Samy was a tall boy for his age and was often teased for his height. He was a gentle boy and an easy target at school. Today, he represents his university in basketball. However, the journey was not easy. Samy was tagged in pictures online with funny names and commented upon by total strangers. It seemed as if his height was a curse, not a blessing – but Samy survived! He took advantage of what he was good at and moved ahead. Even today, his fellow students bring up old pictures and tags from younger years. It doesn’t bother him any longer. He has learnt to overcome cyber bullying.
Samy overcame cyber bullying by making the right choices. There are many teenagers like Samy in your class who are different yet do not choose to respond to the taunts and jokes shared at their expense. We tend to take advantage of this trait and continue to make fun of them. However, we do not realize that it could be affecting them as well.
As teenagers we indulge in playing pranks and cracking jokes with others. Sometimes it is within our circle of friends, where there are only a few of us. But if the same pranks are carried out online, it can quickly be like telling the whole school, the city, or the country. The personality we portray online is at times different from how we are in person with others. The behavior that we exhibit in person with others has limits because we are aware of people watching us. However, when online, these same restrictions disappear and do not seem to apply. So we post online without giving much thought to how it will be perceived by the other person. What you do when no one is watching, reveals your true character.
How would you like to be treated by your peers online? The golden rule remains - treat others the way you want them to treat you. If we indulge in cyber bullying, tomorrow the tables can turn and we may be the victims. Or worse, we may have to watch a sibling go through it. There are certain guidelines that you can adopt personally as well as encourage others in your class and circle of influence to adopt. You can even make a nice poster of this and keep it in your classroom.
So remember the Golden Rules:
- Golden Rule #1 We are unique. We will treat each other with respect.
- Golden Rule #2 If a joke hurts, it is no longer a joke. It’s time for an apology.
- Golden Rule #3 What is said is not always remembered, what is felt will last longer.
- Golden Rule #4 We watch out for each other and trust privacy.
- Golden Rule #5 Shared secrets are never secrets.
- Golden Rule #6 We will treat others’ personal information the way we treat ours.
- Golden Rule #7 It is good to be respectful and kind online.
- Golden Rule #8 Real friends care and are not scared bystanders.
- Golden Rule #9 Never post online what you wouldn’t say in person.