October was National Bullying Prevention Month. That doesn’t mean that since it’s now November, that people can go back to being bullies. Let’s keep the ideal going!
Today is a new beginning for all of us. The U.S. elections are now over. Never before have I seen such a vicious, nasty fight. I’m not just talking about the presidential election, either. Maybe it was worse in Pennsylvania, where I live, but I can’t think of even one office where the process was anything even close to civil.
That’s a shame, because we all deserve better. Any process that degrades into a hate-filled, mud-slinging event will only dig us into a hole that will be very difficult to climb out of anytime soon.
Four years ago, when President Obama was running for re-election, Kid Rock and Sean Penn collaborated to make the video you see below. These two people are about as far apart politically as two people can be. Still, they worked together to make a great public service announcement on being able to not allow personal feeling make us do/say things that would only make things worse.
Be warned if you watch it, because there is some rather extreme language in it, because they do say some things that only made it worse, only to learn a lesson when someone else tells them to grow up!
We all have opinions and we’re entitled to them. But social media has become a place where some people feel that it’s acceptable to attack anyone who disagrees with them. That’s plain wrong!
I’m about to share two examples of people who didn’t allow themselves to fall for it. Like the video; one from each side of the political aisle.
The first example goes back to last year, when President-Elect Trump posted some unsavory things about Megyn Kelly after last year’s debate. Rather than respond in kind, she explained that, “This is a tough business, and it’s time now to move forward. And now, let’s get back to the news.”
The second happened today, where people attacked J.K Rowling’s opinion on who won the presidential election yesterday. Some of the things that were said to her were unfit for me to repeat here, but instead of replying in kind, she offered poise and style in her responses.
In both cases, put aside any feelings that you may have about their political beliefs. I’m not using this to preach politics, but rather, about doing the right thing. That’s why I used examples from both sides of the political spectrum. Because that shouldn’t matter. What should matter is how people react to what someone says about them. Once the conversation begins to degrade, it’s all too easy to spiral out of control.
Let's keep the spirit of National Bullying Prevention Month going. Because it's the right thing to do!
About the Author
Joe Yeager is the founder of Safety Net of PA, LLC and has been a cyber safety advocate for several years. He is an adjunct professor at Philadelphia University, where has been teaching several classes that involve using technology to improve the quality of their schoolwork.
As the founder of Safety Net, Joe provides a variety of presentations on improving the online experience, both in better educational performance and in cyber safety. It was after his own daughter came across inappropriate content online that got him involved in helping others in the area.
His work on cyber safety has been published by the Family Online Safety Institute, the Social Media Club, Calkins Media and more. He is also the author of #DigitalParenting- A Parent's Guide to Social Media, Cyberbullying &Online Activity, which was chosen as an Editor’s Pick in April 2016.