Social Media has its pros and cons
As a tool of communication and sharing information there is no better way than social media to convey your information to a large audience. It is the cheapest and most affective advertising campaign out there.
It is a fantastic way to stay in touch with friends. Back in the day, if you were to move interstate or move overseas, the only way to stay in touch was email, mail or the odd telephone.
Now you can share pictures with each other, use online chat—you can always stay in touch no matter where in the world you are.
But there is no doubt there is a nasty element to it. It is not advisable to share your opinion on anything on these platforms, otherwise you will attract abuse or someone taking offence.
If you are in the public eye you are almost certain to attract criticism on Social Media, especially if you have an account.
Social Media bullying to those in the public eye
I was saddened but also uplifted to read a feature story about St George Illawarra Dragons halfback, Ben Hunt, the other week.
If you don’t follow the League, Hunt was the Halfback, a very key position player of a team that was doing rather well but then suffered a mid-season slump.
Most of the blame was directed towards Hunt who reported he had to cancel his Instagram page due to online abuse. His wife even wrote an impassioned plea to the bullies to consider the mental health of the people who they are abusing online.
The vitriol led him to see a psychiatrist. While it was great he got the help he needed, the truth was, he never should have had to get to that point for him to need help.
Now, there would be some people reading this thinking, “Well he is a highly paid sportsman”, “He gets paid good money because people come and watch him play”. “The fans are entitled to their opinion”.
While that is true, there are also plumbers out there that get paid just as much as he does. Should they be victimised on social media for their mistakes?
In my job as a Pastor, while I am not notable, I know plenty of Pastors that are, and they do not get paid as much as Hunt does. But if they say something controversial or do something people disagree with, they get flack.
Look at Brian Houston. Looking at Hillsong’s annual report, I can tell you he does not get paid like Ben Hunt does, but you only have to google his name to see the online vitriol he gets.
If you are someone that perhaps takes pleasure in going online to speak words of death into a person, can I ask you one question?
What if you stuffed up and they put you on television and your mistakes were there for the whole country to see? How do you think Joe Public would react if they saw your mistakes?
So, if you would not like to be abused for every mistake you made, would you think it would be right to do the same to someone in the public eye just because they get paid good money?
Watch your heart
I think in many aspects jealousy plays a big part. Many of us would love an opportunity to earn good money doing what we love and are passionate about.
We don’t always get to do that for different reasons, but I think we have to realise that the venom that comes out of our mouths is actually caused by the condition of our hearts.
Maybe you had a dream to be a Rugby League player? Maybe injury cost you that chance and your coping mechanism is to tear someone down who is fulfilling their dreams.
I believe hurt people hurt other people. We need to realise that the negativity we spit out of our mouths is caused by our internal heart conditions. Let’s watch the condition of our heart before we type something nasty.
The Bible says in Matthew chapter 12 verse 35, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil in his heart.”
We need to watch our hearts—there are lives at stake here.
One of the most common causes of death in this country is suicide, especially amongst the youth.
Most causes of suicide in our youth is caused by cyber bullying. If we are serious as a nation about stopping this epidemic we need to look, stop thinking it’s ok to bully celebrities, and look at the condition of our hearts.
Ben Kruzins is the Campus Pastor of The Hub Baptist Church in Ocean Shores on the North Coast of New South Wales. He is also a Journalism graduate who has written articles in The Canberra Times and The Sydney Morning Herald.