Students share: What’s going down online

1. Making space for everyone

“By listening to people’s stories, we can get a much bigger picture of what their lives are. Listening to other people also helps us overcome our insensitivity. We must educate ourselves and understand the problems that each group or person faces, instead of sitting and watching from a distance or behind the computer.”
—Second-year student, Santa Rosa Junior College, California

“Even as an adult, there are times I don’t think before I speak. There are many things I do not realize could be harmful to someone because I am not in their position (whether they are a part of the LGBTQ+ community or another nondominant group). It’s helpful for us to share our experiences in order for all of us to learn.”
—Third-year graduate student, University of Windsor, Ontario

2. Stepping up as a bystander

“I like to help these people see the error in their behavior and ignore their rude comments, [responding] with comments of hope.”
—Third-year graduate student, Ashford University (online)

“Someone made a comment applying an Asian stereotype. This person kept leaving ignorant comments about my ethnicity. Shortly after, the person removed his/her comments and apologized after a few people got involved.”
—Fourth-year undergraduate, University of Windsor, Ontario

3. Prioritizing positive communication

“I was raised to treat others the way I want to be treated, and when it comes to online interaction I still need to apply that rule. Just because you can be anonymous doesn’t mean you can spread negativity.”
—Second-year student, College of the Desert, California

“I think I’m pretty open-minded, I try to be kind, and I definitely avoid reading the comments section.”
—Third-year undergraduate, University of Victoria, British Columbia

4. Targeting people for who they are

“A random girl on Instagram posted along the lines of, ‘Being gay and being a murderer are both sins, but I would want the murderer to kill you so it will quicken your trip to hell.’ That was the tone and the intensity.”
—Third-year undergraduate, University of Miami, Florida

“I am African [and that] seemed to be enough reason for an individual to call me dirty because they disagreed with an opinion I held on sports. I am also female, and this seemed to anger another, who abused me because of my gender.”
—Fourth-year undergraduate, Saint Mary’s University, Nova Scotia