I CHOOSE TO BE KIND ONLINE #kindonline
Do you think about every word that you share online? In much the same way that you choose your words carefully when speaking to your partner, children, boss, friends, shop assistants, waiters or others who come your way in real life (well at least I hope you do!), why are so many not choosing to be kind online? The rates of anxiety, depression and suicide seem to be spiralling out of control … most days I worry about my sensitive 7 year old entering the online world and being subjected to the very worst of human behaviour!
Apparently our suicide rate amongst young people in Australia is the highest it has been in 10 years. It is just beyond comprehension that around 8 people take their own life every single day in Australia. Lifeline have some really heartbreaking yet incredibly important statistics here.
Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15-44. Suicide is not a nice topic. Is this why we hear more about all the other ways that our young people are dying? Why is suicide not getting the attention it deserves?
Why is online bullying still such an issue? Constance Hall shared a really honest post on her Facebook page yesterday that prompted me to share this image that I created last year. It feels like its just not enough though. What is it going to take?
I know some days it can feel impossible to make a real difference. The darkness and horror is overwhelming in the world around you. It is really not OK to just ignore it, and hope that someone else will do something. If you can do something, no matter how small, you really should. We need to lead by example as parents, and in everyday life. As bloggers or anyone with an online voice, we need to do even more.
My strategy thus far as a Blogger when it comes to comment wars or witnessing bullying has been to not engage at all. I have been of the mindset that adding fuel to an online fire is adding fuel and motivation to the bullies themselves. Is this working though? Are the bullies being called out? How does one go about making a difference without just adding to the awfulness?
I made a commitment when I started blogging that I would only ever share if it was either educational, empowering or enlightening. I go out of my way to put more goodness out into the world, with no expectation of anything in return. I am far from perfect. Its not about perfection. I have come from a very dark past, I have been to hell and back, and now I am in a position to shine a light rather than create more darkness.
We all have a role to play in creating more light. As parents we are trusted with the generations of the future, and the future is currently not looking so bright in many ways. We need to focus on the ways that we can help others shine brighter, rather than dimming their light with our thoughtless words and actions.
I don’t want to come across as a preacher, or someone bossy or ranty. I simply want to take a stand and make a difference.
Please think about every word you share online. How would each and every one of the people who may read it feel when they consume your words? Are you putting more good energy out into the world or are your words and actions drawing people into a place of fear and darkness? The world needs a lot less fear and darkness right now.
As Constance Hall wrote yesterday:
♡ Suicide rates are on the rise, 20% of people who are on line bullied consider suicide.
Charlotte Dawson was a high profile Australian women until she died from suicide after being abused over and over on line.
♡ I know how it feels to be trolled and hated and have people who are utterly obsessed with you slam your name at every turn. And it’s terrifying. So terrifying that I can completely understand why young people are taking their lives.Even for a women like me with the love and support of so many.
I would love to do something more about all of this in 2017. Would you be willing to help?