Behaving online – it’s not just about good manners

A Daylight Websites Post in Social Media, by C. Jane Taylor

There have been all kinds of articles about kids and the Internet. Kids are warned about online predators, teens “unlike” their parents on FaceBook, psychologists study the effects of Social Media addiction.

But the news currently is all about the fact that Facebook and other social media have become the latest venue for bullying. Remember the “Urgency of Now” during the Obama campaign? Cyberbullying presents a similar poignant urgency online.

Bullying has become as popular today as bell-bottoms were when we were growing up. And cyberbullying, with the real-time power of social media and the Internet, packs an even bigger punch. It’s not just the “Susie is ugly” posts on Facebook that cause irreparable damage. I’ve seen businesses spend thousands on reputation management. It gets worse…

The recent news about Tyler Clementi brings us to a heightened urgency. Clementi was a Rutgers student who was outed on YoutTube, and subsequently jumped off the George Washington Bridge to his death.

Life online is in the moment. We must live it more responsibly and with care for those around us. It’s not just a matter of good manners, people’s lives are at stake. My grandfather used to say “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” His advice is as good now as it was then.

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