Cybersmile talks digital abuse with Michael Chopra
POSITIVITY 1 – 0 CYBERBULLIES
It’s time to blow the whistle on negativity and award some penalties for digital foul play. (That’s right, right?)
If you somehow managed to miss the very discrete hints, our latest interview has a distinctly sporty flavour as we chat to Cybersmile supporter and pro-footballer, Michael Chopra!
How would you describe your online life?
Semi active.. I keep my Facebook and Twitter handles up to date with what’s going in my career and talk about my interests including sports and music and those kind of things. I am just in the process of designing my own website.
We know you have had some experiences with trolling, do you feel social media is a blessing or a curse?
You know, social media is a blessing and a curse. It’s fantastic to be able to interact with your fans and the world in general directly, but at the same time, it encourages a sort of impulsiveness where if you just want to vent about something, you can blast a message out to the world before you’ve had a chance to really think it through. So the spur of the moment piece can be a problem. It encourages people to talk first and think later, and once you’ve sent those words out, there’s no getting them back.
What would you suggest to those also affected in this way, and how they can resolve it?
Online abuse is a horrible, horrible thing. Just recently there was a case with American athlete Kurt Schilling, who had a proud papa moment and posted about his daughter’s spot on a university softball team, only to receive the most hateful and vile responses. Kurt responded with a long blog post and some of the trolls actually lost their jobs, but that isn’t enough to keep it from happening. I think people who say such hateful things online have a compulsion to shock and draw attention to themselves, all while hiding behind an internet that remains pretty faceless. It’s discouraging, but it also says something about the human condition. Seeing what trolls do online inspires me to be a more empathetic and considerate in my day to day interactions. There is a lot of pain out there, you never know what people are suffering from, so I make it a point to treat all people with whom I come in contact with kindness and respect, which is my personal antidote to the blatant hatred and aggression that you see online. It’s quite healing.
Do you have a favourite positive quote?
”It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.”
If you could choose 7-10 songs that make you feel happy what ones would you choose?!