We all have off days. We all make mistakes. With the speed at which we are trained to act and react online, it is almost certain that at some point, you are going to cross a line and hurt someone’s feelings, reputation, or relationship through your online actions. Read below to learn some important tips and tools to help you engage responsibly, make better decisions, and avoid posting regret.
- Think before you post. The consequences of your behavior can have very, very heavy impacts on the people you are targeting. Reflect on the intention of your post and think about how your post might affect others. Be sure to ask yourself if you are posting to make someone jealous, hurt someone’s feelings, or if it might make someone feel left out.
- If you hurt someone’s feelings, offended someone, did something that crossed the line of OK or seemed rude, shared personal details that someone trusted you with, or posted something racist, sexist, or “phobic,” then apologize ASAP and take it down.
- Digital communications come with a built-in sense of immediacy, but resolving things doesn’t always work like that; rebuilding trust and relationships takes a while. Try to reach out in-person or via a phone call to the individual(s), if you can.
- Trying to feel better about yourself by making someone else feel worse will only keep you feeling crappy about yourself.
- We live in a digital age, and treating people as less-than or tormenting and/or using threats against others is not tolerated. At best you can be suspended from certain apps, at worst you can face criminal charges.
- If you hurt someone online, make it right by calling out what you did, showing why you think it was wrong, explaining what you have learned, and committing to doing it differently in the future.
- Targeting, attacking, insulting, or treating someone differently because of things they cannot change (such as their skin color, place of birth, sexuality, or gender etc.) is NOT OK.
- The consequences of your behavior can have significant impacts on the people you target.
- If you think you have a problem and/or may be a bully, don’t be embarrassed to ask for help from a school counselor or other professional.