Be kind, online and off

Pew Research Center found that 73% of adults have seen someone bullied online in some way; 40% reported such harassment themselves. In fact, 60% of those polled had watched someone use offensive, hurtful names to target another person. Over half of the participants in this study knew these online messages were sent and posted with the intent to embarrass or harm another. 

From celebrities to colleagues, even family members and friends, social media has made it possible for us to watch. Watch and not participate. Sit back without standing up for what is right. Conversations that should be taking place in person are now occurring strictly online. 

Messages sent from behind a screen can cause damage, emotional and otherwise. Talking about personal challenges can be difficult, but keeping problems to yourself can feel isolating and make issues even worse. A quick online search can bring up local and international resources if you are not sure where to turn. Cultivate a network of support. 

If you see a friend is a target of hateful or hurtful speech or is posting concerning messages online, reach out. During the holiday season, it is even more important to realize you and others may be under excessive stress. 

Remember, you are never alone.