Digital resilience: Becoming a better online reporter.


The majority of teens have come across racist or sexist hate speech on social media. 

There are five-steps to building digital resilience.

  1. Prepare them for the ugly side of social media.
  2. Teach them to report, flag and block abusive content.
  3. Help them understand that online is not always reality.
  4. Critical thinking skills: The risks of what they post today and how it will impact their future.
  5. Encourage young people to unplug and socialize more offline – which helps develop empathy towards others.

I was attacked online in 2003, it’s been well over a decade and it seems online hate and trolling is not going away any time soon. Helping our kids become stronger digital leaders can prepare them for the less than fun times online.

Learning to become a stronger and better reporter starts with understanding the terms of service or code of conduct on the app or social media platform you are signed up for.

After I won my landmark case in 2006 for internet defamation and invasion of privacy, I gained a new set of trolls. People who believed I was trying to chill the first amendment right. I hired ReputationDefender to repair my online damage from my attackers in 2003, however now I felt like I had a new flurry of cyber-bullets.

What ReputationDefender taught me was to become educated on all the platforms where the abuse was written about me – in respect to their terms of service or code of conduct (another words – what do they tolerate). Then to start reporting in accordance to how the comments or content that were harassing and attacking me were violating their terms of service or code of conduct.

I would literally spend hours, on many days, writing my reports (emails) to the website’s (forums, bulletin boards, blog sites, newspapers, etc) support team. The majority of time I would successfully get the vile content removed. In some cases I even had users banned.

In teaching our kids to read the terms of service, as it pertains to harassment and abuse, they will not only learn what constitutes hate speech, cyber-stalking, cyberbullying and other forms of online abuse — they will be more in tune with their own online behavior.

In an age of trolling and incivility, we all must do our part to keep our cyber-place a kinder one. Being a better reporter helps all of us.