The first idea of a network of computers for data and program sharing from any site was developed in the early 60s. The internet as we know it took off in the early 80s and we can safely say that has now become an essential part of our lives. Through the internet we learn, share information, collaborate and stay connected with friends and loved ones around the globe. The internet has grown exponentially in its potentials in the last few decades. With the expansion of the internet capabilities, social media has flourished, and this is especially true in the last few years with the explosion of platforms such as facebook, twitter, Instagram and snapchat. This explosion of the use of social media has brought all of us closer and expanded our social circles tremendously. The expansion of our social circles has brought unprecedented possibilities to enrich and deepen our knowledge and understanding of problems that we wouldn’t have been necessarily exposed to.
Unfortunately the heavy use of social media has come with problems too. The fact that interactions on the internet are behind computer screens, has resulted in looser rules of social behavior. Indeed, the establishing of rules of social behavior online (the so called netiquette) is lagging well behind our in-person social rules, which have taken thousands of years to develop. Some of the most problematic behaviors online are: cyberbullying, doxing (the distribution of personal information), cyber self-harm (abusive message directed at one self), sexting and swatting (making hoax or prank calls to emergency services).
The Cybersmile Foundation was founded in 2010 to help social media users deal with the negative side effects of the blooming use of the social media platforms.
“Committed to tackling all forms of digital abuse and bullying online, we work to promote diversity and inclusion by building a safer, more positive digital community.”
The Cybersmile Foundation has won multiple awards and has become the worlds leading anti cyberbullying non-profit organization. It is registered in the UK as a charity and in the USA as a 501(c)3 non profit. The goals of the Cybersmile Foundation are to educate, support social media users with legal and practical advise, and spread positivity on the internet via messages of hope and positivity. The Cybersmile Foundation has ambassadors including Fifth Harmony, Danielle Peazer and Richard Armitage, partners including Twitter and Intel and Patrons who play essential roles in spreading the Cybersmile Foundation messages and help with the foundation year-round activities. The Cybersmile Foundation has a fantastic website (https://www.cybersmile.org) with links to educational resources, legal advice, stories of people helped by the foundation, community forum and planned events. It is present on twitter in the form of two accounts: @CybersmileHQ on a lighter note, spreads positivity and inspiration with humor, and @AskCybersmile for serious help and advice. The foundation has a presence on facebook as well: https://www.facebook.com/TheCybersmileFoundation.
Periodically the foundation recognizes celebrity and other accounts for special work on spreading positivity on the Internet. For example, Rihanna has been named the Cybersmiler of the month in April of this year for helping a Twitter follower come to terms with his sexuality. In 2015, the Cybersmile Foundation gave out the first two Extra Smile Awards to Tom Hanks and to our account @OneDirectionNDA, for our work on campaigning against cyberbullying and for our efforts in keeping our account drama-free (https://www.cybersmile.org/news/2015-cybersmile-extrasmile-awards-winners-announced).
Lately, the Cybersmile Foundation has been promoting #StopCyberbullyingDay, which will be on June 17th, 2016. Make sure you visit their webpage to learn how to get involved.