Add friend icon

Always think twice before accepting a connection request

Photographs as icon

Always think twice before sharing content (or commenting)

Icon of message with broken heart

Always think twice before letting a comment you see online get to you

Icon of man running looking at phone about to fall down a hole

Always pay attention whilst walking, your status update can wait

Imagine sitting down next to someone you’ve never met before on a train. You don’t know who they are, if they’re a predator or a potential friend. Within minutes you’ve told them where you live (and work), what you like, your relationship status and shown them some embarrassing pictures of you and those you’re closest to… Sounds crazy right? No one would do that?!

Well I have news for you… that is EXACTLY what you do if you accept someone’s friend request you don’t know. Once they’re in the circle, they’re in! The problem is that people don’t see online as real life (well they do if negative, but I’ll get to that in a minute).

We all distance ourselves from our actions online because as humans our brains weren’t designed to process social interactions with people we aren’t with (caveman us didn’t have Facebook to find out what embarrassing thing the couple in the cave a mile away did on Saturday night) so our brains don’t associate things in the same way.

There is one exception…we’re great as a species in taking the negative and focussing on it. This includes the stuff we see online. If we were walking down the road and someone we had never met said we were talking rubbish, we wouldn’t care. We’d dismiss it (or most of us would) but we’ve all been bothered deeply by something a ‘troll’ has posted about us online. We need to remember we are NOT defined by the comments made on the things we do, no matter how it makes us feel in that moment. In and out of Cyberspace, we are worth more than that. You are worth more than that.