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Freedom of speech is not freedom to abuse, freedom of speech is the right to express your opinion, abusing someone isn't expressing your opinion, it's making someone else feel bad and upsetting them so you can feel better about yourself.


Female, 19  Ireland




Online, one can say more harmful things and feel like they could get away with it because they're on the other side of a screen. Our rights have limitations. We can't go into a school dressed in a Nazi uniform and say it's freedom of speech, because this can cause disruptions between students. Although that's just an example, people should not have to make someone uncomfortable enough that this person feels like they need to end their life. Words DO hurt. Just ask the millions who have lost their lives to bullying... oh wait.


Male, 19  USA


Abuse online is worse than abuse in person because you hear that abuse in your own voice. Freedom of speech is just so you can't be arrested for having an opinion. It gives you no right to abuse another human being. 


Female, 20  Australia


Freedom of speech is freedom to be kind but also freedom to be rude. Despite this, I don't think it is freedom to warrant the death of another.


Female, 19  USA


Freedom of speech does not mean that you can harass or abuse anyone without consequences. We need to figure out a way to make people understand that what you write on the internet is as real as something you say in the real world. It’s not some kind of different "dimension" where you can get away with being mean. If you are mean on the Internet you are a mean person - simple as that.


Female, 20  Sweden


In the Dutch law it says that there is freedom of speech, but at the same time it says you can't say anything discriminating or spread hate. Abusing someone can be discrimination so it is even illegal. Even if it would not be illegal no one should be bullied, it is a simple thing that can make anyone feel unhappy or even unwanted. I think cyber abuse is one of the big underestimated problems of the internet. I found it weird that there aren't a lot of people fighting or even complaining about it. It is weird that sites like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook don't try to help people against cyber bullying. Because we know they monitor most of us anyway, so why not help us while they are doing that?

Male, 20  The Netherlands


The whole online anonymous/ faceless abuse thing makes the abuse more profound for the abused (they start believing that all the horrible traits they think possess must actually BE terrible if even someone they don't know 'calls them out' on them). Freedom is lack of responsibility, whereas liberty is rational personal expression and acceptance of responsibility. The Web breeds irresponsibility because abusers can hide behind false identities.

Female, 19  Russia


You don't even know a person and they can demonize you and call you names while hiding behind a laptop and you really believe that someone or even some people hate you for it. Freedom of speech ends up turning into hate speech. There is no freedom when you slander a religion, race, and or sexual orientation.

Female, 20  USA


Lives can end by abuse so why should people have the right to abuse? Cyber abuse is incredibly thoughtless and wrong.


Female, 18 UK


Stating a respectful opinion is different to abusing someone else for not sharing your opinion. Cyber abuse can be crippling. You have no confirmation of who is sitting behind the screen, and that can make you feel powerless when they say something to you. It can mess with your head. People need to be more aware of social networking dangers and how they can be avoided.


Female, 18 UK


Abuse is abuse, no matter what the medium; it can be very harmful either way.


Male, 19 UK


Yes people have freedom of speech but that means that they are also free to face the consequences of what they say. Seriously it just shows that bullies have become even more cowardly than they already were. The internet can be a good thing but it can also make people faker than ever.


Female, 18  UK


Face to face and online abuse is just as bad and can make people have low self esteem. Being abused online can leave a person feeling alone and can even make them have thoughts of suicide.


Female, 19  UK


Freedom of speech is a luxury that everyone should use to empower and enlighten others, not to hurt them. Don't let it harm you. Would they say it face to face? I found that in my case it was unlikely. People use the internet to mask themselves, to put on a fake persona, a fake courage to upset others. In reality, these are merely attacks on the weak, by the weak. Be strong and rise above their level of immaturity.


Female, 18  UK


Freedom of speech does not allow you to say racist comments, same with abuse.


Male, 18  UK


FOS should be about sharing your opinion in a calm and inoffensive manner, not blatantly bullying or oppressing people because you believe a certain thing (take islamophobia for example- someone posted a picture/joke "bungee jumping: Muslims go for free, no strings attached" which is derogatory and harmful and rude but defend it with FOS, when they should have just said "I disagree with the Islam and find it morally wrong" instead of posting such a vulgar idea. People use freedom of speech as an excuse for bullying which is not what it's about As horrible as cyber bullying is, there is a stigma that the Internet is a harmful and dangerous place whereas in reality it can be a wonderful place to grow and develop opinions. I've met a lot of great people on the Internet who have boosted my self esteem and confidence.


Female, 19 UK 


Abuse is abuse its not right. Fundamentally Freedom of Speech - a person has the right to feel safe and abuse violates that.


Male, 20 UK


No. Nobody understands Freedom of Speech. It is used as a defence for abuse, but really isn't. I think it is over rated, and that it could be easily dealt with if people were not so stupid. Never take anything said on the internet to heart, and if you are sensitive enough to self-harm after internet comments, you should not post onto a platform like YouTube or Social Media's where you are specifically open to abuse.


Male, 19 UK


We have to respect one another, if not then how evolved are we? We have the bill of rights because the human race realised we don't have to abuse one another but instead can work together and achieve a better tomorrow. Abuse, don't do it. Would you like someone to do it to you?


Female, 20 UK


If you are mature and privileged enough to understand the true meaning behind 'freedom of speech' then you should understand that freedom of speech is being able to express opinion and feeling in a diplomatic way of allowing others to relish and understand, without harming another being for no reason. Some people think that 'freedom of speech' is the opportunity to say whatever they want without consequence of another single organism on this whole fucking planet. Clearly from the previous points made, you can see I have a lot of opinion on this particular subject and I could go on and say A LOT MORE.. but instead all I can say is I truly wish I could help you further with this research and stop these bastards from ever harming another human being through online resources (one step at a time). But for now I'll simply stop wasting your time with my rants, but if you have read through my points thank you for taking notice. You'd be one of the first.


Female, 19 UK


It effects the individual just as much. Abuse is abuse. People think they have the right to say anything even without knowing the consequences. Yes you have freedom of speech but does that really include discrimination or harm to another person? I was cyber abused on where people told me to kills myself etc etc. It had a massive impact on my life.


Female, 20 UK


Online people can plot against you in secret, even if you shut down your social media People feel that free speech means they are allowed to say hurtful comments. Even if this was not what it was designed for it is how it has been interpreted. I suppose the one and only good thing about bullying/cyber bullying is that they have to be thinking about you. So at least take pride in that you flood their thoughts with your amazing existence.


Male, 20 UK


Because whilst it's online and in public, you have no where to go and you feel so isolated and depressed, and I've seen it end so badly before, he couldn't get away from it all, so he did what he thought was the only way out, there both equally as bad as each other and unfortunately that's the way some people choose to deal with it. That there should be some type of law against it, a slap on the wrist and telling them off for doing it, isn't going to do anything, these people think it's funny and cool to publicly humiliate and degrade someone and make there life hell, and then basically get away with it, people need to learn that there is a serious consequence if they tell someone to go kill themselves or that there fat and ugly, because otherwise it will not stop until there are serious consequences, the police and courts shouldn't have to wait till something drastic happens because that's not right and not how it should be, because that's when it's too late.


Female, 18 UK




The rules of the internet should be no different to 'reality'. Technically speaking it is, though freedom of speech should not mean inclination to abuse. The majority of abuse I have seen has come through 'anonymous questions' on sites like tumblr but especially, on which I have seen huge amounts of cyber bullying.


Male, 19 UK


I can fully say that both make you feel worthless and may remain in your memory. Not all of us use freedom of speech wisely, and OI am a witness of it.


Female, 18 Argentina


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