Friday, May 9, 2014

Pause Before You Post

Image from Wikipedia
The explosion of technology and social media has influenced everyone who absorbs new information through the internet, newspapers, television, film and radio etc., including teenagers. A piece of information can be sent to a large number of audiences in a short period of time through social media. Teens tend to spend a lot of time chatting and posting things online, which can be a big problem because you never know what others think about the thing that you post online. Thus, teens have to be cautious about the shareability of the things that they post on the internet and think about the influences it brings to themselves and others before they do that.

Social media can cause a lot of trouble when teens are not paying attention to the things that they are posting online. The widespread nature of it has formed a new type of bullying, cyberbullying, which is the bullying that happens online. A lot of cyberbullyings start with sharing information online. Nowadays, if you post something on social media sites, it can be widely spread in a short period of time and bring a huge influence to the person in the picture or video that you shared. It provides a wide space for rumors to be spread and cause the damaging of lives. In the story of Megan Meier, she committed suicide after being bullied on MySpace. Gossip and rumors about her are posted online. What’s really important in this story is that her classmates or friends didn’t stand up for her to stop the spreading of these cruel messages and rumors. A lot of teens use the term “drama” rather than bullying when they see these kind of things happen, which allows them to “downplay its seriousness” (danah boyd). Lots of them also think that being bullied is a way of showing weakness, so they use "drama" to avoid being described as being bullied, which allows them to "save face" by doing this. However, the consequences that cyberbullying will cause is as serious as the traditional bullying. “Since there is no face-to-face contact (on these sites), students cannot see or feel the immediate harm they are inflicting”. According to the data from 2011, “95% of teen social media users who have witnessed cruel behavior on social media sites say they have seen others ignore the mean behavior” (Megan Meier Foundation). As a result, teens spread a lot of gossip and rumors on social media sites without recognizing the serious consequences that it might cause. We have to consider if the things that we are posting on social media sites will do harm to anyone related to that post before we do that.


Some of you might say that when people mention social media, they always link it to the negative influences that it brings to teens. However, a lot of teens actually think that social media affects them positively most of the time. It helps them build up their self-confidence when they see all the positive comments. It also makes their relationships with their friends better. Teens can get a lot of information and news online, and feel more involved in their friends' lives through social media. Even though there is a lot of news that talks about the negative influences of it, it has the potential to bring many positive influences to teens lives if used carefully and thoughtfully.

Image from technology rocks. seriously
It’s clear that social media does a lot of good things for teens, but while we are using it, we need to be careful about what to put online for everyone to see. Sometimes you think that you are just joking, but not everyone knows that, so it might actually hurt that person you are talking about. In a word, pause before you click the button that says “post,” and think about if the thing you are going to share with everyone is going to do harm to the person that is related.

Bibliography

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Conclusion: Updated 29 May 2014


Writing this blog is quite challenging for me when I first started it because this is a completely new experience for me. This is the first blog I've ever written, so I want to thank you all who read through my blog and left a comment. When I was thinking about my topic for the blog with the concept of digital citizenship, the idea of pausing before you share it with everyone on the internet came into my mind almost immediately because a lot of teens are posting things about everything on social media sites constantly without considering the consequences that might be caused. As the internet gets more and more involved in our life, teens need to be more and more cautious about what we are sharing online. When I was reading all the comments I got from others, I found everyone agrees with me on the idea that teens don't really realize that the “jokes” they are saying and posting online can actually hurt someone, and everyone thinks that we should definitely think about if it is going to cause a bad influence to others before we publish it. I found it in the comment that the reason why it's hard for teens is that their brain is still developing, so they might end up posting something that they regret later. Also, to clarify the reason why kids tend to use the term “drama” instead of “bullying” when they are being cyber bullied, I reread the research from danah boyd. The using of “drama” allows them to feel like a normal person instead of a victim of bullying while communicating with others. They want to stay away from the word “victim” because they think it's a symbol of weakness.

I’ve learned a lot through the whole process of writing this blog started with doing research annotation on NoodleTools. This is a great experience for me, and once again, thank you everyone who has left a comment or read through my blog. These are great encouragements for my work!

14 comments:

  1. Hey Mona! Good blog! This is really interesting because I know as a teen, I feel great whenever I interact with people on the internet (for example, Facebook) and it is a positive conversation. It does boost my self esteem! Also, its nice to kind of think about what we are posting, because it may offend some people and that would not be good. The guidelines that you put for before posting was a nice touch! I will have to think about that before I post next. Do you think about those steps before you post?

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    1. Hey Abby! Thanks for leaving a comment. I actually didn't think that much before I post before writing this blog post. I would consider if it is appropriate for everybody to see, and if it's going to bring a bad influence to anybody. However, after doing some researches for the blog, I feel like that the things that teens are posting online might cause huge problems, so I start to follow the steps I have in the picture for this post.

