About 3 in 5 US teenagers say they’ve been bullied online and, let’s be honest, we’ve all seen it happen to someone else. Sometimes hateful comments just hurt. Other times they could contribute to depression, anxiety, loss of confidence, or feelings of worthlessness.
Most young people agree social media platforms aren’t doing enough to monitor hateful content. The good news is, you can do something to curb cyberbullying now and challenge platforms to step up. Keep reading to learn how to spot online harassment. Then sign up to flag content and Shred Hate with DoSomething, ESPN, MLB, and No Bully to create a better, safer internet for everyone. Let’s Do This.
What Counts as Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying includes any form of electronic communications which are intentionally used to hurt, threaten, or embarrass another person. It could include harassment, mean comments, starting rumors, or a bunch of other stuff too. Cyberbullying might take the form of:
Hurtful gossip pages on Instagram (or any other social platform)
False impersonation profiles on Facebook (or any other social platform) that portray someone in a bad way
Mean or derogatory comments left on someone’s photo or post
Derogatory posts about someone on a Finsta page
Sending threats or repeatedly harassing someone through DMs or messages
Posting malicious or embarrassing photos as “blackmail moments”
Tagging people in unrelated photos to insult them (e.g., “this reminds me of you @username”)
Creating subtweet threads to diss someone
Adding mean hashtags under photos
Posting screenshots of private messages
Forwarding private messages to others or uploading private pictures publicly
Uploading embarrassing screenshots of someone
Photoshopping and reposting someone’s photo without their consent
What NOT to Do About Cyberbullying
It may seem like calling out a bully online is a good idea, but it’s almost never a good idea. Responding to intentionally hateful or hurtful content just calls more attention to the negativity, gives a bigger platform to the bully, and can even cause them to turn their negativity on you. The best thing to do is block that account and use the platform’s built-in tools to anonymously flag and report cyberbullying. Read on to learn how.
How to Anonymously Report Cyberbullying
All the main social media platforms have systems for you to flag hateful content. If you see any of the content above, anonymously report it. The person who posted it will receive a warning (they won’t see who flagged them) and could even have their account shut down. Plus, the more we flag, the more we encourage platforms to step up in policing this kind of content. Here’s how to get started.
Instagram is also testing out a feature that allows you to restrict users who leave mean or unwanted comments on your posts. This won’t block the user and they won’t even know they’ve been restricted — but it saves you from having to deal with the hate! The catch is that you can only use the “Restrict” function on your own page, so flagging and reporting comments you see elsewhere will still be a useful tool in your arsenal!
Take it to the next level by auto-filtering comments you don’t want to see on your Insta page — you can set up a filter that will hide comments containing specific words, phrases, numbers and even emojis that you’d just rather avoid.
Asif Khan, Director of Campaign Management
The Dismantling of The Bureau of Land Management – A Threat To Your Public Lands
The Public Lands Foundation has today posted a two-page fact sheet concerning the Department of the Interior’s plans to reorganize the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), relocate the BLM’s headquarters to Grand Junction, Colorado, and relocate the majority of BLM’s current headquarters employees throughout the West.
• The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is an agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) that manages 245 million acres of public land, primarily in the West, under the multiple use and sustained yield mandates of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA).
• DOI submitted a reorganization plan to Congress that will dismantle the BLM Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The BLM Director and Assistant Directors will move to Grand Junction, Colorado, and 250 policy specialists and senior managers will move to 11 western locations. A skeletal staff will be all that remains in Washington, D.C.
• This is an organizational plan designed to fail. It will: (1) create a weak and ineffective BLM management structure; (2) essentially eliminate interdisciplinary collaboration and coordination in development and implementation of national policies; (3) reduce national level coordination with other federal land and resource management agencies; (4) create a land management organization that will be driven by local interests rather than national interests; (5) constrain the ability to work with national constituency groups; (6) weaken the BLM’s influence in national public land policies in the Nation’s Capitol; and, (7) complicate budget negotiations with program staff specialists and the Director scattered throughout the West.
• In addition to the reorganization plan, the BLM still has no permanent Director nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
• Moreover, the Secretary has recently appointed William Perry Pendley as BLM Deputy Director, Policy and Programs, who is “exercising authority of the Director.” Mr. Pendley wrote in an article in the publication National Review in 2016 that “The Founding Fathers intended all lands owned by the federal government to be sold.”
