Time and time again we hear of children who are driven to depression and even suicide because of online bullying and thoughtless comments made by others. Often these others hide behind false names and nick names and get their kicks spruiking their vitriol at people they don’t even know. Recently in Australia a television celebrity was the victim of such an attack – where calls for her to “hang herself” and death threats were directed at her. It could be said she did not manage the situation well. She brought into the discussion, she forwarded tweets and allowed herself to become emersed. Nevertheless all that shows is the lack of understanding about how to deal with such situations, it in no way can condone the actions of these anonymous bullies.
I started iRespectOnline to promote healthy behaviour online, to protect the reputations of the young and to raise awareness for the importance of introducing social media etiquette into the social media space. We can no longer be passive about this.
Education is the key. Unfortunately there are so many people out there from all different backgrounds, and I truly believe many just do not understand the consequences of their actions. What we have to be aware of, is that many of these trolls are only young people. They are risking their reputations and possible criminal charges in the future if they do not start to understand that what they are doing is wrong. Many people are not aware that if they allow certain comments to remain on their blogs they may be guilty of promoting racial, discriminatory or other speech which may actually leave you open to legal action against you.
Healthy debate and a huge range of opinions is what makes the world an amazing place – so this cannot be about banning free speech or censorship. Some say trolls are awesome and make the internet a more interesting place – if they are merely creating debate there is no problem – but where they promote hate this is not acceptable. It is about awareness, education and bringing respect back into our daily lives. Peer and self moderation is the way. We simply say this is NOT acceptable.
When dealing with trolls online the best tips I can provide are:
- Don’t buy into the bullying – don’t “feed” the trolls
- Remove yourself from the discussion
- Block them – do not hesitate to block them, even if it is someone you know
- Call a friend, tell a parent – do not try and cope with it on your own
- If you are being threatened online, call the police and report it. Any threat should be reported.
- Report the bully to the moderators on gaming sites
- Make sure you have the ability to moderate comments on your blog, so that you must approve a comment before it appears.
It is possible to have twitter and facebook accounts suspended – so don’t think there is nothing you can do.
If you have been subjected to abuse, or are feeling depressed or sad – seek help.
Lets work together #trollsmustgo
Please contact us for more information or if you would like us to talk at your school, workplace or organisation.
about the author: http://fionalucas.brandyourself.com/