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  2. The image is very powerful! I can only hope that many teens will THINK before they post! Misinterpretations of sarcasm or humor are often the cause of hurt feelings or misjudgments... Pausing before you post is so very important! Keep up the great work!

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    1. Hi, thanks for leaving a comment! As a teenager, I understand that we are just joking most of the time, and we don't really mean to hurt anybody. However, I think that the jokes sometimes do hurt people. If we keep saying that one joke that contains negative descriptions of personality on someone, this person is really going to feel bad, and maybe convince himself that he is just like the way that people say in those jokes. This might cause a serious problem. That's why think before we post is very important.

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  3. Hey Mona! I love your topic! As a teenager, its defiantly very relatable to me. I completely agree with you about how teenagers often think that bullying is just drama. We want to believe that no harm is ever really being done. We create excuses for the wrong-doer like "they're just joking" or "he didn't really mean that, lighten up". I also agree with your con-argument. It does boost your self esteem when you post something cool online and get a bunch of likes on it. Although its nice getting a bunch of likes, it's not when that photo is offensive towards someone or something. I think that teenagers need to pay more attention to that. Have you ever seen a post that you thought shouldn't be online?

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    2. Hi, thanks for leaving a comment! I've seen some posts that include some rumors about others, and I really feel bad for the person because when we look at a post about someone when we don't know that person very well, it will cause a misjudgment of the person. Even though it might be just a joke, it has brought a bad influence to the person. I feel like we should post more positive things online instead of negative comments on others in order to expand the positive influences that social media sites bring to us.

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  4. This is a very well written piece with really good flow! I like the turn you took near the end to focus on the positives of social media. Like with any tool, there are advantages and disadvantages to using anything. I like how you brought in the concept of simple misinterpretation into your piece as text only communicates 20% of what we actually want to say.
    Here's a great catchy video that Common Sense Media created that fits nicely into what you are saying:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hhawA-WcFE

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  5. Mona, you have conducted careful research and written a very thoughtful piece. "Think before you post" is the advice I most often hear older students give our younger ones. This is hard for teenagers to do sometimes, due to the nature of their developing brains (read Taylor's blog post for more on that), but it is good advice nonetheless, and a good habit to develop so you don't end up doing something in the heat of the moment that you will regret later. You mention danah boyd's research on "drama." Can you explain why teens prefer that term instead of "bullying" in more detail? She has some interesting things to say about it beyond just "downplaying the seriousness" of what's going on. Also, I'm curious what you think of these scientists who are working on a technological solution to the very human bullying problem. Using algorithms to spot "meanness" in potential posts, they are developing a computer program that would pop-up a message asking you to stop and think before you go ahead and post. Do you think kids would use it?

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    1. Hi Ms. Gerla, thanks for leaving a comment. Like what I wrote in the post, teenagers tend to use the word "drama" instead of bullying because this allows them to "save face." They don't want to be described as victims of bullying because they think this is a symbol of weakness. They don't want to be related the the word "bully" or "victim", so "drama" allows them to see themselves as normal people. For the technology that tries to help prevent cyber bullying, I think that kids might not use it even though they should. As you wrote, thinking before posting is hard for teenagers to do because their brains are still developing. I think that teenager won't pay attention to the message that asks them stop and think when they are very angry or excited when they post. They are still going to post whatever they want. However, I still think this is an good idea because most of the kids are going to do that as they see the little message. Also, I think that if they make the message look nicer or funnier, kids will be more likely to read the message and follow it.

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  6. Hey Mona, I think your message is very clear. I agree that teenagers should think about what they post before posting it. I find often that most of us don't consider the other people that could be effected. I also thought your image was very powerful. Those seemed like the type of questions we should be asking ourselves before commenting or posting. Your article has encouraged me to take a second look at my writing before clicking the post button. How do you approach posting yourself? do you follow the Think questions?

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  7. Hey Mona, this is very interesting and has a different point of view. Your message was clear and easy to understand. I completely agree that that teenagers should think about what they are posting before they actually post because it could be hurtful to others. When people actually look at cyber bullying they think of the kids must have been joking, but it is very hurtful and needs to stop as you said in the blog. After reading this it will make me think before I post, do you think before you post? Also what can you do to help prevent cyber bullying?

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    1. Hey Cassy! Thanks for leaving the comment! After doing the research and writing my blog, I'm more serious about the things I put online, and I'll definitely think before I click "publish" every time now. I think that the most useful way to stop cyber bullying is that we need to let all the teenagers know the serious consequences that their posts might cause, and start to tell the little kids to pause before they post in order to form a habit of doing this, so that they will remember to do it when they grow up.

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  8. Hi Mona. This is one of the most important topics that we need to address with our online behavior because of the potential for serious harm. Did you see anything about the posting of "anonymous" bullying? Is most bullying done using identifiable names or does the ability to be anonymous contribute to the meanness of online chats? What might happen to communication if anonymous posts were forbidden by social networking sites most used by teens? Thanks for the post!--Ms. Riches

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