Haters & Trolls: Creating Safe Spaces Online
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Haters & Trolls: Creating Safe Spaces Online



Welcome to the Women’s Media Center’s Progressive Girls Voices webinar series. This summer we’ve teamed up with local high school senior Rebecca Lansbury to promote awareness of online bullying ...

Welcome to the Women’s Media Center’s Progressive Girls Voices webinar series. This summer we’ve teamed up with local high school senior Rebecca Lansbury to promote awareness of online bullying and brainstorm on-the-ground tactics to combat the problem. At the Women’s Media Center, we believe in amplifying the voices of women in the media. We’ve seen through numerous statistics and studies that women who use their voice online and promote their opinions using new and social media are most susceptible to hate speech and cyber-bullying. Many of us have found feminist and queer online communities to be safe spaces because of the communal network that’s been established. We’ll be referring to a safe space as a place where anyone can relax and be fully self-expressed, without fear of being made to feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or unsafe on account of biological sex, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, cultural background, age, or physical or mental ability.

The online forums that women use to express themselves and share their voices, however, are not always safe; choosing to express yourself through Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Youtube comes with the unfortunate costs of vulnerability and exposure to an unmonitored public of strangers. The public nature of these social media sites invites criticism rather than safety. Safe spaces are more likely to exist offline, whether it be with a trusted adult or family member; The Pew Charitable Trusts study Teens, kindness and cruelty on social network sites shows that 36% of teens who have seen others be mean or cruel on a social networking site have asked an adult for advice on what to do, and that 62% of teens who have experienced cruelty have also looked to adults for advice or help. But what does this mean for the online community?

In the wake of increased cyber bullying in online spaces, we’ve thought the best way to combat the problem was to first have an open conversation, share our experiences and brainstorm possible solutions. We’ll be using the twitter hashtag #PGV for today’s webinar and we’ll take any questions you have via twitter or via the chat function in AnyMeeting. In order to keep this webinar a safe space, we ask that you step up, step back, meaning that if you’ve spoken a lot, take a step back to let someone else talk and step up to share their stories. Our conversation will grow and meander like many do, so any topics we don’t get to, let’s put in the parking lot for future follow up.

Finally, let’s use respect and compassion with our questions and answers. With that, I want to introduce Rebecca Lansbury our wonderful HS intern. Rebecca -

Please click on the notes for slide 1 tab to view Rebecca's introduction. All descriptions for slides 1, 2, 3 etc. will be available in the notes for slides tab.



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  • Hello! My name is Rebecca Lansbury. I am a queer HS senior interning at the Women ’s Media Center in New York City. I’m an active tumblr and I use social networks for the majority of my social connections. It’s a great way to get your voice hear, no matter what your politics. But youth who vocalize their opinions are often the first to be bullied, especially online. Girls outnumber boys of those bullied and in the wake of teen suicides and cyberhate, we created this webinar to both raise awareness of the issue and find solutions.
  • Different generations use the web for different activities. As you an see from this Forrester research study, 26% of Older Boomers, ages 51-61, are spectators online, meaning that they are reading blogs, watch peer generated videos and/or listen to pod casts.
  • When it comes to young teens, youth, and young adults, our activities online all involve social networking or blogging in some way. Ages 12-26 either create and express themselves by putting their voices and opinions out there, read other ’s opinions, or comment on existing content.
  • Today we are going to focus on four of the most populated sites among 12-26 year olds: YouTube, Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter. Notably, they are also the most popular sites for cyberbullying activities.
  • In February 2010, the Cyberbullying Research Center surveyed a random sample of 4,441 children and teenagers from ages 10-18. The samples were taken from 37 different schools in the southern U.S. As you can see, 1/5 th of the kids interviewed for the survey have been cyberbullied. What is even more shocking is that 17% of all the kids interviewed had been bullied in the previous month. Only 3% had not.
  • In 2010 the Cyberbullying Research Center conducted a survey in which the sample size was 4374 youth ages 10-18. Overwhelmingly, the adolescent girls reported being cyberbullied. An unrelated 2011 study found that girls who bullied others by age 8 have an increased risk of becoming teenage mothers.
  • Getting down to specific social networks, the research firm Ipsos surveyed a total of 18,687 citizens in 24 countries via an online survey about their experiences on Facebook. One in ten parents online (12%) around the world say their child has experienced cyberbullying. One in four (24%) of those parents say they know a child in their community who has experienced cyberbulllying. Of those, 60% say the children experienced the harassing behavior on social networking sites like Facebook.
  • To give you an idea of how pervasive the problem is among young women, we ’ll tell the story of Natalie Far-zen-ha. in February of 2012, Natalie became a victim of cyberbullying just minutes after creating a profile on Facebook and began to contemplate suicide due to the abuse.
  • The bullying continues and, for girls, usually involves personal and appearance-based hate comments. Jessi Slaughter, 11 yrs/o became a victim after posting a video in response to internet hate she had been getting previously. Because of the video, Jessi became an even bigger target for horrendous cyberbullying that then transformed into real life harrassment. Commenter ’s circulated Jessi's real name, phone number, address, links to all her social networking accounts, prank called her, spammed her Facebook and MySpace accounts, had pizzas delivered to her house, were considering sending call girls off Craigslist to the address. Jessi was placed under police protection.
  • In 2012 Issa Rae won the Shorty Awards (which honor the best in social media and Internet content) for her popular web series, “Awkward Black Girl.” When she announced the accomplishment via Facebook and Twitter, the response she got from, as she describes, “Internet-equivalent of the Tea Party”, appeared and began brutally attacking her and her web series with racist and misogynistic comments. Issa resonded by retweeting and calling out her attackers.
  • At the moment, Twitter is 53% Female. Many anti-cyberbullying twitters and hashtags have been created in an attempt to combat it.
  • And the newest social network in our bunch isn ’t any kinder. When Tumblr was first founded in 2007, it was intended to be a space for those to easily blog and share content. Tagged a micro-blogging site, Tumblr bridged the gap between Facebook and Twitter and was adopted by many teenage girls for it’s ease of use and female community. To this day, Tumblr’s users are 54% female. As the population of tumblr grew, however, so did the amount of free floaters, who did not have a blog and who saw an easy target in the largely feminist and queer-safe space. 54% female  updated on May 25 by QuantCast.com
  • If you do a tumblr search, you ’ll find a large community of young women with strong opinions who make issue or theme-related Tumblr blogs. Following the bullying trend, women with strong opinions are often called out, trolled, harassed and receive the most hate comments. As a result of all the hate on tumblr, blogs have been established as an online-resource for those contemplating suicide.
  • Compassion Alert is one of those blogs. If a reader reports that a tumblr user is having a bad night, CA will ask their followers to cheer up the person.
  • If it is reported that a user is really upset and having semi-suicidal thought, CA alert will call this an ”Orange Alert”, meaning that there is the possibility of a suicidal risk.
  • If the alert is either a “Red Alert” or an “Urgent Red Alert, that means that the suicide risk is high or definite.
  • Finally, if you ’ re being bullied, here are some tips to consider: If someone bullies you, remember that your reaction is usually exactly what the bully wants. It gives him or her power over you. Don ’t retaliate . Getting back at the bully turns you into one and reinforces the bully’s behavior. Help avoid a whole cycle of aggression. Most sites give you the power when it comes to blocking. If someone is messaging you, there is usually an option to block their communications to you. Other sites, like Tumblr, that give you an anonymous option, which blocked users can access to continue their harassment, can be turned off. You can save the evidence by taking a screen shot. On a mac, you press either comman+shift+4 to be able to control what exactly you ’re taking a picture of, or command+shift+3 to take a picture of your entire screen. On a PC, you can press the Print Screen button, located in the upper right hand corner of your keyboard, to take a picture of your entire screen and then, if you want to, you can paste it in Paint to crop it. Along with the option of blocking, sites also usually have a place where you can report a user or a photo/post that might have been posted. What techniques have you used to combat bullying? At this time we are going to open the chat to any questions you all may have.

