Every time we log onto the internet, whether for social media, gaming or to watch videos, we have the power to impact people from all over the world. How? With our online behaviour.
In recent years, the Internet has received a bad reputation as a place of negativity; a place full of bullies, trolls and people constantly posting nasty comments about others. Online abuse can have a severe impact on a person’s life and it needs to stop.
We need to bring more kindness onto the Internet and impact people in a more positive and uplifting way. Spreading kindness online begins with each and everyone of us and will help make the world a better place.
Why be a bully or a troll when you can make someone online smile? Why type a rude comment when you can type some positive and brighten someone’s day?
When there is a screen between you and another person, it is very easy to forget that on the other side of the screen is a person with feelings. Before you post a comment, ask yourself: would I say this if they were standing right in front of me? If the answer is no, then don’t say it online.
Spread love and kindness not hate.
A lot of online negativity is caused by people posting on the spur of the moment. They might make a wrong assumption or be in a bad mood and this causes them to spew negativity into the comments section. Those reading the negative comments will feel hurt and upset and dragged down by it all.
What is it about a keyboard and screen that makes them think they can say what they want – regardless? Of course, we’re all entitled to an opinion – but keep it as that – an opinion. It doesn’t have to be rude or nasty. You know the saying, “It isn’t what you say, it’s how you say it”? That saying really matters. Because having a discussion about a hot topic can be fulfilling for everyone involved when it doesn’t degenerate into insults, name-calling and rudeness.
Before you post a comment or like a comment or tweet that someone else has posted, take a step back and seriously consider if the message could offend or bring somebody down in any way. If it can, don’t like, share or comment on it. If you do, not only are you helping to spread negativity, but what you write on the internet or post on social media can be stored forever and come back to haunt you in the future through your Digital Footprint. Many politicians and YouTube stars have had to wave goodbye to their careers after racist, misogynistic or just plain wrong comments from five years ago were brought to the surface. Even some university students have had their acceptances rescinded after admissions officers uncovered unacceptable online posts.
A safer Internet includes more positive, uplifting and encouraging tweets, posts and comments. Spreading kindness online can be done in many ways, like posting a positive message, liking a post that is encouraging, or sharing an inspiring article. If someone posts a selfie or other photograph of themselves, take the time to tell them how nice it is.
If someone posts a topical comment and you have a different opinion, disagree respectfully – not in a negative, nasty way.
Sharing a positive story or favourite picture as this can be a powerful form of digital kindness.
Praising those who do incredible things. Use your social media to inspire and encourage those around you.
When you see something online, think before you comment. If you don’t like someone’s status – move on, hide or delete it. If you follow an organisation/group etc, don’t stay there just to post nasty, negative comments – unfollow and join something that interests you. That way, you’ll be more inclined to post positive comments rather than negative ones – which will make you feel better too.
But the main reason to be kind online is because it’s the right thing to do. Every day is a new opportunity to be kind and make a positive impact on others. It is only by promoting kindfulness and being thoughtful online that we can spread positivity to others, making the Internet a safer, happier place for all.