Cyber Wellness: How Fit Are Your Online Communities?

For teens and others getting their first tastes of the Internet the implications of making rude remarks about others or posting questionable comments and pictures of themselves might not be clear. Yet the electronic world is critically important to kids and comments online can have lasting effects. And a new study suggests cyberbulling may also be prevalent in some workplaces. What are you doing to keep your community safe?

With November as social media month, schools across the country are educating parents and students about the dangers of cyberbullying.

Negative comments and feedback can spread and develop a life of their own Facebook and the Internet overall.

This is no surprise to most marketers who realize the importance of listening to online communications about their brands and responding promptly to negative feedback, debunking false claims, and/or expeditiously attempting to take the conversation offline.

But for teens and others the implications of making rude remarks about others or posting questionable comments and pictures of themselves might not be as clear.

According to Dr. Adria O’Donnell, Clinical and Consulting Psychology, Written words linger in the mind much longer than any spoken word, and they linger in cyberspace for what may turn out to be “forever”. A bully that sends messages in writing can inflict just as much pain as any bully on a playground – if not more due to the “no escape” nature of cyberbullying.

And, new research from doctors from the University of Sheffield and Nottingham University indicates that cyberbullying may also be a workplace problem. Their research indicates eight out of 10 employees have witnessed one or more incidents of cyber bullying in the last six months. The information will be presented at Annual Festival of Social Science conference being organized by the Economic and Social Research Council this week.

More than 90 countries across the world are also expected to commemorate Safer Internet Day with activities to raise public awareness on the responsible use of online and mobile technology on Tuesday 5 February 2013.
The event is being organized by Insafe, a European network of Awareness Centres promoting safe, responsible use of the Internet and mobile devices to young people and cofounded by the European Union. The event will be the tenth edition of its kind. This year’s theme is online rights and responsibilities and the slogan is “Connect with respect”.

How are you policing your online communities to make them safer for visitors?

Photo Credit: Beck Tench

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