While digital technology is a by-product of the internet, it has made the world a global village. We must also be realistic and acknowledge that it has bred another form of evil that the world probably did not anticipate with its inception – online violence. Many of us get excited when we use digital technology. I remember the first time I got to use a computer I was as excited as everyone else because I not only felt enlightened, I also had something to talk about with peers, friends and family.
With the evolution of the internet came social media. It is exciting that we can make real time calls and communicate with people from different continents and as far as the north is from the south. This is the same excitement that Naliaka had when she joined Facebook eleven years ago, in the year 2010. She was even happier to join Twitter five years later, as she now stood to be counted among the elite group of Kenyans and humans who are in a platform that is for ‘intellectuals’. With her love for children, Naliaka tweets each and every day on advocacy for Children’s Rights and has many followers including some big NGOs that she has had the pleasure of working with.
“Twitter is not for the weak,” is said to be one of the most common phrases that goes around. Naliaka believes this because she sees the kind of exchanges that happen on the platform. Little did she know that she will one day become a victim of the same. Two months ago, Naliaka, a young beautiful African woman posted a photo of herself for the first time as she was celebrating her birthday parading her big, angelic and contagious smile. The comments were not very kind to her and she had to uninstall the application as she could not bear whatever can of worms she had opened by uploading the photo.
Many people ridiculed her and asked her to go faceless as her face was not for the public. All this was because of the gap between her teeth, something that Africans hold with pride. Many of her abusers were men and others even told her that they would pay her to hide her face. She could not believe that this is what people go through everyday as she now felt it as a victim. She had never stood up to fight for someone as she never thought trolling was this degrading. After a two-week hiatus from the app and crying every day, Naliaka was bold enough to get over it and decided to do something about it. She became an advocate for online safety. She also fights for those bullied.
“Kindness is a choice and has a very big ripple effect.” This is her mantle each and every day as she tweets and retweets. We can all choose to be a Naliaka. Kindness will go a long way.

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