People can hide behind anonymity online and will/can say things they wouldn't dare say in person. It is never okay to abuse--freedom of speech is a right that we have. We should never use that right to harm others. We should never harm others, period.
Female, 25 USA
21-30 YEAR OLDS VOICE
FREEDOM OF SPEECH
The abuse online is much worse, thousands of people jump on a person without a real reason or because they feel better than him/her. We are all lions behind a display but, most of the time, we don't say what we really think when we are face to face with that person. Thanks to the freedom of speech everyone can say what he thinks in any situation. But sometimes freedom of speech turns into freedom to abuse in the hands of fools.
Male, 22 Italy
Freedom of speech should allow you to share your opinions and views, but not berate the opinions and views of others. Most people seem unwilling to speak out about it due to the ease with which evidence can "disappear". When I warned a girl that I was screen shotting her hateful and hurtful messages to me she hacked my computer and shut it down. It required fixing in a shop afterwards. It felt like a terrifying invasion of my personal space and privacy.
Female, 22 UK
Freedom to say what you like does not give you the freedom to mentally/physically or emotionally hurt someone.
Male, 24 UK
Freedom of speech gives the freedom to express ones opinions and views. It does not, however, give freedom to harass and harm others. Cyber abuse is just as harmful as abuse face to face and can cause serious harm to the reviewer of the abuse.
Female, 22 UAE
Ugh, the trolls I have had to deal with using this (Freedom of Speech) argument is unreal. I won't go into too much detail but they throw names at you - you then bat the names away or report them; "Freedom of speech it's my opinion I can say what I want and you can't do anything". It's a growing problem which is unlikely to be stopped unless action is taken. Pretty sickening to think people are killing themselves due to others hiding being a monitor throwing out verbal abuse.
Male, 22 UK
Online abuse is around you the whole time and it is not over if you are home or something. Abuse is not an opinion or something. It is just harassment. And everybody should have the right to feel well which is not possible if they are being abused.
Female, 21 Germany
You're using your freedom of speech to impede someone else in their life/pursuit of happiness, which violates freedom of speech. It's not okay in any situation, no matter where the bully is coming from or what they see as a flaw in the victim.
Male, 22 USA
Abuse, whether it's happening face to face or online, has a HUGE devastating impact on the person being abused. Either way, it's going to leave a scar, and either way, it is not okay. Freedom of speech is for me something totally unattached to abuse. You are free to have opinion, you are free to express it, as long as that said opinion isn't in any way abusive, mean, racist, ect. These are two different things, and using freedom of speech as an excuse to verbally abuse someone is not only idiotic. Cyber abuse is real; cyber abuse is dangerous and needs to be stopped. (This applies to any kind of abuse, of course.) I've seen people falling deep in depression and self-hate after being cyber abused. I wish more people would care about others being bullied, both in real life and on the internet. They need to realize it's that kind of tragic experiences that destroy people's soul and joy of living.
Female, 27 France
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
Cyber abuse invades your own home where you should feel safe and loved.
Female, 23 UK
We have a moral obligation to use this right (Freedom of Speech) responsibly; abuse with words is derogatory and would be an overstepping of bounds for this right. People need to be made aware that it is their responsibility as a bystander to step in when they witness it happening, since so much cyber abuse takes place in a public or semi-public atmosphere with witnesses.
Male, 24 USA
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
An anonymous assailant can be discounted easier as somebody who doesn't actually know you but they can be harder to silence. There is a difference between free speech or free assembly and willful malicious abuse and hateful demeaning bigotry.
Male, 29 Canada
No matter what form it comes in, the abuse stays with you. Words hurt more than any physical pain I've ever felt and in my lower moments every word comes back to me and if I'm not careful I sometimes convinces myself that those comments were true. No matter where it's said abuse of another person is disgraceful. You can have your own opinion on anything and everything but that doesn't give you the right to share it. Firmly stick by the phrase " if you have nothing nice to say then say nothing at all" you can disagree with something or someone without having to abuse them verbally.
Female, 25 Scotland
Freedom of speech is just meant as the ability for the people to not be censored by their government, it’s not a get out of jail free card to say whatever you want.
Male, 27 USA
On the Internet, there are a lot more people that can gang up on you and you'll never know who they are. Although you're not being physically hurt, it is just as damaging to the mind. People are emboldened by the anonymity of the Internet and use it as a platform to say cruel and malicious things to people. It is a serious problem with serious side-effects and should not be taken lightly. We need to make people more aware of this problem and take steps to try and reduce the occurrences of cyber abuse, be it reporting/flagging comments/posts, banning someone, deleting an account, etc.
Female, 26 USA
It's easy to say horrible things to a screen, it's not a person in front of you, it's word and pictures. And you can't defend yourself, you can't show how much you've been hurt how much it's a terrible thing. There is no freedom to abuse. Of course, we need to have the freedom of speech, but not the freedom to hurt, harass other people because of what they are. You can critic an idea, but it do not give you the right to attack someone because of it. I have seen cyber abuse on a large scale. Online, it's easy to start a "movement" of harassment and abuse individuals in large numbers. I think that in particular is very dangerous.
Female, 23 USA
Abuse online is worse because sometimes you can't even remove yourself from the situation, even if you delete your blog or whatever you can still get abuse from people. Face to face you can walk away, not always, but a lot of the time. Also, a lot of people use the Internet as an escape from their actual lives so to just have the abuse follow you no matter where you go makes it worse and more pervasive in someone's life.
Female, 25 USA