Are You Being Bullied Online? Actor Ananya Panday’s Initiative So+ May Be Able To Help

Posted: July 2, 2019

Cyberbullying can and does happen to everyone. Ananya Panday’s initiative So+ aims to provide those being bullied, with resources and tips to protect themselves.

If I received a rupee for every time I have been called “feminazi” or “fake feminist” online, I would be a rich woman. What happens to me is very mild though; compared to what many others have to face online. Irrespective of whether one is a man or a woman, an adult or a child, a celebrity or just a regular person, anyone in today’s world who has a social media presence is a potential target. And the anonymity that social media provides is an irresistible draw for bullies and trolls.

Ask, actor Ananya Panday, daughter of yesteryear actor Chunky Panday, who was recently bullied online by a girl who claimed to be her schoolmate. She alleged that Ananya had lied about getting admission into the University of Southern California. The accusations were soon proved to be false when Ananya shared a picture of herself with her acceptance letters from the University.

“It’s never okay to bully anyone – creating fake conversations, stories and screenshots is very dangerous and can seriously damage people’s lives. So please be loving, positive and kind,” she had said at the time.

Now, the young actor has gone a step ahead and started an initiative, So+ (So Positive) to help others who are being cyberbullied. “When I was being bullied, I didn’t know how to go about the whole situation and had there been a platform like this, it would have been easier for me,” she said.

On World Social Media Day, she launched So+, which she calls a Digital Social Responsibility initiative, with a video in which she shares her own experience of bullying, as well as relevant statistics.

Talking about the kind of help that So+ would provide, Ananya said, “Through this initiative, I want to build a community which is against social media bullying. I will be posting details about bullying and also put out information about what people can do to report bullying. We would lobby for social media empathy and constructive criticism with this initiative. For example, how they can report and block bullies on social media platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram. I will also give out numbers of certain counsellors who they can get in touch with, besides creating a direct line with me to talk sometimes about the issues they are facing.”

A recent study by UK-based consumer tech review firm Comparitech has shown that 37% of Indian parents believe that their child has been cyberbullied at least once –the highest out of the 28 countries surveyed. Interestingly, the same study shows that India it falls back on the parameters of awareness of cyberbullying and the existence of anti-bullying laws. Basically, while Indian children are cyberbullied the most, there is not enough awareness about the problem, and nor are there specific laws to protect the bullied.

Another survey by Point of View, showed that a majority of respondents, when asked, “Have you ever been trolled, bullied, or harassed online?” said yes.

https://twitter.com/povmumbai/status/1145673536880594944

In such a scenario, Ananya’s initiative is a much needed one. Kudos to the young actor for being inspired by her own experience to do good.

Image source: YouTube

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Vijayalakshmi Harish is a book blogger and writer. To paraphrase her librarian, she is a

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