Archive for the ‘Cyberbullying’ Category

Expressing what you think of others online

July 4, 2017

Trump

Sometimes when you make your feelings known about others it can end up saying even more about you than it does about them:

Trump tweets

Be careful what you say online..

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Social Media Consultancy from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

The Social Cost of questionable leadership at Facebook

October 26, 2013

Facebook Mission - To Make the world more open and connected

I stood there and I watched the faces of the concerned parents – this is a new era that has many of them confused, lost and petrified about the on-line dangers that could threaten any of their children at any time.

One of the parents relayed a story about her child who was being bullied by others on Facebook – in this scenario she spotted the danger, jumped in and her daughter confronted the person who was saying these nasty things. She received an immediate apology, the activity ceased and it turns out the “culprit” didn’t fully realise the damage and harm they were causing by posting silly but hurtful remarks.

For some reason many of us behave different online – in a way it’s like shouting and roaring at people from the safety of your car. Would you do that on the street?

Online many of us lose our manners, we get nasty, we get personal and we have no bother pulling the trigger and firing abuse at other people.

Would you do it to their face? Probably not..

At Fuzion we produced an infographic called “Safebook” which can be downloaded free from our website to encourage young people to use the online platforms responsibly and to help them cope with any negative scenario. In the worst cases we recommend that the culprit should be unfriended, blocked and reported.

Safebook Poster - Cyberbullying

This is quite good advice and when it comes to reporting we mean: tell your friends and parents and ultimately report them to the social media platform and the authorities where necessary.

I have come to realise that the reporting to the social media platforms is quite useless and I have never really heard it yielding results. While they proclaim they are very concerned in reality I feel they are doing nothing to really make a difference.

For over a year our Safebook poster has been downloaded by teachers, resource centres and parents all over the world – we have even been asked to translate into a number of different languages, which shows you that the problem is global.

Where are Facebook in all of this? Have they seen our poster? Do they not see the huge need to provide a resource to schools and our young people?

At this session, which had been organised by a proactive parents committee for a school in West Cork I informed them that Facebook operated different privacy settings for teenagers, which gave them a level of protection against predators. This seemed to provide some relief to the concerned parents.

Facebook change the privacy settings for teenagers

Literally the next day I read the headlines that Facebook had now relaxed the settings for teenagers, providing them with more or less the same functionality and openness that other adult users enjoyed!

In their statement they outlined their logic for this change:

Teens are among the savviest people using social media, and whether it comes to civic engagement, activism, or their thoughts on a new movie, they want to be heard,Facebook said on its site. “While only a small fraction of teens using Facebook might choose to post publicly, this update now gives them the choice to share more broadly, just like on other social-media services.

In my view the truth is that Facebook is losing ground to it’s big social media rival Twitter, which does not have special settings for different age groups and it wants to protect this first and foremost. They are throwing their privacy protection mechanisms for young users out the window because of this.

While this thinking is very concerning it got even worse ..

Now we have learnt that Facebook thought it was quite OK to permit a brutal sadistic video of a woman being beheaded on their platform.

Debbie Frost - FacebookThe logic of this was explained by the Director of Communications and Public Affairs Facebook:

People turn to Facebook to share their experiences and to raise awareness about issues important to them,” said spokeswoman Debbie Frost in a statement. “If it is being shared for sadistic pleasure or to celebrate violence, Facebook removes it.

How does Facebook know if I am sharing the post because I am horrified by it or because it gives me a thrill?

Facebook staffThey were allowing a brutal video that any TV station in the world would instinctively know should not be viewed on air, to be shared by all their users on Facebook based on freedom of expression and  the social good!

While Facebook is a huge, profitable business and is winning commercially it that has clearly lost it’s way when it comes to moderating its platform, which must be put down to some very questionable leadership.

When Mark Zuckerberg says the Facebook mission is to “Make the world more Open and Connected” is this what he meant?

Have they lost all objectivity and social decency by employing too many young guns who just do not have the life experience and moral compass required to deal with policy and such huge issues?

The scary thing for me is that up until this point they have probably been the more proactive social media platform when it comes to privacy and safety!

My conclusion when I talk to parents and teachers about social media is that the onus is on us to teach good behaviour and we need to be proactive and learn the tools for ourselves so that we can advise from an informed place.

I call it “Teach don’t Preach“.

It now really looks like it is up to us because the safety walls have just been lowered and I don’t trust the owners to build them again.

I think of the faces of those concerned parents – maybe they are right to be concerned?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion offer social media consultancy and training in Ireland from our offices in Cork and Dublin

Social Media – Teach or Preach?

February 5, 2013

Cyberbullying

Like most people I am very concerned about the whole topic of Cyberbullying and the effect it has been having on some of our young people.

After the tragic suicides recently we decided to do our part and we produced a simple info graphic called “safebook” , which is an easy guide for young people. Our objective was to encourage the safe and responsible use of social media and at the same time provide clear advice to people who may be faced with a bullying situation.

Safebook Poster - CyberbullyingOur poster struck a chord with people all over the world – it’s been downloaded in over 100 countries, which I put down to its simplicity and I believe it is helping parents and teachers to have sensible conversations about the responsible use of social media with their children.

Our activity in this area has brought us into contact with many teachers, schools and organisations and I can see the considerable efforts that are being made to control and deal with the issue. I am watching the training programmes, I can see the liaison with the authorities and government agencies and I can see how schools are making attempts to block the use of these platforms and do their best to cope with the situation.

I have also heard presentations from Facebook who are attempting to deal with this huge issue, introduce controls and mechanisms to help people report incidents and inappropriate behaviour.

On one side I’m watching all of the downside – the social media concern, the “control” activity but what about the huge upside?

Social media is now a really valuable life skill that we all should learn – most of our clients would grab job applicants who are social media savvy. Is there a dilemma?

Teaching Social MediaTeach not Preach!

From my considerable exposure to this huge Cyberbullying issue my conclusion is that we need to embrace the social media tools from a sensible, early age and we should encourage the positive use of these platforms in schools (probably the best place to ensure this happens).

How about:
– students publishing their essays on their own personal blogs
– classes that show the children how to set up their social media accounts including their privacy settings
– setting up Facebook groups for use by each of the classes
– setting up Twitter accounts for the Economics, History, Science and Geography classes and following and interacting with other relevant accounts to facilitate learning and staying up to date with current issues

At the same time I do feel that the social media providers must self regulate, put in the controls and aids, be proactive around privacy settings and act sensibly – however, the main solution is in the users hands.

While I know it won’t be easy, while I know it will require a lot of training, I know social media is a valuable skill, which will be critical to every young person in the future.

Why not concentrate on teaching and forget the preaching?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion.

Fuzion provide social media consultancy and training services from the offices in Dublin and Cork.


%d bloggers like this: