Influencer Suede Brooks first found refuge in the YouTube community at 12 when she became the target of extreme bullying in school. Brooks created her own YouTube channel as a coping mechanism and was able to rebuild her self-esteem through her videos. For Anti-Bullying Week 2020, Brooks spoke to Screen Shot for the Not Just a Comment campaign about her personal experience with online bullying and the impact it can have on someone’s mental well-being.
View this post on Instagram
The internet has helped me in more ways than I can even fathom. It has helped me find my voice and made me feel protected by always being able to reach people wherever in the world. YouTube and social media, in general, has let me build this family from all over the world and I am so blessed to be able to have people all around the world constantly look out for me and care for who I really am.
The impact that comment had on my mental well-being was astronomical at the beginning of my career because I was very young and didn’t know that the internet had a very scary and dark side to it. As I grew older, I learned that there are always going to be people that judge you for your looks, the way you dress, the things you do, etc. and you won’t always win! Now that I am 19, I try not to let complete strangers judge me because they only see what I choose to put on the internet.
View this post on Instagram
I realised that bullying could take place online when I was about 12 years old and I received extremely negative comments because I had braces and a lisp due to having them at a young age. It was definitely a different experience because people don’t really have the guts to say certain things in real life, so they take it to the internet where they can type away and think that it won’t affect us, and in reality, it does, extremely.
I still get affected here and there when people comment about things I can’t control, but for the most part, I try to completely ignore them.
I think my mindfulness has grown so much the past few years due to the fact that this is my career. Before I post something I always have a small thought in the back of my head “will I get hate comments for this?” and I know this is something I have to work on every day because I like to preach how important it is to be unapologetically yourself.
Having a massive following does not really boost my confidence at all, at the end of the day, I started this as a hobby and I still look at it like that even though it is where I make the majority of my money. I am a normal 19-year-old girl just trying to navigate through this thing called life!
A few things that help me feel confident are only following people I look up to on social media and make me feel happy. This is something I always suggest doing because at one point I was only following girls that literally looked perfect all the time and they made me very self-conscious even though I knew for a fact that there was so much more behind the scenes that people didn’t see.
A few boundaries that I have set on my social platforms in order to keep some aspects of my life safe from online bullies is only posting things that genuinely make me happy. I like to spread positivity and love but at the same time try to be as authentic and me as possible.
I thought about this question a lot and there wouldn’t be anything I would want to change. The internet has helped me in situations more than real life and I am very blessed to be able to reach the world within a click of a button.
The best thing I would recommend people to do for Anti-Bullying Week 2020 is to spread positivity on all your favourite influencers’ pages, at the end of the day we are all normal people and it never hurts to compliment someone here and there!
For Anti-Bullying Week 2020, Screen Shot is supporting the anti-bullying charity Ditch The Label in its mission to tackle online abuse. Our Not Just a Comment campaign features 6 inspiring change-makers who know first hand what it’s like to receive hate online, including Suede Brooks. They shared with us the worst comments they’ve ever received as they come together to highlight the impact that words can have on each and every one of us.
Read the facts, hear the comments, share with anyone who you think might be suffering from bullying and donate if you can to help support the incredible work Ditch The Label is doing. Share the hurtful comments you’ve received online using #NotJustAComment and you too raise awareness.