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Cancel Culture; The New Way to Bully

The internet has turned everyone’s lives into an open book. Whatever you put on the internet is likely out there forever because there is no telling who already saw it, saved it, and shared it with others. This means that there is no room to make mistakes on the internet because there is no telling who might bring it up again or when. 

The term cancel culture describes the way the public has started to react to important or famous people making mistakes. Whether it be something they did recently or something brought up from their past, people are quick to call them out and demand consequences. These consequences typically look like getting them fired from their job, refusing to support their products, or boycotting any companies associated with them. 

Those who are victims of cancel culture don’t believe that they should lose everything because of one small mistake. Unfortunately, one major mistake could cost you your career, but for most of the celebrities who have gone through a “cancelled” phase that’s all it was — a phase. If celebrities are publicly ostracized by companies it is usually only temporary until the popularity surrounding the situation dies down. For example, in February of 2021, a country singer was cancelled because of his use of racial slurs. While he was banned from being played on country music stations for four months, radio stations have quietly started playing his music again now that the controversy has died down. 

Celebrities will have a following whether they are in the wrong or not because people idolize them. Even if they get cancelled there are still some people who will support them, and businesses know that so they continue to work with problematic people just to appeal to their audience. However, not everyone has the support of thousands of people no matter what they do. This is why cancel culture has become dangerous, not for the famous people who think they are the most affected, but instead for the younger generation who is still learning how to navigate the internet. 

Some young people have already become the victim of cancel culture due to mistakes they made when they were even younger. Back in the day, when people made mistakes it happened in private and they were able to learn their lesson quietly and without public interference. Now, if you make a mistake and someone shares it online then you are facing the possibility of it going viral and having thousands of people lecture you. So many young kids are learning this lesson the hard way when they send inappropriate messages like threats or racial slurs and the person on the receiving end shares the messages online. 

People are extremely quick to connect the dots and find that person’s personal information like what school they attend, where they live, where they work and sometimes even where they are planning to go to college. Once the post goes viral there is a flood of messages being sent to their workplace to get them fired, their school to kick them out and their college to revoke their admission. 

Although some kids may need to face these consequences before they learn that their behaviour is not okay, there are some teens who get attacked on the internet and they actually did nothing wrong. One girl posted a Tik Tok dancing in her bathing suit while on vacation, but some viewers felt like she was overly tan and was trying to appear as black. She tried to defend herself explaining that she is naturally very tan and gets that dark when she spends a lot of time in the sun. Regardless viewers actually contacted the university she was planning to go to in an attempt to get her admission revoked. This is a claim that could stay with this young girl forever and could ruin the rest of her future. 

For celebrities, being cancelled is just a bump in their career that they will most likely be able to bounce back from. Yet, for all of the young teens on the internet cancel culture could ruin their futures. It seems like accountability for some but may be used as a form of bullying for others. It is important that we make mistakes in order to learn from them, but it is best if we learn from our mistakes not on the internet where everyone will give their opinion. Remind your child to never put anything on the internet that they wouldn’t want a specific person to see. If they wouldn’t want their parents to see it, they shouldn’t post it; if they don’t want their grandparents to see it, they shouldn’t post it; if they don’t want their ex-friend or enemy to see it, they shouldn’t post it because there’s no telling who will share it. 

 

By//Jessica Lee

 

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