photo courtesy of hackbusters.com
I spent a couple of hours looking at articles about digital courtesy. This is your etiquette online (netiquette). I thought that it would be productive to discuss some of the problem children of the online community. I read the Teach Thought’s Staff’s “7 Ways to Prevent Cyberbullying” and was interested in the ways that we can stop our children and students from being bullied online.
Cyberbullying is the torment and harassment of people online. The article gives us seven statistics, which it calls “surprising”. Forty-five percent of children “admit they have experience bullying online”. This is surprising. Almost half of the children surveyed (I can’t say that these children represent all of America) have been bullied online. More than forty percent say “they have become the bullies’ target”. Being a target for a bully is very distressing. I have been the target of a bully (albeit in real life) and I can say that while she was relentless at school, I was able to get away when I went home. Online, there is no relief. Seventy percent “admit they have witnessed cyberbullying”. I don’t know if any of those surveyed have ever reported what they witnessed, but I hope so. Ninety-two percent of those bullied online “are held through chatting and commenting on social media websites”. This includes Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Victims of cyberbullying are three to nine times “more likely to consider committing suicide”. This is so sad, because lately I feel like the news is full of suicide victims who were cyberbullied because the laws against it are inadequate. Two in ten “victims will inform their parents or teaches of online attacks”. I told my mother about my bully and she was able to open a channel of communication with the principal who (after I resorted to violence to stop it) eventually spoke with the girl’s mother and the bullying eventually stopped (sometimes school administrators don’t act decisively which is part of the problem). I think that communicating the problem will help it stop, so we need to be sure to look for changes in children and find out if they are being bullied in any way, not just in person.
The article gives seven ways to prevent cyberbullying.
- “Talk”: Be patient. Ask about the problem and open up general discussion about what cyberbullying is, if they know anyone who is or has been cyberbullied, and what to do if they know about cyberbullying.
- “Use the celebrity card”: Because children choose role models among celebrities, many can be used to fight cyberbullying. Many make comments against cyberbullying in social media.
- “Monitor online activity”: Nothing, once posted, can be lost, therefore can be saved and used for evidence. Apps for iPhone, such as Pumpic, exist to help parents monitor a child’s social media and text messages (yes including deleted ones!!), calls, and online behavior. If the child is being bullied, then the parents know and can take steps to stop it, if the child is doing the bullying, then steps can also be taken to stop it.
- “Engage parents and youth”: Establish committees to control and discuss online bullying. Create rules and regulations, including ways to report cyberbullying.
- “Build a positive climate”: Involve everyone in the fight against cyberbullying, including the bullies and victims. Give them a mutual task so they are able to “see each other from a different perspective”.
- Volunteer in the community”: This can be used to help “identify the victims and redirect bullies’ behavior”.
- “Restore self-respect”: Don’t just work on the victim, many bullies use their hostility to hide internal pain. Act thoroughly, talk to someone before acting, collect as much evidence as possible, and join with parents and teachers to figure out the best way to stop cyberbullying.
The second article I looked at “Dealing with Digital Cruelty” deals with making negative comments into positive action. Online, no one is safe. Anonymity gives some people the right to be uninhibited. Taking charge is the best answer. You are responsible for how you feel, how you interpret and react to negative comments. You can use negative comments creatively, and find a way to change your work in positive ways. You may feel attacked, but that doesn’t mean the comments don’t have merit.
The comments you want to ignore come from TROLLS!!!!
No, not those.
Yep. There it is.
Trolls can be defined as people who “think of their online life ‘as a kind of game with rules and norms that don’t apply to everyday living'”. They don’t care that they are harming people, or seem like idiots just because they want to try and destroy someone else’s well being or insert their opinion, no matter how ridiculous.
Try not to take harsh comments seriously. Sometimes they can be used to improve your work and sometimes they can be ignored. Take any critics, even if they appear to be destructive, and make them constructive.