Upstanders: We all need to step-up
In an age of cruelty and trolling, it’s important to equip young people to stand up to online hate and cyberbullying.
We often hear about being an upstander, however do you actually know what it means to be one?
An UPSTANDER is someone who recognizes when something is wrong and acts to make it right. When we stand up for what is right, and do our best to help support and protect someone who is being hurt, we are being socially responsible.
There are no age requirements to be an upstander, anyone can participate (and should).
Why do we need upstanders?
Almost half of 1,089 11 to 25-year-olds questioned for the Safety Net report had experienced threatening or nasty social media messages, emails or texts.
Two-thirds said they would not tell their parents if they experienced something upsetting online.
It’s not only the young people
In the last 2017 PEW Research survey, 66 percent of adults witnessed online harassment, while 41 percent of us have been victims. Almost two-thirds, 67 percent of young people in this same survey, said they have experienced some form of online abuse.
There are no boundaries
From parents to teachers to doctors to celebrities to politicians — no is immune from being the target of online abuse.
When adults are the targets, but they are also the ones throwing the insults, how do untangle this web of digital hate to viewers, especially children? Aren’t the grownups supposed to be the role models? In some cases, aren’t they supposed to be people we respect?
In today’s world, your online reputation can dictate your future. Whether you’re applying to colleges or interviewing for jobs — your name will likely be put through the Google rinse cycle.
It’s not only your social media content that will be reviewed, more importantly is your online behavior. How do you interact with others in cyberspace? Your online behavior is a reflection of your offline character.
Your online behavior is an extension of your online reputation.
Never doubt you don’t a second chance to make a first impression — today that first impression is likely your digital one.
If you see someone struggling online, how can you help?
5 Ways you can be an upstander:
1. Never perpetuate hate or fake news. Don’t forward, like, or retweet distasteful comments or images.
2. Report and flag abusive, mean, hateful content to the social platform.
3. Reach out to someone that is struggling. Private message them, even if it’s only a virtual hug. Let them know you are there for them.
4. Kindness is contagious. Talk about it with your kids. Read headlines of people doing good things for other people — then get involved.
5. Lead by example not only for your children, but for your colleagues, friends, and family.
Be proactive, forward this to a friend. Everyone needs to be part of an upstander revolution.