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With the advent of social media, we can constantly keep up with everyone and everything. While having instant access can be good, it also allows social media users to comment anonymously. This can sometimes lead to cyberbullying.
Recently under fire from social media, is 20-year-old R&B singer-songwriter, Kehlani Parrish, who releases her music as Kehlani. Kehlani is from Oakland, California and prior to fame was part of the teen pop band PopLyfe, who finished fourth place in the sixth season of America’s Got Talent.
Kehlani came under fire when rumors popped up that she cheated on her boyfriend, professional basketball player Kyrie Irving, with her ex-boyfriend PartyNextDoor, a fellow singer-songwriter.
Once news sources leaked the information, social media lit up with negative comments. Commentors shamed Kehlani and called her inappropriate names. Even though this did not become a trending topic on social media, it was still a mass cyberbully attack.
According to Dictionary.com, cyberbullying can be defined as the act of harassing someone online by sending or posting mean messages, usually anonymously.
While those who posted about Kehlani might not have been anonymous, they fit the first half of the definition really well. These users were posting things that they would not say to Kehlani’s face, if they ever met.
The cyberbullying got so bad that Kehlani attempted suicide. Her friend, PartyNextDoor, found the singer and called 911.
Fortunately, she was found in the right amount of time and survived her attempt. When she awoke from her living nightmare, she posted a picture of her arm with the IV in it to her Instagram account, detailing what happened and how thankful she was to be safe.
The picture went viral with the hashtag, #staystrongKehlani, trending on social media sites.
One thing most people forget when making not-so-pleasant comments, especially about their private life, is that there is an actual person behind that public persona.
Kehlani’s post made people realize that their comments did actually effect someone.
Many celebrities reached out to Kehlani, while some added to the cyberbullying noise.
Singer Chris Brown took his opinions to Twitter, shaming Kehlani and implying that she posted a picture from the hospital in order to stay in the media. Fortunately, other celebs called Brown out on his actions and his followers began dropping like flies.
While the advancement of technology and social media has been great, it has also made people more susceptible to bullying. Cyberbullying is a category of its own, because while it may not be physically painful, it can cause a lot of mental and psychological damage.
And because cyberbullies are often anonymous, it can make it impossible for victims to escape their tormentors.
Social media is really hard to monitor, and even when you block someone, their hateful messages still have a way of making it to you. The pervasiveness of social media makes it possible for someone to harass another person from anywhere
Kehlani’s fight is something that we should all learn from. Before posting a mean comment on social media, remember that there is an actual person that is being affected. Think before you post.