Cyberbullying – it’s in the news, on TV specials, and with bills being introduced across the country, it’s on legislators’ minds, too. The outright cruelty of online bullying provides an incessant stream of content for journalists to cover, research material for academicians, and data to examine.
Cyberbullying gets a lot more attention than its opposite, though. Perform a search on “cybersupporting” and you’re unlikely to encounter any relevant results. Acts of cybersupporting are just as easy as attacking others via cyberbullying, however, and infinitely more satisfying.
There’s a stark contrast between the effects of spreading positivity and disseminating hatred. Reinforcing victims’ courage and empowering bystanders to make their voice heard is one of the most integral tools in taking a stand against cyberbullying. With this notion in mind, a number of groups are advocating for schools and the public to acknowledge how valuable and impactful giving compliments can be.
Other outlets, such as the It Gets Better Project, provides inspiration and a community for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth to communicate messages of cybersupport with each other. Anti-bullying author Carrie Goldman refers to cybersupporting communities as “wonderful groups where people come together for the sole purpose of building each other up instead of trying to tear each other down.” Connecting with others that are being victimized for similar reasons provides comfort in knowing that you’re not alone, and there are others that can commiserate.
It requires almost no effort; all it takes to spread messages of support is a few words and a click of the mouse. You can create your own cybersupporting campaign, or just as importantly collaborate with an existing cause, but it all begins with realizing that the words used in a tweet or status post have the potent ability to empower others to be kind and respectful.
Taking all of this into consideration, what will you do? Let’s start talking more about the impact we can make as cybersupporters – at that point, cyberbullying is bound to take the back seat.
This article was contributed by SmartSign, the largest B2B sign retailer on the web and sponsor of the anti-bullying and digital responsibility campaign, #TakeNoBullies.