Cyber bulling. We’ve all heard stories but consider a few alarming statistics from NoBullying.com:
- 52 percent of all young people report being cyber bullied
- More than half of young people surveyed say they never confide in their parents when cyber bullied
- Only one out of every six parents of adolescents and teens are even aware of the scope and intensity involved with cyber bullying
This week, former major league star pitcher Curt Schilling and his 17-year old daughter counterpunched all three statistics, and, in turn, taught at least two internet hoodlums a lesson they won’t soon forget.
After publicly congratulating his daughter on her college acceptance and plans to play softball in school, Twitter trolls began harassing the youngster – many crossing the line with inappropriate, even sick, sexual innuendo. Rather than attacking the tweeters directly as is often the case with far too many athletes, Schilling instead wrote and posted an extensive blog post, which referenced posts and posters alike – and with far-reaching results.
One individual, Adam Nagel, was suspended from the community college he was attending. Another, Sean MacDonald, a part-time ticket seller with the New York Yankees, was terminated. Both of their Twitter accounts, meanwhile, have been terminated. Consequences far too harsh? Hardly.
Rather, it is an important reminder to never post anything online that you wouldn’t feel comfortable seeing published in the newspaper. And, while many feel emboldened, even anonymous (even though they are readily identified via handles and avatars), social media is exactly what it professes to be: public. Perhaps trolls and haters should consider the immortal and apropos advice of ‘Thumper’ from the 1942 Disney classic, “Bambi”: If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all. It might just save them their jobs if not their reputations.