Digital citizenship is an important subject that I believe people too often brush under the rug. Social media can be dangerous. There are so many predators online that are lurking behind lies. In today’s world, I believe that we not only need to inform students of the dangers, but also be sure to practice what we preach.
I look at digital citizenship as being social media etiquette. This includes all forms of technology. A person can suffer in many different ways from being improper or improperly treated on the internet. For example, if a person is to post a racy photograph, many people will see it, and it can happen upon a boss or future boss. This automatically can change a person’s mindset of another. Using the internet in the wrong way can also cause cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying in itself is harmful. There are many cases of cyberbullying that go unknown. I read a wonderful article pertaining to cyberbullying, and how to help prevent it. 7 Ways to Prevent Cyberbullying. A lot in this article sounded as if it would be helpful, but one piece that hit home to me was when the author suggested to restore the “victims” self-respect. Amen to that. I have seen first hand these horrible things that can happen and what is unsettling is thinking of what is going on in the “victims” mind behind closed doors. It is a natural defensive move to close off and act as if we feel fine. In truth, it is a dark and lonely world when you lose self-respect. No person, young or old, should go through that. Especially not alone. If we can help these people cope with their problem and reattach their self-esteem, they will naturally gain self-respect for themselves. It is a long process, and I believe that many people understand the concept of restoring self-respect, but what many don’t understand is that it takes time. It is a waiting game, a patience-tester. Be patient, be kind, be positive, be loving. It is much harder to hate yourself if you are so loved. Cyberbullying is not above or below any other form of bullying. It is equally as hard. Many people assume that it is the victims’ fault for endulging in social media that they know is untrustworthy. But the truth is, people can be conniving. A person can post a picture of a puppy (all puppies are cute.) and yet somewhere, somebody is thinking a negative thought about that specific picture. One negative thought and one tiny action is all it takes for cyberbullying to begin.