With all the communication happening on the Internet and comments being written on Social Media, we sometimes tend to forget the feelings of the person behind a post or picture. Through the increased use of communication technology, cyberbullying has become increasingly common. It is very easy to criticize and be hard on someone, as you don’t have to deal with the reaction of the other person. However, everyone deserves to be treated with respect.
Luckily, there are many persons and organizations which work actively to create awareness for this issue and draw attention to a good purpose. I’d like to share a few with you.
The statement ”Think Before You Type” brings it to the point and is also the name of an organization which was co-founded by the teen sisters Lauren and Victoria Coaxum. The organization ”Think Before You Type” follows the mission to raise awareness about cyberbullying, promote positive self-esteem, and encourage other young people to use the internet for good.
Some time ago I came across a video on Ted Talk from Wael Ghonim, an Internet activist and computer engineer. In his video “Let’s design social media that drives real change”, which I strongly recommend you to watch, he says:
”Say you want to say something that is not based on a fact, pick a fight or ignore someone that you don’t like. These are all natural human impulses, but because of technology, acting on these impulses is only one click away”. He made direct experience with this himself when he had to face the consequences of having anonymously created a Facebook page to help spark the Egyptian revolution. His involvement later on lead to the foundation of the Tahrir Academy – A non profit organization that fights poverty, improves education and increases political and human-rights awareness through utilizing technology and Internet. He is also the author of the book “Revolution 2.0: The power of people is greater than the people in power” where he among others address “how a generation growing up networked keeps spawning “free radicals” – people who teach themselves how to use technology to build community, share powerful messages, and ultimately weave movements for social change”. I think his work deserves all attention because dealing with social media and its consequences – let it be good or bad – is something that should matter to all of us.
A personality who uses his influence to create awareness for respectful dealing in the Internet is Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg – often called the world most unknown celebrity although he currently has the most subscribers at YouTube. PewDiePie is aware of the impact he has on his young audience and he manages with care. In a podcast he states that also he has got his share of online harassment and trolls but managed to ignore them and stand the pressure. He states: “It is easier to criticize the ones who stand up and try to do something than those passively sit down and do nothing”. Today he has reached the number of 43 million subscribers, but what really matters to him, is how he can reach out and talk to his audience. Together he and his fans, or Bro Army as he prefers to call them, has collected over a 1 million US dollar for charity. He says “I would like to call myself entrepreneur/philanthropist and continue to invest more in the future to see a change for the better in the world. I have the chance and I want to take it”. It makes him happy when he can read in the comments from his audience (mostly very young) how they donate money for the first time. He continues: “To get young people to care about other humans and get them to understand that the world is not too big for everyone to do something – that gives me a purpose”. His way of managing his channel for a good purpose really underlines the title of the book from Wael Ghonim “The power of people is greater than the people in power”. PewDiePie is very humble and always states, that he could never ever have become so big without his fans and I think it is great that he and his “Bro Army” use their power to make a positive impact for the world and to amplify the good.
With social media we all have the tools, technology and the power to spread good and uplifting news, make a difference by creating awareness for helpless people but most important of all, to stop all hatred. People actively working to eliminate cyberbullying and spreading the good are doing good deeds – and their work is so important! We can all contribute and take the lead in our own social networks to create awareness for thoughtfulness, civility and mutual understanding and to click for the good. If you know some examples – individuals or organizations which work for this, please share it with me.