1. Become aware of the serious problem of hostile speech
Attacking others online isn’t an innocent play with words – the results can be devastating. It can leave people emotionally, physically and reputationally ruined. People feel anxious, frustrated, fearful, helpless, hopeless, stressed, depressed, have sleep disturbances, develop physical manifestations of stress such as headaches and stomach aches, get high blood pressure, develop post-traumatic stress disorder, feel suicidal, and become unable to function properly at work.
2. Refuse to be silenced
Often the goal of an attacker is to shut his or her target down and inflict maximum harm. Attackers want to get a response, and the more emotional and intense, the happier they are. In many situations, the best thing is for targets to go about their daily lives as they have before and refuse to be silenced (if a situation becomes dangerous, law enforcement should be contacted).
3. Develop conflict resolution skills
Learn basic conflict resolution skills. People need to understand when and how to respond to a particular situation, and whether a response is even wise. Learning how to diffuse a situation is important, as is how to express one’s views – even those strongly felt – in a productive and rational way. Understanding one’s own personal conflict style, whether that is avoiding, accommodating, compromising, competing or collaborative, is crucial.
4. Sign the CiviliNation pledge
The CiviliNation pledge supports the idea that freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and that no one should have that right taken away from them – no one should feel silenced. Sign the pledge to help create an online environment where everyone has a voice.
5. Take A Stand
Join CiviliNation’s Taking A Stand Campaign and send in a short video expressing in your own words why you are “taking a stand for civil digital discourse.” Some examples can be seen here.