14 Dec Internet Social Responsibility
In the spirit of this Holiday Season, we wanted to share some social responsibility that may help everyone use the internet more safely and wisely.
Social Responsibility is an ethical framework and suggests that an entity has an obligation to act for the benefit of the society at large. One of the primary drivers in the past century has been the utilization of the internet. It’s a duty that internet users have to perform to maintain a balance between the economy and ecosystems. More and more frequent news stories are appearing about people of all ages inflicting harm on themselves because of cyber-bullying. Every day on social media one may encounter fictitious news stories shared by millions and even by some of their friends. As technology advances and the online community is growing, we must take it upon ourselves to make our online experiences and connections a positive one as to protect ourselves and others from harm.
Extremism is the holding of extreme political or religious views. Since social media is a neutral communications platform, it’s often hard to distinguish between what is free speech and what is hate speech. Social media can be a platform used for good and evil as well. So far, the best way to combat extremism online is to report abusive accounts and have web pages deleted. It is not always effective, seeing as how one page can get removed and another one pops right on up, but it’s a start. The goal is to drive the extremists out of our online communities. It’s not a single lane path, but we must all learn how to deconstruct propaganda and become critical consumers of information.
One thing that is seemingly more prevalent in social media is the constant sharing of fake news. Sharing fake news can do a lot more harm than it does good. It can cause an upset amongst users in an online community and quickly alienate users from which may have some questioning their safety in their real-world communities. A pivotal way to combat fake news is to do your research. If it’s too good—or extreme—to be true, do a quick search. Make sure the sources are credible before sharing something that can otherwise prove to be harmful to many people. You can also block and report fake news sharing accounts or websites.
Combat Online Abuse and Cyberbullying
Abuse and cyberbullying can appear in social media, online gaming, and mobile phone applications or messages. Young people and even children can experience some form of abuse online, whether it may be cyberbullying, sexual abuse or exploitation. Though foolproof solutions haven’t been reached yet, there are a number of preventative measures that can be taken against bullying and abuse.
- If you know someone being bullied, don’t just stand by. Do something. If stopping the bullying isn’t a possibility, at least stand with the victim to let the bully know their behavior will not be tolerated.
- Save the evidence. Screenshots are essential. Share the evidence with someone you know that can help.
- Don’t positively reinforce the aggressor. Don’t share their harmful posts and mean messages.
- Work with children. If you notice a change in behavior, talk to them about what’s going on. It may not always be bullying, but if it is, you’ll need to hear their account first hand and figure out how to properly take action.
- Respond thoughtfully, not quickly. Parents don’t always know that their response can make things worse for the child. Interventions need to be well thought out before being carried out.
- Don’t respond or retaliate. Aggressors sometimes feed off reactions because they feel like it gives them power over their victims. Retaliation can turn a victim into a bully and cause a chain reaction. The best move is to remove yourself from the situation.
- Report abusive content even if it’s not directed at you. And don’t share anything harmful.
Being socially responsible starts with us. Even if we unknowingly post or share something harmful, there– is always time to learn and correct behavior.