Pro baseballer shares three easy phrases people can use to stop a plague of hurtful online comments.

On 23 May, pro-wrestler Hana Kimura, who was one of the six current house members on Netflix’s Terrace House reality show, was confirmed dead at the age of 22.

Her sudden death rocked both the nation and viewers around the world, and in the wake of the news it became apparent that Kimura had been the victim of cyberbullying. One of Kimura’s final posts on social media showed her self-harming and apologising for “being weak” when dealing with the opinions thrown at her online.

The number of hurtful hate comments on Kimura’s social media accounts has led many to believe that cyberbullying was largely to blame for her suspected suicide, and now more and more people who live their lives in the spotlight are coming out to condemn this threatening online behaviour.

Pro baseballer Yu Darvish recently attracted attention for his comments on the matter, explaining the next-level amount of hate that gets thrown at celebrities online with the below tweet, which reads:

“To those who feel the way to cope with occasional slanderous comments is by just ignoring them. The slander aimed at celebrities is like this.”

While many believe it may be easy to ignore the occasional hurtful comment online, when they’re constant, like a plague of locusts, it becomes far less easy to cope with the situation.

As someone who’s been in the spotlight for a while, playing for some of the world’s most elite baseball teams as star pitcher, Darvish knows firsthand what it’s like to be caught in the middle of a swarm of hurtful comments online. However, it’s taught him to develop some special coping techniques, which he shared in this tweet below (translation follows).

“Three phrases to effectively counter cyberbullies:

・That was good 
・You seem happy, I’m happy 

Basically, you can just keep using the above three phrases randomly, regardless of whatever they’ve said, and the shit stirrers will disappear. The important thing is to think of the other party as if they’re AI, and to become AI as well. Please use it.”

It may sound almost too simple to work, but there’s actually a lot of logic to support the effectiveness of Darvish’s approach. Cyberbullies feed off of any crumbs that show their words have hit a nerve with their target, and so the less affected you seem, the less they’ll want to engage.

Completely ignoring them, however, motivates them to keep adding fuel to the fire, so throwing them some random words every now and then, that don’t have any relation to anything they’re saying, is like throwing sand in their faces. When you show all the emotion and care of a computer-generated bot, it puts up a wall between you and the bully that they can no longer penetrate, leaving them confused and frustrated. This takes all the excitement out of their unhealthy mind games, and it doesn’t take long for them to stop leaving comments on your account.

Of course, this is all good in theory, but in practice it takes some getting used to. Still, people online were full of support for Darvish’s approach, sending the tweet viral with over 340,000 likes and a huge number of positive comments.

“I agree – it’s so important to not give the shit stirrers what they want.”
“Top professionals have to work on ways to preserve their mentality so we need to take heed of advice like this.”
“I actually tried this out and it was really effective. Thank you so much.”
“I wonder if anybody will develop an AI that automatically sends out replies like this to all slanderous comments?”
“The key really is to make it difficult for the other person to get involved.”
“This is like training to develop a mind of steel.”

With the topic of cyberbullying now at the centre of a number of high-profile conversations following Kimura’s death, Japan’s Communications Minister, Sanae Takaichi, has said the government plans to bolster countermeasures by making it easier to identify individuals who make defamatory posts online.

The hand of the law really does need to play a big part in coming down hard on cyberbullies. Because not everyone is as outspoken and fearless as Yu Darvish when it comes to slamming down unwanted comments on Twitter.

If you or someone you know is in Japan and having suicidal thoughts, there are people here to help. Click here for more info.

Source: Jin
Featured image: Twitter/@faridyu

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