Newcomer Ananya Panday says online bullying can be extremely daunting as it not only disturbs the victim but also family members. The "Student of the Year 2" actor was at the receiving end of accusations on social media that she lied about getting selected in a prestigious US university.
Ananya eventually shot down the rumours by posting a photo of her with the university's letter of acceptance. In an interview with PTI, the actor said social media bullying is quite prevalent in the society nowadays and it affected not just her but "everyone around me".
"It affected my family because they felt that I have worked so hard in my entire life, and that's why is someone bringing me down.
"I realized people believe everything, whatever is fed to them online. I feel that they are being really irresponsible as they are spreading incorrect information. They need to be more responsible," Ananya said.
The actor said the bullying was "daunting for sure" with moments of doubt but she emerged stronger as she had a solid support system of friends and family. It eventually became a trigger for her to launch 'So Positive', a special initiative against social media bullying which she had been thinking for a while.
"'So Positive' is here to tell people that if they don't have people to talk to in life, then they can talk to me on this digital platform. I feel they are not the only ones going through this," she added.
The initiative aims at spreading awareness about social media bullying and the measures that can be taken by the victims in order to deal with it. The 20-year-old actor said she was initially scared as she did not know how people would react to the initiative but felt it was an important topic to talk about as it is barely discussed.
"I believe that ignorance is bliss and I believe in quietly doing your work and ignoring stuff, that's also because I am slightly more thick skinned... But I have to realise that not everyone is the same and they might not be able to handle it in the same way.
"So, I want to provide people with every option they can deal with it. To build the community, to create awareness and just to let people know that they are not alone and they have someone to talk to," Ananya said.