Online bullying is real even in the Nigerian cyberspace. Unfortunately, the nature of the Nigerian society doesn’t pay much attention to victims. As such, many victims stay quiet until physical harm is meted to them.
These internet bullies use popular social media platforms to prey on their victims. One of such platforms is Instagram. Instagram knows it has a bullying problem, but the good news is that they are doing something about it. Following public outcry on cyber bullying, Instagram is rolling out new features to help combat the menace, as the social-media company and its parent, Facebook Inc., work to address issues related to harassment on their platforms.
The first feature is a comment warning, which can supposedly detect offensive content as a user is typing, then prompt them to reconsider before they post. This encourages potential bullies to think again before posting unkind comments. It does not prevent them from making undesirable comments, but it gives them the opportunity to “undo” the message before it is posted.
The second feature is called Restrict. It allows users to identify their personal bullies without banning them. When an account is set as restricted, users have the ability to review comments the restricted account attempts to post on their content, choosing to approve it, delete it, or leave it in a limbo state where only the restricted poster can see it. By “restricting” a person, users will be able to control who sees their comments without them knowing and they will not be able to see when they are active on Instagram or when they have read their direct messages. Restrict is also designed to make it harder for a bully to find you and to harass you. If a bully is trying to tag a user who has restricted them, however, they’ll have to know the user’s handle and type it out completely, Instagram will no longer automatically suggest handles.
While these steps are interesting and hopefully useful, Parents and guardians must also monitor the use of the social media by their children. Civil society organizations and religious bodies must encourage members of the society to speak out because cyber stalking and cyber harassment are silent killers and must be destroyed before they destroy us.