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Humor Me: An online student community for better humor content

What if students, schools, & community members did more to teach civil communication through better online humor content?

Photo of Charlsie Wigley
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Written by

I am a.....

  • Teacher

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.

What part(s) of the pre-COVID school system do you wish to leave in the past? Why?

I wish to leave behind the notion that students of any age level can't participate well socially online due to fears of inappropriate and/or juvenile behavior. I believe school systems need to do more to explicitly teach students how to interact in online social communities while engaging with civil discourse. Too often these lessons do not mirror or mimic the realities that students are already facing through social media, leading students to become disengaged or - worse - engage in damaging communication at the expense of others in the class, school, or community. It is my hope that school systems continue to reimagine what this could and should look like in a present & post-COVID world.

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?

What region are you located in?

  • North America

Where are you located?

I am located in a large public school outside Birmingham, Alabama. Students have 1-1 technology access through Chromebooks. Teachers like myself are supported through continuous training in educational technology. My school is part of a larger county-wide school district that services ~22,000 students in K-12.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Sarah Nethan

Hi Charlsie Wigley 
Love how your idea has bloomed over the past few weeks!

With the deadline for the Ideas submissions approaching quickly on May 26, I would love for you to update your submission with any additional information (eg. reflections, feedback received, questions answered, etc here in the comments), to ensure that all of your insights are well captured for our evaluators. You can edit your post by hitting the Edit Contribution button at the top of your post.

Thank you and good luck!

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