Haters & Trolls: Creating Safe Spaces Online Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Haters & Trolls:Creating Safe Spaces Online Rebecca Lansbury
  • 2. Most populated site by 12 - 26 year olds areSocial Networking and Vlogging/Blogging sites. Young Teens Youth Generation Y
  • 3. SocialNetworkingBloggingVloggingSocialNetworking
  • 4. 2010 Cyberbullying Research Center Survey20.8% of the kids have been cyberbullied in their lifetime17% have been cyberbullied at least once in the previous 30 days13.3% have been cyberbullied by rumors online14.3% have been cyberbullied by mean or hurtful comments online.7.2% have been threatened online http://www.cyberbullying.us/research.php
  • 5. Adolescent girls are significantly more likely to have experienced cyberbullying in their lifetimes. http://www.cyberbullying.us/2010_charts/cyberbullying_gender_2010.jpg
  • 6. • One in ten parents online (12%) around the world say their child has experienced cyberbullying.• One in four (24%) of those parents say they know a child in their community who has experienced cyberbulllying.• Of those, 60% say the children experienced the harassing behavior on social networking sites like Facebook. http://www.ipsos-na.com/news-polls/pressrelease.aspx?id=5462#.Tw6exyC2__s.twitter
  • 7. Natalie Farzenah 15-years-oldThe cyber bullying on Facebook Natalieendured led her to contemplate suicide. "I thought maybe if I started this account, people would get to know me and they could finally stop giving me "I got at least 10 messages, from the abuse," same person I think, saying: Kill yourself, everybody hates you, youre horrible. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-16880173
  • 8. Jessi Slaughter 11-year-oldJessi was placed under policeprotection after receivingthreatening phone calls. http://gawker.com/5589103/how-the-internet-beat-up-an-11+year+old-girl http://gawker.com/5590166/11+year+old-viral-video-star-placed-under-police-protection-after-death-threats
  • 9. Issa Rae http://www.issarae.com/awkward 10 http://www.xojane.com/issues/people-internet-can-be-hella-racist
  • 10. Hashtags: Anti-bullying#cyberbullying Twitters:#cyberbullyingfacts @Cyber_Bullying#bullying @cyberbullying#harassment @CyberBullyAlert#antibullying @No_Cyberbullies#safety#mentalhealth#nomorebullies http://hashonomy.com/hashtag/cyberbullying/ 11 http://socialmediatoday.com/index.php?q=SMC/78505
  • 11. Anti-bullying Tumblr blogs:http://reversecyberbullying.tumblr.com/http://compassionalert.tumblr.com/http://lets-bandage-it-up.tumblr.com/
  • 12. 13
  • 13. Tips on how to prevent cyber bullying• Don’t respond• Block the user• Save the evidence• Report it
  • 14. Question & Answer• Have you or your friends been affected by Cyberbullying?• How have you combat bullying in your online space? 18
  • 15. Thank you! 19