Whether it is me, a few more than normal occurrences at school, or national news that has drawn attention to this topic is not the issue in the end. The issue is just that...THE END of going back and forth. Social media is a fantastic tool, but like every tool can be wielded with poor judgement that ends up damaging surrounding things. Digital citizenship and in the event it is not present, self confidence and resilience are key.
I wrote a few blog posts that go more in depth about this topic. One was titled: Media That Isn't So Social? and the other was Online, Underground, and In the Air: Connect to Disconnect. While they are focused on some deeper issues the same line of thought applies. A strong foundation in digital citizenship and responsibility is what is needed in an age where anonymity allows an increased sense of bravery, uncaring, and/or treachery.
Please take the time to discuss this with students. There will be times in their lives when individuals say things (often on social media) that hurt their feelings or embarrass them, are lies, or just plain make them mad. Responding in kind is not the answer. It does nothing but fuel the flames and let the offender know they have hit their mark. Doing nothing doesn’t work either and isn’t a realistic expectation on the part of adults. Instead we need to have students ask an adult for help. They need to let someone know what is happening so it can stop. People who bully or harass others will not stop until someone who has the ability or authority to make them does just that. Report things early and they stop early. Inaction leads to larger problems further down the road.
Be Purposeful: Know what you are doing, why you are doing it, and what the most likely outcome.
Act With Integrity: Seek to do the right thing. Interact with others in a respectful manner...always.
Build Your Character: Having someone slander or lie about you doesn't make it true or something to which you have to react. Be strong, know who you are, and be better for it.