Why is bullying okay as long as comments are anonymous?

This morning I was mindlessly swiping through stories on Snapchat Discover when an article caught my attention. It was a compilation of tweets from people who were unaware that the new question feature on Instagram wasn’t anonymous. These individuals said some extremely cringe-worthy things to their peers because they didn’t know their names would be attached to their comments.

As I read through this article, I thought the tweets were pretty funny at first. One person said, “Would’ve been nice to know that the Instagram questions weren’t anonymous before I asked someone why they look like Waluigi.” Another person told someone they had a crush on them, and another confessed that they told someone their dog was ugly.

As I started down the list I kind of laughed to myself, but I felt more and more disturbed as I went on. There were individuals confessing to calling people horrible names, saying highly inappropriate things, telling them they were ugly, and even insulting their children. These individuals had no problem asking these horrific questions and saying these insulting things until they knew their names would be attached to the responses, and that’s where I got sick to my stomach.

We all know social media plays a huge part in the cyberbullying phenomenon we all face today. And it’s true that when you put that little question box on your story, you’re giving your followers permission to say whatever they want back to you. But why do people feel that it’s okay to be cruel to others as long as their comments are anonymous?

Bullies don’t shove people into lockers and demand lunch money anymore. Bullies are everywhere, hiding behind screens and being incredibly reckless with their words and never taking others’ feelings into consideration. With fake accounts and misleading screen names, it’s easier than ever to sit on the other side of the phone being horrible to people, but never having the consequences or accountability of actually saying those things to their faces.

Anonymous or not, it’s never okay to say such rude and inappropriate things to people. As I continue to use social media, I want to make sure I always leave people feeling uplifted and inspired through my posts, comments, and messages, and I challenge you to do the same. I hope we can all learn something from this Instagram question anonymity crisis and just be kind to one another.

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