Shame and Humiliation: A Cyber Bully’s most powerful weapons

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cyber bullying, nurse bullying, shaming, humiliation,
I’m a huge TED talk fan and carve out time every week to watch at least one. When I saw a newly released TED talk by Monica Lewinsky, I was intrigued and immediately put time on my calendar to watch.
Monica talked about shame – her shame. About humiliation – her humiliation. About how she made a mistake and how her mistake became a media frenzy for cyber bullying.
According to Monica, public shaming has become a blood sport. And she’s right.
What is cyber bullying?

Cyber bullying is using electronic communication to publicly criticize, bully, humiliate and attempt to cause someone harm. Using social media and news media sites are a technologically enhanced method of bullying others. Before the Internet, if a bully wanted to pick on someone, he/she had to FACE their target. However, with the power of the Internet, they can hide behind a computer screen and sling their vicious venom anonymously.  It’s a cowards approach to the classic playground bullying. 


In most situations, a cyber bully’s most powerful weapon is causing their target to feel shame and humiliation – the 2 worst emotions humans can feel.
Nurses are not immune to cyber bullying.
I’ve seen first hand how cruel nurses can be to their colleagues on Facebook. Seriously, it’s like the equivalent of cat fighting at the nurses’ station but it’s now on the Internet for everyone to see AND join in.
To be humiliated by someone in your department in the moment, especially in front of others is horrible. To be humiliated in front of the world is down right horrific.
Monica talked about how humiliated she felt when the public called her a whore, a slut, a tramp. Her mother made her shower with the bathroom door open because she was afraid her daughter would literally, be humiliated to death.
Shame and humiliation are powerful weapons that bullies use to attack their targets. The Internet gives bullies power that they didn’t have before and the results are devastating.  In 2012 – 2013, suicide hotlines across the country received an 87% increase in calls from people who found themselves the target of cyber bullying. 
Cyber bullying is on the rise. But we can stop it!
What can YOU do?
Stop clicking!
Did you know that shaming online is big business? The more shameful and shocking something is, and the more clicks the story receives, the more money the company gets. Even with a juicy story about Kim Kardashian’s…“shocking” photos…just say no!! DON’T click. Do you understand this? If you click, someone is making money off of you! And that creates a frenzy to find more and more reasons to shame someone publicly.
Stop commenting!
About other people who you don’t even know.  Seriously. When I see people writing horrific things about political candidates, celebrities, or even police officers and other occupations – people whom they don’t even know, I’m embarrassed. Haven’t we evolved as a human race to realize the impact of these comments on others AND the fact that you don’t know the whole story?
Start looking for the good!
If we are ever going to tip the balance between good and evil, we can’t spend all of our spare time engaged in public shaming and sensational news media. Why? Because there are much better things we need to be spending our time doing. Learning, supporting and helping others, ending world hunger, curing cancer…pick any!
As I listening to Monica talk about her humiliation and shame, I made a promise to her and to future “Monicas” that I will NOT contribute to public shaming by clicking on ANYTHING the media puts out there as a shocking “news” story; that I will NOT participate in anything that involves publicly criticizing or humiliating someone within an online format; AND I will go out of my way to spread good news and celebrate the human race.
Will you join me?
Be kind to each other, please.
Take care and stay connected.

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