The relationship between, and importance of, online reputation and cyberbullying
Here in the Middle East the Beat The Cyberbully initiative was launched with a deliberate focus on the Cyberbullying element due to the fact that even though we are huge advocates of technology, we don’t always read the instructions as it were. Because of this, we can end up in trouble. These mobile devices are great tools, they provide access to the social platforms of choice and are brilliant for communication. However, like any tool, if you don’t know how to use it, it can hurt you.
In the UK we solely focus on online reputation now during our sessions. Primarily because there are a lot of organisations out there now, government and otherwise who can help and do a great job when it comes to Cybersafety. However, none of them take it to the next level which is employability.
What our teenages, and younger than that, are putting out there on the social media channels today, has the real potential to come back to hurt them in a couple of years time. You only have to think about Pariss Brown for a real life scenario, where she is going to have a blip on her digital reputation for quite some time. Just Google her.
And this is the message, we try to put across in our sessions, it’s not just about remaining safer online and setting up your privacy setttings. That’s a great start, and so is monitoring software and filters, but these should all be essentials that you do anyway. When a young person finds out how the content they are posting online aged 13 could come back to get them at 17 when they apply to the university of their dreams, they pay attentions. Our experience has taught us that young people are usually sure of two things. They want to go to university, and they want to get a job. What we convey to them, is that their actions and content on line could prevent them from getting either, if that content is predominantly negative.
Our over riding message covers three main pillars. Stop | Think | Post – Take Time To Think and Generate Positive Content.
Most people as a whole, not just young people, don’t consciously think about what they are putting online. But for the youngsters these days, they have to be so conscious of it, unlike their parents when they were the same age. Think about what is going out there and if you wouldn’t say it to your Grandma, or want her to see it. Don’t post it.
In the UK, we have seen a decline in the instances of Cyberbullying based on the work we are doing because we relate it back. Guess what, if you partake in cyberbullying as a youngster, and you set up the ‘I hate Johnny’ group on Facebook, that becomes part of your online reputation and a permanent part of your digital tatoo. Your dream university or employer might not be interested in employing someone who was once an active cyberbully.
So again Stop | Think | Post and Take Time to Think. It’s all too easy as human beings to react emotionally. It’s what we do. But if you abide by our mantra, and take that extra second just to think. You might keep yourself in the running for that place at university or the dream job!!