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Should We Cancel “Cancel Culture”?

#icanhelp lead digital safety social media news Jul 03, 2024
Should We Cancel “Cancel Culture”? | Digital4Good

By: Madina Ansary, Seasonal Public Relations Intern | Digital4Good

 

What Is Cancel Culture? 

“Canceling” involves publicly shaming or boycotting an individual or group for a statement or action perceived as harmful or offensive. This can include anything from personal political views to religious beliefs. 

 

Many argue that cancel culture holds people accountable for their actions, but others posit that the canceled users are unfairly punished. When someone is canceled, they are verbally targeted, blocked, and unfollowed by other users. Once a cancellation goes viral, it is deemed “social canceling.” In today’s digital age, a canceled user's reputation or brand can be destroyed within days or seconds. 

 

Cancel Culture’s Impact on Teens 

The most well-known targets of cancel culture are celebrities and public figures with a large platform; however, many teens and young adults have found themselves victims of this trend. Rather than respectfully calling each other out and educating one another, teens will be quick to punish classmates and peers for listening to the “wrong” music or telling a tasteless joke. 

 

This form of peer rejection can cause anxiety, depression, and guilt in teens and exacerbate existing mental health issues. Consequently, many will avoid speaking their mind or expressing their true feelings out of fear of being canceled. 

 

Navigating Cancel Culture: Advice for Parents

Falling victim to cancel culture — or engaging in it — is far too common for teens nowadays. Here is some advice from Digital4Good on how to navigate this trend with your child while mitigating potential harms. 

 

Educate 

Many teens don’t realize how easily canceling can turn into cyberbullying. When a classmate or peer makes a minor slip-up, teens may focus more on publicly shaming them than on helping them see their error. Before you “cancel” someone, practice empathy: consider how your words or actions would make the other person feel. Think about how you would want others to respond if you made a similar mistake. 

 

Validating Emotions

If your child was a victim of cancel culture, acknowledging their emotions will go a long way. Reassure them that they can speak to you freely without fear of judgment. Once they are comfortable, they may come to you for help, after which you can work through the issue together. 

 

Avoid Judgment 

Encourage your child to take responsibility for their actions without passing judgment. Find the root cause of the canceling, whether your child was a victim or perpetrator of it. If they participated in canceling someone else, did they do it to boost their own self-esteem or because they felt pressured by others? If they were the target of cancellation, was it because they had hurt someone else’s feelings? Use these questions as a guide to understand the situation.

 

Take Breaks From Social Media 

Does your child spend more time on social media than on homework? Setting screen time limits and encouraging offline interactions with friends will help steer them away from engaging in cancel culture. 

 

Alternatives To Cancel Culture

Where should we draw the line when someone is speaking their mind but harming others in the process? Should they be canceled, or should we take a different approach? 

 

Direct Contact 

If the incident takes place within the school community, address the issue in person. On social media, the inability to see the person behind the screen makes it easier for people to be cruel to each other. When students can discuss their differing viewpoints face to face in a safe environment, this encourages open, respectful dialogue. 

 

Practice Activism

Attending a protest march or demonstration allows you to speak up for a cause you care about and help influence social change. Use social media to rally support for your cause and educate others instead of criticizing those with opposing views.

 

Community Outreach

Let your voice be heard on platforms other than social media. Reach out to your local news stations, radio station, or newspaper and ask to share your story. 

 

What we do or say on social media leaves a significant impact on ourselves and those around us. With the proper guidance and support, we can empower our youth to use social media as a tool for good.

 

For more digital safety tips, connect with us on TikTok, Instagram, or Facebook.

 

 

 

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