The bullets recently fired at James Charles during his recent feud with fellow beauty vloggers Jeffree Star and Tati Westbrook reflect a bigger problem going on in the online arena. These days, anyone can voice their opinion or post slander online without being based on fact. For all of us, there is a danger of getting carried away in believing unjustified online claims. As technology becomes more central to people’s lives, cyberbullying is on the rise.

Recently, Nicole Curran, the wife of NBA team the Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob, was hit with the full force of the BeyHive. Nicole received death threats and had to delete her Instagram account after a video circulated of her talking to Jay-Z over Beyoncé. Apparently, she was trying to be a “good hostess” and was asking Jay-Z what he wanted to drink, as the couple were their guests. According to Nicole, the noise of the crowd forced her to lean over Beyoncé to confirm his preference. It was Beyoncé’s apparent displeasure of her husband’s interaction with Nicole that shook her fans.

“There was no hostility,” Nicole later told ESPN in an interview. “I was trying to be a good hostess. I’ve never experienced cyberbullying like this,” she added. “I can’t believe our players go through this. That kids go through this.”

This timely example shows us what can happen when the mob mentality and cyberbullying gets out of control. Suicide suggestions and death threats are not okay.

Just because we may appear to have a sense of anonymity online, our comments still have impact in real life. Thinking before you type is as important as thinking before you speak.

If you or someone you know is the target of cyberbullying, contact Netsafe by emailing help@netsafe.org.nz, text ‘Netsafe’ to 4282, call tollfree on 0508 NETSAFE (0508 638 723) or report online using their online form.

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