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.