Technology has changed since I was in school. I had AOL dial up with parental controls only allowing very specific chat rooms and games, which even back then had levels of cyberbullying. Since children now have significantly more access to the internet, how do we protect our youngest minds? Specifically, how can technology assist us in this process?

Twitter has had reports of harassment for as long as they have been around, having a tough time protecting their users. Now times are changing and Twitter has stepped up to the plate with new features to assist users to filter the information they see without silencing other’s voices.

HubSpot recently published an article outlining ways in which Twitter is fighting cyberbullying and harassment. While their list pertains more to brands than personal or student profiles, the actions hold the same weight across the board.

These features include:

  1. Expanded notification filtering
  2. More ways to mute content
  3. Greater transparency around reporting
  4. Twitter “time-out”
  5. Safer search results
  6. Collapsing abusive tweets
  7. Stopping creation of new abusive accounts

What does this mean for our students? We know how popular the platform is for not only students but also teachers, administrators, and principals. These new features don’t necessarily stop information from being shared but can drastically change the flow of conversations visible.

From here it’s truly up to each person to dictate how they use the new features. Discussions can take place both at home and at school on how best to use the features. We know students are capable of stopping harassment, stepping up for one another, and ensuring everyone is included.

Personally, I’m looking forward to other platforms to step up to the plate without losing freedom of voice. We are not looking to limit or hinder any free speech, nor are we looking to stop difficult conversations from being had. We only want to ensure that those who do not choose to engage are not targeted.