Saturday December 15, 2018
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Cyber abuse – Are we losing our sensibility on social media?

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By Keshav Chhabra

The recent cyber attack on actor Shruti Seth by Twitteratis is not the first time celebrities have been exposed to cyber abuse. Over the years, death threats have been received, especially by those who have ventured to express their opinion. Though these opinions are different from the mainstream, but sometimes, one wonders at the futility of such attacks. The easy privilege of anonymity with the introduction of social media has been a perfect catalyst for “trolls”; trolls which no more are limited to ridicule and jokes but insensible and vulgar abuse.

Considering the array of such attacks, it might be a bit too easy (and inappropriate) to dismiss these attacks in the name of “politics”. The accusations hurdled are usually baseless; almost no one trying to be polite enough to share the opinion. The tweets directed towards Seth were immensely misogynistic; ironically by those who were empowering females in India by #SelfieWithDaughter.

Cyber bullying

What Steve Ragan calls in his article “an easily exploitable attack surface”, the space has driven many to sign off from this virtual world. Sara Payne, Zelda Williams (Robin Williams’s daughter), Lily James, Stephen Fry, Jennifer Lawrence and many more decided to cut off this series after waves of social media abuse. The “sick jokes” are not easy to handle, are they? So, what could have been an avoidable situation ended up becoming the worst nightmare for someone who was brave enough to express an opinion.

Meghna Pant in her article writes about the fear she faced, after becoming a victim of cyber abuse writes, “It’s hard to describe the kind of fear I began to feel, but it was somewhat like being publicly lynched.” She talks about how the comments were directed on her face, her body. The threats of rape and acid attacks were directed to her, not for what she thinks, but because she is a woman.

A video which rocked the world of cyber bullying titled “My Story: Struggling, bullying, suicide, self harm” depicting the story of a victim Amanda Todd has received more than ten million hits on Youtube. But the story has not changed much. Cyber abuse, which makes no distinction on the basis of gender, does not seem to end in the coming future. According to a report conducted by the state of Missouri in United States of America, around 38 per cent of frequent bully-victims reported suicidal thinking or a suicide attempt during the past one year.

A still from the video.
A still from the video.

Though many come up in the front to report such cases and extend their support to the victims of social abuse, the damage caused cannot be repaired. Apart from our own sensibility towards the issue, future exhibits little hope.

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Cinema, Museums Can Keep Older Adults Away From Depression

For the study, the researchers studied more than 2,148 adults above 50

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Depression
Cinema, museums may ward off depression risk in elderly.

Regular exposure to cultural activities like cinema, theatre or museums can keep older adults away from depression, finds a new study.

Depression is a major issue affecting millions of people, especially the elderly.

The study showed that people who saw films, plays or exhibitions every few months had a 32 per cent lower risk of developing depression, with those attending once a month or more having a 48 per cent lower risk.

“People engage with culture for the pure enjoyment of doing so, but we need to be raising awareness of their wider benefits too,” said Daisy Fancourt, Senior Research Associate from the University College London in the UK.

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Depression is a major issue affecting millions of people, especially the elderly. Pixabay

The power of these cultural activities lies in the combination of social interaction, creativity, mental stimulation and gentle physical activity they encourage, according to the study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

If we are starting to feel low or isolated then cultural engagement is something simple that we can do to proactively help with our own mental health before it gets to the point where we need professional medical help, according to Fancourt.

Also Read- YouTube Removes 7.8 mn Violative Videos

“However, such activities on their own don’t treat depression. This requires an approach based on the use of talking therapies, complemented by the use of medication where an older person does not respond or when they have more severe depression,” noted Amanda Thompsell from the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

For the study, the researchers studied more than 2,148 adults above 50. (IANS)