness towards people who are succeeding within this online industry.
We must not forget though that online hate doesn’t just happen to influencers, every day people are being targeted for no reason what-so-ever!”
Question: You mentioned earlier that you have fallen victim to online abuse, would you mind sharing this experience?
“Sure! It first began when I started my journey with Aurora’s Angels. There were a few individuals in my life that were so unsupportive of my decision and I didn’t understand why! They appeared to be so bitter and constantly make sly digs about my online achievement, and what was worse was that I personally knew these people. It wasn’t like I was being targeted by strangers, these individuals were supposed to be my ‘friends’. This lack of support created a toxic environment where I began to doubt my actions.
The constant bitterness did eventually result in me coming to the realisation that in order for my own personal growth I needed to cut all ties with the toxic individuals.”
Question: What advice would you give to individuals who are experiencing online hate?
“Anyone who is experiencing online hate should take it as a blessing in disguise as it is a chance to let yourself grow and flourish. Although it may be an uncomfortable situation to be in, you learn a lot about yourself.
If it is a constant occurrence then you should seek help, tell a friend, a parent and even report the account online. You are given an option to explain why you are blocking the individual so explaining that they are cyberbullying will potentially result in their account being suspended (this will be anonymous, so they won’t know who reported them!). Just because it is taking place in on a virtual platform it doesn’t mean that there won’t be any repercussions for the individual, things are changing! There are currently talks in parliament regarding online ‘trolling’ becoming a criminal offence.
It such a promising thing to know that officials are acknowledging cyberbullying and the impact it can have on an individual’s health. Bullying is an offence, so cyberbullying should be also!”
Question: What advice would you give to ‘trolls’?
“You do not need to put others down and pull apart their insecurities or flaws in a bid to make yourself feel better. Finding self-love is a huge factor that can alter your happiness and the way you treat others. Before you post a comment why not think about your own feelings? Would you like to receive that? Would you like your little brother or sister to be sent that message? It’s a cruel world. We should all unite and spread the love! It’s such a common saying but treat people the way you’d like to be treated… both online and offline!”
Thanks for sitting down with Aurora’s Angels babe. We hope you’ve enjoyed the first post of the week… there’s A LOT more to come!
If you or someone you know is receiving online hate helplines and services are available below:
Stop Hate UK
Includes a list of various helplines.