Cyberbullying is the use of electronic communication to bully a person by sending them intimidating or threatening messages. The growing popularity of social media has made cyberbullying that much worse. As of now, cyberbullying happens in 85% of social media interactions. 37% of those incidences go unreported. Sadly some of these cyberbullying cases push the victims to depression or even worse suicide. Last year, the story of a young lady made headlines as she took her own life by throwing herself into oncoming traffic due to cyberbullying. She had shared a story about her child’s defilement on a facebook page in an attempt to get help since the police seemed to be of no assistance. What she received were personal attacks that ultimately led her to commit suicide. People have also been affected by another form of cyber bullying which is revenge porn – Single Lady In Nairobi: How revenge porn lead to a suicide attempt
The Hisiah Campaign aims to create awareness on cyberbullying and the negative effects it has on its victims. There is a lot of talk about it on social media but there is little done to solve the problem. The objective of the campaign is to create a behavioural shift amongst different members of society by encouraging every Kenyan to be cautious of what they share in the cyberspace. The logo for the campaign is ‘Kabla Uclick, Fikiria’.
Public figures are among the people who experience a lot of cyberbullying. Jimmy Gait, who came up with the Hisiah campaign shared his story and ultimately what led to the birth of the campaign during its launch. It began with the release of a cover he had done of the song ‘Hello’ by Adelle. He was attacked so much so he locked himself up in the house for 2 weeks. He struggled to eat and fell into depression.
Things only got worse when he released the song ‘Yesu ni Sponsor’. He was attacked for what people termed as an act of disrespect to God. That is when things escalated. He lost sponsorship deals, friends and most of his events were cancelled. Due to his dented public image, he quit performing which was his main source of income. Over time he incurred a lot of debt and eventually lost everything including his house. However, due to the support of friends and family, he has been able to bounce back and with a purpose to fight cyberbullying.
I caught up with @JimmyGait today & he told me how cyber bullying made him go into depression and even stop performing which lead to him losing everything and he was even kicked out of his house. That’s why he has launched a campaign against cyber bullying #hisiakenya@hisia_kepic.twitter.com/97OaYLvWJV
Dj Pierra Makena also shared her story of cyberbullying due to her weight. She stated that these issues may not matter to the individuals attacking the person but they hurt the victim on a very personal level. These are the issues the campaign seeks to address. To create awareness, there will be forums, workshops, online activations, concerts, roadshows all geared towards pushing for personal behavioural change.
The campaign conceptualizes an initiative that envisions people of all ages coming together to reduce risks and create safety in use of technology which is a major part of our lives. The thing is, most of us are guilty of cyberbullying in one way or another. These things may seem like a joke to many of us. However, we do not realize how much damage it has on the victims. The idea is to be empathetic and be considerate of others. Ask yourself if you would do the same to someone you loved and cared for.