Last night was the finale of the SyFy show "The Internet Ruined My Life."
Having watched it and seeing innocent people being hurt online, to people being fired for hurtful posts to videos that wannabe famous people got arrested for --- and more, the show is very telling.
Some on the show just did foolish things without thinking and paid the price for it. Last night's finale featured two people who were targeted for absolutely no reason at all.
The need that our country has to make cruel comments about another person should be a wake-up call.
To adults and to kids! And when I say kids, keep in mind that most social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. have legal ages for kids (most begin at age 13) for kids to have these accounts.
We live in an age where everyone thinks that just because they're hiding behind a screen, that gives them the right to be cruel and even threatening.
This afternoon four experts: Sue Scheff, cyber advocate and author of "Google Bomb: The Untold Story of the $11.3M Verdict That Changed the Way We Use the Internet, Diana Graber , Co-Founder, CyberWise; Founder, Cyber Civics, Toni Birdsong, Author, content strategist, & family tech blogger at Intel and myself, Ross Ellis, Internet Safety Expert and founder and CEO, STOMP Out Bullying participated in an after show blab about the dangers of being online, how people get hurt and what solutions and resources are available.
As Sue Scheff said "It's not the Internet that hurts us, it's the people." And she is 100 percent correct.
Why do people feel they can post anything they want even at the expense of others? Because they can and they have digital screens to hide behind.
People have feelings. Rather than post mean things, we should all learn to be empathetic and kind. If one has nothing nice to say, than no post is even necessary. And why would anyone be so mean as to tell someone online to kill themselves?
Parents must be tech savvy, even if you're kids have to teach you how to be. In turn parents must raise kind, empathetic and responsible digital citizens. And it not a once or twice conversation. It's ongoing communication.
Kids check their social media a minimum of 100 times a day just to see what's being said about them.
Let's make a shift so that they want to make kind posts. And when it comes to sexting, boys must be educated about asking girls for nude photos and girls must be educated about sending nude photos.
Let's face it - if a boy respects and really loves a girl, he won't even ask her for a nude photo.
And for those who want to become Internet sensations, think about what your message is. If you have a viable product or information such as fashion styling, cooking or health, those are things that could set you on the road to Internet stardom if you go about it properly. If you're creating a video just because, pause before you make that video. I could land you in jail as it did to one young man on an episode of "The internet Ruined My Life."
It is appalling to see some of the comments that adults have made online. That they would say horrific things to or about strangers is unthinkable. Adults who make mean hurtful comments about others can be caught and there can be repercussions. We all need to live a judgment free life and that starts with educating our kids form an early age and setting a good example.
When you read online about someone going through a hard time - send a post saying you hope things get better for them, or you're thinking of them. As the saying goes, "Do unto others as you expect they do unto you."
Here's to educating the public about the kindness and empathy that must be instilled in all of us! Look for more on kindness and empathy on and offline!
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