Hiding Behind A Screen: Music, Cyber-Bullying And Mental Health In The Age Of Social Media (Editorial)

When you grew up, where you grew up, how you grew up, the friends you had, the high school you went to, your ability to frequent record stores, your medium of listening to music, the popular songs on the radio, how you discovered hip hop, how you read about hip hop, and your values dictate your idea of a “classic hip hop.” Period.

Why is this so hard to understand amongst hip hop heads? Or even consider? Feuding, exchanging harsh words, belittling, and demoralizing have become standard on message boards, social media, and any site that allows you to express your opinion on a larger scale. It’s easy to hide behind a screen or profile. The power of typing words without any repercussions has become a cyber addiction – one that trolls and ones who get a reaction have no intention of recovering from. The victims are unable to stop them, only unfollow, block, or mute the aggressor. Sadly, the pain lingers – the words become branded on their skin. Supporters of the aggressor’s tweet antagonize and often sting more than the original. But what can they do? 

This freedom is the single most destructive part of the world wide web. Not only has it caused extreme bullying, suicide attempts and successes, mass shootings, deterioration of mental health, hospitalizations, lack of confidence and self love – but fear that racial profiling, derogotory words, violent threats and the like can come at any moment. If the individual is strong enough they may be able to move past it, but the youth are just beginning to develop social skills and understanding of self – often unable to separate the words from who they truly are.

Ironically, many learn about these issues from news articles, blog posts, and the right search on Google. While social activist groups have formed along with more education for teachers, mental health workers, parents, etc, there are many who truly don’t understand the severity of the depths of the web. 

Either way, what can anyone do? Erase Twitter? Facebook? Every medium where text can be written? This is impossible even to the most dedicated. I’m very aware the internet cannot be shut down, as repercussions would be significant in every way imaginable. Once one fully understands this – the world may become a little darker. More depressing and hopeless. 

I am not denouncing the significance of the new resources and help continuing to be offered and developed. I have confidence and hope in professionals and individuals committed to the cause. It is a necessary introduction to the topic at hand. Music. Opinion. Invalidation. Comprehension. Understanding. Culture. Beginnings. And fear of the unknown.