Last Friday, September 25, it was announced that there would be a sitting of the House of Representatives. It was widely speculated that at this House’s sitting, the Prime Minister would announce the date of the upcoming general elections.
Now, of course, that did not happen, and with good reason, and given the hints, we could reasonably deduce that the elections will be held in either the first or second week of November.
Notwithstanding that, something monumental and rather laudable happened in the House this past Friday. A cyber bullying bill was passed into law. This is the first of its kind in recent history and this Bill makes provisions to manage the use of social media and seeks to mitigate acts of cyber bullying and cyber violence that are time and time again perpetrated on social media, particularly towards women.
Social media is a rather advanced platform and a very useful tool that can bring people closer together. It is equipped with many amazing features and up-to-the-minute applications that allow us to share our thoughts, photos and videos, connect with others and even buy and sell goods.
Indeed, social media is a wonderful tool that can really assist in making our lives easier and fostering relationships (if and when properly utilized and well-managed).
However, oftentimes, like breaking news, we hear of social media scandals. Our social media pages are bombarded with somebody’s nudes or a leaked video or audio recording or some form of “lashing out” between two or more parties.
What makes it even more callous is the fact that once such a leak occurs, it spreads like wildfire. Many persons waste no time to hit “share” and circulate these photos, videos, recordings and other posts among their own social groups and within their circle.
In a matter of hours (minutes in some instances), these video recordings and images have been viewed, circulated and distributed thousands of times, bringing the victim much shame. It has become a very common trend that has seemingly been occurring almost on a weekly basis — in some cases, more than one occurrence in a week; sometimes even involving children and for the most part, women.
While these heinous acts of cyber bullying and violence generally provoke the disapproval or ire of the entities and organizations who seek to protect the rights of the said victim(s) involved, in time the recording fades and sometimes nobody hears the disapproval and sadly, by the following week, there is another scandal.
However, thanks to the introduction of this new Bill, it is important to note that such acts of cyber bulling and violence that are being perpetrated via social media platforms are now criminalized. With the fines and the possibility of incarceration, it is the hope of many that this new Bill will put an end to cyber bulling and online violence altogether.
It is such a travesty to see how terribly we have perverted the use of social media. Because of childish ego and probably unsettled anger, we misuse a very viable tool for building relationships and coming together. It is half past time that we learn to settle our disputes and gripes in a sensible and logical manner. It is rather distasteful and sad when one has to hide behind a screen to humiliate and defame another person.
Let us strive to build up one another and seek to encourage and praise each other, for this march that we are on poses many challenges of its own. Instead of trying to tear one another down, let’s endeavor to use the social media tools to spread love and promote positivity among one another, for our primary purpose on this earth should be to support and build up each other, and not tear others down.
Don’t Be Mean Behind the Screen!
God Bless Belize!