Online abuse, harassment, stalking, revenge porn and hate is not only becoming the new norm, we are now watching it seep into places where we expect better from people – The U.S. Military (Marines).
In 2013 I wrote about Adult Bullying: Harassment By People You Respect, discussing how sports players are put on a pedestal and even our bosses and parents should be people that we respect, however when their behavior turns childish and cruel, it’s very hard to accept or condone them.
Now we have some of the most respected people in the United States that have completely crossed the line virtually and in a podcast from NPR, 1A, General Robert Neller (the nation’s highest ranking marine) discusses the #MarinesUnited Facebook – slut page. Joining this fascinating podcast is Danielle Citron (Hate Crimes in Cyberspace), Nancy Jo Sales (American Girls: Social Media & the Secret Lives of Teenagers), Annmarie Chiarini, Rep. Jackie Speier and Mary Frank (CyberCivilRights Initiative). The majority of these experts are also featured in SHAME NATION — this topic is so critically important to everyone.
As author Nancy Jo Sales writes in her Guardian article on this,
“If you’re an American high schooler who reads the news, it probably came as no surprise that the US Marines are now having their very own scandal involving a so-called ‘slut page’. Slut pages, or social media pages displaying a collection of nonconsensually shared nudes, are as common in schools today as outbreaks of head lice.”
As she notes (also in the podcast), teens are very familiar with slut pages, as well as they are used to online bullying and the peer pressure to send nudes. It’s very common in today’s society, unfortunately, and it’s why many of us are pushing for CyberCivics and/or as Nancy Jo calls it, Social Media Sex classes, in schools today. The fact is we need to start educating the youth early on social media etiquette — and parents, you aren’t off the hook either. You must lead by example since your offline behavior will usually bleed online. Instilling empathy and caring towards each other at home, will help your child bring those characteristics to their online life. It’s really hard to be mean when you have compassion for others.
We must start turning this shame nation around – and we can, each one of us – with our own online behavior.