Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Ripple Effect

Yesterday's post addressed cyber-bullying.  Cyber-bullying also has a ripple effect that I think a lot of people haven't considered.

There is a quote by Bishop Desmond Tutu that applies.  Please read it carefully.

"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality."

Now consider those words in regards to cyber-bullying.  Have you thought about how your interaction with a bully might affect other friends?  Let's break it down a bit...

First, silence equals compliance.  You may say that you don't participate or allow it on your wall.  But if you see someone bullying, do you remove yourself from that person or do you just remain silent?  By remaining silent and continuing to interact with that are giving tacit approval to their behavior.  This then encourages them to continue.  After all, nobody is saying anything and they still have their friends, right?  So why would they stop?  By your silence and your continued interaction with the bully, you then become complicit in the very act of bullying yourself.

You're probably thinking that you're an shouldn't have to terminate a connection because of behavior that doesn't directly affect you.  Picture introducing that person at a dinner party.  "Meet XXX, you should really see him tear someone to shreds online!  It's impressive!".  That made you think, didn't it?  Still proud of the fact that they are your friend?

Second, what does your interaction with a bully say to your other friends?  It tells them to be wary of you.  It says that you may pass something on, whether purposefully or not, that the bully may take advantage of.  It devalues your friendship when you maintain a connection with someone who has either bullied them or someone they know.  They believe that you think maintaining a friendship with a bully is more important than doing the right thing.  It erodes trust.  How do you trust someone who is proud to have a bully as a friend?  

Is there someone on your social media that is a bully?  Have you noticed other friends withdrawing?  Has their online interaction with you diminished?  Consider that it might be due to your interaction with a bully.  They may have withdrawn due to disapproval of bullying behavior or actual fear that interacting with you may make them a target for the third party bully.  

This is Be Nice on the Internet week.  This isn't a passive process.  It doesn't just mean you read the blog posts and the tweets.  It requires action on everyone's part.  Are you ready and willing to do what's right?


No comments:

Post a Comment


Jerri's Empty Nest