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Eva Funsho: Cyber Bullying & Its Effects on an Entrepreneur

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If you attended a boarding institution like me, then you definitely know what bullying is about.  I’m not talking about ordinary confrontational situations, I mean real bullying! My experience in high school was quite tough, as the senior students were always in charge of everything and they were literarily lords over the junior students. I remember how they raided the dinning hall one day to pack our favourite Thursday rice, and the fish we were looking forward to. They packed it all to the hostel and made us get them drinking water to eat our own food.

One time, I was made to do seven different punishments at intervals for not ironing a senior’s house wear well enough. It was a gruelling experience! The bullying activities were so tough that you have to be tough enough to survive and still remain intact mentally, because it breaks you emotionally. People call you names you don’t like, make you go against your beliefs and principles, endanger you in the most inhumane way etc, and the most ironical thing though is how most of us came out of it strong – even though some people couldn’t make it. Some left the school and some even died in the process.

Bullying is the result of an unequal power dynamic where the strong takes advantage of the weak. It can be experienced through physical violence, verbal abuse, spreading rumours, humiliation etc and can result in fear, low self esteem, anger, hopelessness, sadness and the most scary which is depression.

The good thing about those of us that went to high school during the 80s and 90s, who faced these miserable and detestable experiences, is that as soon as we were able to detach ourselves from the environment where we were bullied, the experience was over. We had a safe haven during holidays and ultimately when we became seniors too and the “devils” had graduated. So, bullying was basically a thing that happened at a particular phase for most of us. Most times, we were encouraged to toughen it off as we would soon be out of that phase.

However, the advent of social media has introduced a dynamic to the concept of bullying as cyber bullying has taken over, and bullying is no longer just a problem of some boarding house kids. It is now a force that has eaten deep into our lives, as long as social media exists.

Social media is such a beautiful discovery/invention, I regard it as one of the wonders of the world. It encompasses anything and everything you can ever think of; there’s the good, the bad and the ugly…and the really ugly! And like they say, it either uses you, or you use it.

One of the most beautiful things social media has given is the freedom of owning your speech and dishing it out as you want. Unfortunately, it is also one of its curses. Social media platforms have become tools for people to show lack of empathy towards others, offend, abuse, be rude, call people names, slight, discredit, slander, defame, cast aspersions, disrespect, humiliate…and the list goes on and on.

The huge participation of almost everybody and everything on social media has turned it into such a huge global force, that it has become another world inside the world. As a result of that, peoples lives, family, career, businesses and basically their existences have been woven around the platform. Interestingly, it has bridged the gap between all classes of people as anyone can relate with anyone they like as long as they have an account on a mutual platform. This has however, created an instant feedback opportunity for entities especially entrepreneurs and brands.

Recently, entrepreneurs have taken advantage of the business template of Instagram and Facebook, as both platforms have basically created a cyber mall where you can find everything, and as brands are created and grow, they are gradually improved upon by the entrepreneurs in the best business strategies available using the power of the hashtags. But, just as there’s the positive in something, so also is the downside to it. Because of the power and advantage that the followers have to support a brand and push it to grow, such power can also be used to bring the brand spiraling downwards. An example is the TV show franchise that was recently concluded, whose sponsors almost lost their credibility and follower base at a point, after a group of people started a hash tag to question a sexual harassment situation. The hash tag went so viral, that it threatened the show and almost affected the brand. That incident clearly showed that brands can be destroyed through social media and all it takes is a hash tag.

We’ve seen instances where individuals especially celebrities had to delete their social media accounts because they couldn’t stand the bullying, and some of them have even come out to talk about how cyber bullying has pushed them to the edge of suicide at various times. So, one cannot but imagine what effect bullying has on entrepreneurs and how they hold themselves together in order to just keep their brands going.

Social Media is often credited with giving a platform for the average citizen to be able to air their voices and has helped to encourage democracy and activism as a tool for a free life. But negatively, it has put some vices in play which has turned out to be a huge problem for entrepreneurs and brands. People can now fuel online grievance campaigns – which have become an increasingly incessant phenomenon. Such campaigns have brought companies to realise that consumer voice matters but it’s also gradually becoming a case of consumer voice could ruin you.

It is, however, salient to note that brands are gradually getting a dose of cyber bullying right before our eyes and it’s becoming a phenomenon that might erupt into a volcano someday.

