What if students, schools, & community members did more to teach civil communication through better online humor content?
Tell us about your idea
Researchers interested in adolescents' online behavior have recently been able to show a correlation between "aggressive" humor (including satire, sarcasm, & prejudiced "dark humor") and cyberbullying. Humor Me would be a web-based community for students to explore humor in healthy ways, promoting better online behavior from those their age. Students could submit humorous content (memes, gifs, original stories, etc.) through a vetted/moderated forum that would be suitable for work or school spaces. Comedians, comic artists, & other humorists could partner to provide short lessons about their writing process, reflections on how their humor has impacted others (good or bad), & overall encourage better online practices. There could also be targeted SEL lessons regarding the impact of offensive humor for different age groups. Finally, students could provide a moderation section for other websites or social media accounts that are engaged in cyberbullying or racist, sexist, homophobic, and/or xenophobic activity which would allow others to report those accounts as well. Humor Me would be a one-stop shop for providing students with a vision of what civil communication online could (and should) look like for the better, more humane and empathetic treatment of all in our society.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.
I am a middle school English Language Arts teacher. Humor is something that engages my students and connects our community. However, over the past few years, I have noticed a disturbing trend in students attempting to apply humor to their writing or work, yet utilizing outright prejudiced attacks. I wondered to myself that if these interactions are happening at school where behavior can be more mitigated, what is happening when students leave our building? What is happening when students aren't in our building at all?