Thursday, 19 November 2015

Why children should not be allowed on the internet

If anyone was on twitter last Wednesday evening they would have seen that SH*T WENT DOWN (excuse the expression)! It really did.

It all started when a blogger implied that Zoella didn't write her own blog. Now I don't know whether that's true (although lots of bloggers suspect it's true due to a drastic improvement in the quality and tone of her writing) and that's not what I want to discuss. But oh my days were the gates of hell unleashed on to that poor blogger, as torrents of Zoella fans staunchly defended her.

And by defend her, I mean attack anyone who dared to say a single word against her.

It is a lovely thing that Zoella has so many loyal supporters. HOWEVER, if they are going to be as rude and offensive as they were, then I would not be wholly proud of them.

The majority of these fans seemed to be around the age of 12 and female (precisely who Zoella aims her videos towards so I guess that makes sense). I got this information from various twitter bios, but even if this was not available, I could have guessed that myself. They reacted to the dissing of their idol in a suitably childish way - instead of having a calm and measured discussion, they attacked with angry and personal comments about why the blogger was the most awful person in the world to express the less than ideal opinion about Zoella.

This is exactly why children should not be on social media sites.

Some of the comments were downright nasty and completely unnecessary. If any sister, niece, friend or daughter (I am getting to that age where I could be a parent in the near future - although I am not quite the 40 years somebody accused me of being) posted anything similar online I would have a lot to say to them. The kids who were attacking any bloggers daring to discuss the issue, clearly don't have the maturity to understand the implications of the poison that they spread, poison that they would never say in real life and should never be on the internet. They don't understand that behind the computer screen is a real human being with real feelings, being hurt by their comments and, out of sight from their parents or teachers, I felt like they relished the lack of control.

Being an adult, I was able to laugh off the personal insults I received through the Twitter-sphere that evening. They were incredibly mild compared to some that others suffered. But I didn't actually say a bad word against Zoella, it was simply because I was entering the discussion that I was attacked. I knew I was not 40 or fat or ugly and my blog wasn't boring enough to send someone to sleep. But a girl 10 years younger than I, would probably have taken it much much more personally. And could have become extremely distressed by it. Therefore, to protect children, I feel like the minimum age on social media sites should be more heavily enforced.

I know the internet is a huge place and social media can be both good and bad. But that evening I definitely saw it at it's worst. I can now understand just how easy it is for online bullying to take place and this is something we should all watch out for more vigilantly.

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