Photo Credit: Andrey Popov | Dreamstime

My name is Eva Funsho. Im passionate about being attentive to people and their emotional needs so I call myself "the listener" I run talkk2eva, a platform I established online as a medium to reach out to people who are at a cross road over basic personal issues that could result in mental health conditions like depression and suicide. I also use my platform to educate people on emotional communication and to fight cyberbullying on social media. My activities are on my Instagram Id @talkk2eva, Eva Funsho on Facebook and fo_eva2 on Twitter.

7 Comments

  1. Bolaji

    July 24, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    Amen. And in Nigeria we do it well. Biblical verses and inspirational quotes to accompany shade without taking responsibility for actions then cry rogue when the targets retaliate.

  2. Passingby

    July 24, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    I went to boarding school in the 80s boy do I know what bulling is all about, from pupils and teachers o! I also drive in Lagos and get called rude names by illiterate sexist male drivers, I have in laws dat I constantly engage in one form of passive aggressive situational to full blown confrontationals. Prehaps my experience has made me grow thick skin against cyber bullying. As far as I’m concerned Cyber ain’t real, it’s fictional, ghost hiding behind a screen. I have the power to SWITCH IT OFF. I do think kids and unfortunately adults these daz are to soft for their own good. Somebody looks at you some kinda way it’s bullying, there is even soft bullying hum!. , if you need it to make money then don’t take the upper cuts personal, every work place has got its hazards find a way to deal with it. And if you start to get upset because cyber calling you mean names just remember, it’s not you its dem that’s got the problem, that’s my philosophy.

  3. Oh Please!

    July 24, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    Y’all should just go to hell with your mundane analogies. Real entrepreneurs do not care what a bunch of miscreants post on Social Media. As long as the money keeps coming in and the bank account stays blue (because they do REALLY GOOD WORK!), the rest of the poor community living below $100 per day can freaking go shove their opinions down a toilet.

    P.S: I would know. Got a friend whose overcome this nonsense and makes six-figures every week. Entrepreneur is not for children #Beast

  4. Oh Please!

    July 24, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    Y’all should just go to hell with your mundane analogies. Real entrepreneurs do not care what a bunch of miscreants post on Social Media. As long as the money keeps coming in and the bank account stays blue (because they do REALLY GOOD WORK!), the rest of the poor community living below $100 per day can freaking go shove their opinions down a toilet.

    P.S: I would know. Got a friend whose overcome this nonsense and makes six-figures every week. Entrepreneurship is not for children #Beast

  5. Oh Please!

    July 24, 2017 at 6:19 pm

    @PassingBy…you get sense abeg. Like who gives a s***. Muscle-up and go get that bar mehn! The rest are simply envious because they live miserable lives.

    You know what they say…”If you cant make it, try to pull those who can down”…but they cant, because the so called targets will not let you. Haba, they are made for greatness now!Everybody else with a contrary opinion is simply a fly on the wall, to be swathed with a broom when need be.

    To all the young people out there, don’t let anybody present this sort of nonsensical article to you. Rise Up, Be Strong and Go Get That Dough! Stand Up and Be A #Beast. Remember, stones are only thrown at fruit bearing trees.

  6. Grace

    July 24, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    This your write up struck something in me.

    You know growing up, we looked forward to boarding school and punishment from seniors sef as older ones would gist you about school and you couldn’t wait to experience it; dodging punishments etc. I didn’t attend a boarding school as mumsi wanted me at home but I must say the boarders were strong people.

    If what they experienced was bullying, they didn’t know, it was school, you deal with it and learn. Could it be that part of the reason people are committing suicide, being depressed etc is because they are expected to? None of my friends in boarding school had these issues, it did not occur to them to be depressed as school was survival of the fittest. Maybe, just maybe part of the reason emotional issues are on the rise is that that’s what these kids are taught.
    While we teach our kids to be nice and fair, we must also teach them to be strong. The world was not made for weak people. I sincerely hope I didn’t ramble

  7. Bokun

    July 24, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    Please bullying is a rite of passage. Such is life. I blame social media with its yeyefowl emojis for creating these new Nigerian breed of “awww it’s sooooo cute”” awww you hurt my emos/feelings, tinz purlesssss. People got unrealistic expectations from the world. You expect every one to like you, to be nice etc. That is not the reality . You cannot protect your children from the world the best you can do is to start teaching children how to build character and be strong. Expose them to some hardships and let them begin to build an immunity/ resilience against sad little Internet trolls. As for adult Nigerians who get hurt by comments on social media I prescribe a visit to yaba market on a Saturday or onitsha market Hummmm there is Notting cyber about the pushing, shoving, insults inappropriate comments you will get. honestly you will grow armour.

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