Sunday, February 26, 2012

Don't Engage in Online Bullying

According to a recent survey, nearly half of all Wisconsin students think that bullying is a problem. I don’t that’s much of a secret, but with every new advance in technology comes a new opportunity for students to bully each other. There is a very fine line between free speech and slander, and it’s wise to stay away from the latter. But bullying isn’t just a problem for young kids; college students and even adults have been known to bully their peers. So, here are a few tips for keeping things from getting personal with others online.

1. If someone has done something to upset or offend you, the internet isn’t the place to air your grievance. For one, it doesn’t have to be public. But, when you write something about someone else online, you’re inviting others to chime in, which can lead to some really hard feelings, and things can easily get out of hand.

2. If someone writes something about you online, don’t retaliate. It’s okay to clear up any misconceptions and try to clear your good name, but don’t get into an online brawl; no one wins in that situation. On the other hand, things could get very ugly.

3. Just because you don’t mention someone by name doesn’t mean that everyone doesn’t know who you’re talking about. I see this a lot. Someone will post a “cryptic” message about someone else on their friend feed, and others will chime in with their own cryptic messages about that same person. No one has said a name, but everyone knows who they’re talking about – including the victim of this slander. This kind of behavior is extremely immature (although, I’m always surprised at how often adults are the culprits) and should be avoided at all costs.

4. Block anyone who you think is bullying you online. If you can’t see their nonsense, you’re less likely to chime in with your own.

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