Are you guilty of cyber-bullying without knowing it?

Next time you’re using your social media accounts, take a good, close look at the comments left by you and your friends. I’ll bet you’ll find a few that to anyone else would smack of cyber-bullying. Could any one of us be guilty of cyber-bullying without knowing it?

guilty of cyber-bullying without knowing it?

Are you guilty of cyber-bullying without knowing it?

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in the use of social media. Although everyone is guilty of this to some extent, I’ve noticed that teenagers and young adults in particular are in the habit of making comments to others that, on the surface, seem rude, negative, and even downright insulting. If any one of the comments I’ve seen was directed toward me, I’d be taken aback at the very least and might be emotionally hurt.

At times when I’ve noticed my son doing this, I have attempted to take him to task, only for him to respond impatiently, “Oh Mom, they’re friends! We do this to each other all the time! We’re used to it.”

This may very well be true, but my problem with this is that it creates an environment where others who don’t know us or our friends and family see these comments and think this behavior is acceptable as a general rule – especially children.

We all need to monitor our own online output and ask ourselves this, “Would someone I don’t know well take offense or be hurt by my comments?” If the answer is “yes,” start over. Rewrite your comment as though the person on the other end is someone you don’t know well.

A perfect example of this behavior is a Facebook post I addressed on my personal blog, Feathering the Empty Nest (see upper right) in which a user posted comments that, on the surface were made to appear to be complimentary towards a fat person. The truth is, I took great offense and I explain why in that article.

It’s one thing to talk to and treat each other like this in person and in good humor because we’re not affecting others. The internet, whether we like it or not, is like living in a fishbowl and we should be governed by the same standards we are in our school and work life.

Please think twice about what you leave on the internet for others to see and read.

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