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Indiana Daily Student

COLUMN: Generation Z ‘bully culture’ is toxic

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Members of Generation Z have proven we are outspoken about issues we are passionate about— from racial inequality to climate change. With the ability for consequential actions, there comes a great deal of responsibility. 

One area of improvement for Gen Z is our negative presence on social media. Personally, I am increasingly disappointed by the culture of hate and bullying taking over the internet without concern for those suffering from it.

I was scrolling through TikTok recently when I came across a video of a creator reacting to a woman making silly faces. He stared at the screen expressionless, asking his viewers to share the video so he could gain more followers than her. 

Almost all of the top comments were making derogatory remarks regarding her sense of humor. Some were misogynistic, blaming her gender for why viewers didn’t find her video humorous.

Without any good reason other than lacking a common sense of humor, a woman was degraded and taunted by hundreds of people—many anonymous.

Taio Cruz, singer of the hit 2009 song “Dynamite,” was bullied off of the app shortly after joining because of the mass amounts of hate comments he received. He said his time on TikTok made him have suicidal thoughts. Even the artist behind a song that was widely popular during our generation’s childhood was not immune from the toxicity of cyberbullying. 

TikTok is certainly not the only place where negativity exists, but it is a popular app among a younger audience. According to Forbes, more than 60% of TikTok users are in Gen Z. 

In the same way Gen Z has taken responsibility and spoken up for the fallacies of the political and social climate, we also need to own up to our generation’s activities online.

Behind a screen, it can be easy to make hurtful comments anonymously and then go on about the day. But for the person on the receiving end, it could be a completely different story. 

There is a difference between holding people accountable for their actions and senselessly attacking people because of a difference in opinion or humor. If you don’t like something, keep scrolling. 

Innocent jokes aren’t harming anyone. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean someone else won’t think it is hilarious. Different videos appeal to different people. 

Members of Gen Z are accustomed to sharing our personal lives online. But this doesn’t mean every single thought needs to be posted on the internet.

You never know what someone is going through and cannot make any assumptions based on a social media account. Because of this, it’s better to exercise restraint when considering making a rude post. 

We all have opinions — we just do not have to vocalize every single one. Getting a bad vibe or simply not liking someone’s content does not excuse publicizing hurtful remarks. Some things are best kept in the mind and off the internet.

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