• Together, these actions will put in place the ability to turn over the management of the public lands to the western States that currently belong to every citizen of the United States. Once the BLM is sufficiently weakened, every citizen, as an owner of the public lands, will have fewer opportunities to influence management of these lands.
• The Public Lands Foundation (PLF) and other public interest organizations oppose the plan.
Let’s address some myths that supporters of Interior’s plans are using as a basis for their actions.
Myth: All decisions regarding the use and management of the public lands are made in Washington, D.C.
Fact: Approximately 97% of the BLM workforce is currently located on-the-ground in Field, District and State Offices throughout the West. The BLM State Directors and Field Managers have the delegated authority to make land- use decisions, leasing and permitting decisions, conduct monitoring and compliance activities, provide public land user assistance, and facilitate coordination with State, tribal and local governments. Only 3% of the workforce is located in Washington, D.C. and is focused on policy, oversight, and coordination at the national level with other federal agencies, Congress, and national public interest groups.
Myth: Moving the BLM Headquarters and employees to the West will make the agency more responsive to the needs of western constituents.
Fact: The BLM workforce currently located in the West is located in 11 State Offices and some 160 District and Field Offices. These offices currently work with local communities and western constituents on a daily basis and make the day-to-day decisions on management and use of the public lands. The reorganization will not enhance the current organizational structure.
Myth: The public lands would be better managed if transferred to the States.
Fact: FLPMA requires that the public lands be retained in long-term Federal ownership unless it is determined that disposal of a specific parcel will serve the national interest. The public lands are owned by all Americans and management under FLPMA recognizes the need to provide access for future generations to our nation’s natural, scenic, recreational, and cultural resources; a responsibility which would not necessarily be recognized if these lands were transferred to States.
Myth: The public lands are only managed for mineral development.
Fact: The BLM is a multiple-use agency that provides for the balanced and sustainable use of a wide variety of resources on the public lands, including diverse outdoor recreation opportunities. The BLM’s experienced and professional multi-disciplinary staff of resource specialists and managers is involved in the management of these resources for all Americans.
Myth: Moving the BLM Washington office to the West will provide more boots-on-the-ground.
Fact: The senior resource specialists that would be moved across the West would continue to provide program guidance, oversight, and technical advice to the BLM Director and Assistant Directors. They would provide this function from several western locations, however, they would not be doing boots-on-the-ground permitting or other work. If the intent is to place more boots-on-the-ground, it would be more effective to hire additional field staff.
Myth: Moving the BLM Headquarters to Grand Junction will make it easier for western constituents and stakeholders to meet with BLM Headquarters officials and cut costs.
Fact: Anyone in the West visiting the Headquarters office in Grand Junction, CO will still be traveling. Accessing many western towns is at least as time consuming and costly for travelers than Washington, D.C., if not more so. There is no guarantee that travel to a western location would be nonstop from other western cities and currently there are no nonstop flights between Grand Junction, Colorado and Washington, D.C. This plan will also increase agency costs, as each employee moved will incur some $100,000 in move expenses and will also require additional work-related travel back to Washington, D.C. and to the various office locations in the West to coordinate and collaborate with other relocated Headquarters staff.
Myth: Moving the BLM Headquarters to Grand Junction, Colorado and dispersing Washington Office employees throughout the West is beneficial in that it will increase the western culture of the BLM.
Fact: The BLM has a significant western culture with 97% of its employees living and working daily in towns throughout the West. The BLM also has a long history of career development among its senior employees. Most begin their careers in the West and come to Washington, D.C. The Washington Office benefits from their field and program operations knowledge. At the same time, they learn about work at the Department, OMB and Congress. They often return to the field organization, often as new managers, and benefit the field organization. The reorganization plan would eliminate this development path.
Myth: The Headquarters move will improve communications, services, and efficiency.
Fact: An agency that does not have its Directorate and senior policy specialists located in Washington, D.C. will be out of touch with national policy makers and other federal land and resource management agencies and will quickly become inefficient and ultimately irrelevant. There are no efficiencies with the Directorate and senior policy specialists working in different time zones and a travel day away from Washington, D.C.
These lands are posterity’s property and must be managed as such.
George Stone, Director at Large & SECC Coordinator
Public Lands Foundation