‘Dun Dun Dun Dun’, said a teenager and burst into laughter along with his friends.
I glanced at his phone and realized he was watching a video on social media. The said video was of a 13-year-old boy, Kamlesh who works as a rag picker. He, since running away from his home, has been addicted to various kinds of drugs.
Knowing what the video was about, not only saddened me, it infuriated me. The internet and the social media has made us so insensitive towards the society that a 13-year-old’s helplessness seems funny to the people.
The fact that the video should have brought attention to what the drugs are doing to our youth, especially, the impoverished. However, it has been turned into memes and Kamlesh’s mannerisms have been turned into a joke.
Another instance which makes us think where we are going as a society was the misuse of the pictures of a young boy Sanjay. A teenager ‘stole’ Sanjay’s pictures from his Instagram account and thought it would be funny to create memes out of them. The story shook everyone when it turned out that ‘Durgesh’ is, in fact, his disabled father. After finding out what has happened, Sanjay’s life became a living nightmare. He almost went into depression.
The dawn of social media gave everyone a voice. A voice that was much needed. However, it also gave a voice to the bullies. Bullies, who think they are just practicing their freedom of speech by expressing their opinion. There is a thin line between trolling someone and harassing someone. Somewhere, as a society, we have started to blur that line.
Recently, Facebook has started funding schools promoting education about Cyber Bullying. Although this step should have been taken a long time ago, but as they say, it’s never too late. While we promote digital education among our youth, a new chapter called ‘What is Cyber Bullying?’ needs to find a place in the syllabus. If not, we are going to see a swarm of depressed youth marred by bullying in the next decade.
While Kamlesh lives a life of misery totally dependent on drugs, we laugh at him. I think it’s time to introspect if we are laughing at him, or ourselves.
While Sanjay and his disabled father’s life have been turned into a nightmare, we think it’s perfectly alright. I think it’s time to introspect where to draw a line.
The internet is a funny place, maybe you’re at this side of the line right now. Tomorrow, you might find yourself on the other side.