Online problems

Monica Lewinsky develops new way to combat cyberbullying


With Safer Internet Day upon us, Monica Lewinsky is rolling out a new strategy to help people cope with the excruciating experience of being bullied and shamed online. Lewinsky knows all too well the tribulations of falling under the dizzying and corrosive spell of public shaming. Though Lewinsky’s experience happened long before the social media age, speaking out against bullying and shaming over the Internet is a cause Lewinsky has taken up since re-emerging in a public profile last year. Her latest gambit, developed in conjunction with wireless carrier Vodafone, is a series of new emojis that are designed to allow people to show support for someone going through an online bullying experience.

“As I know, from my own experiences, just having a modicum of support from a stranger makes a difference,” Lewinsky told the technology site Re/code in an interview. “Cyberbullying is 24-7. It’s relentless. Being able to offer an immediate, fast response is very helpful.” Some of the new emojis depict an image of a heart with hands making a hugging gesture around it. Others show hands embracing in a grasp that often shows solidarity or closeness. They will be available on iOS and Android mobile devices. Lewinsky expressed a concern with the level of misogyny that turns up in so much online harassment and sees the emojis as a first step in changing the culture. “My dream for them is that the public-facing platforms will open up to allow keyboards to be used or, at the very least, our keyboards,” she said. “The thing that is the most vital to trying to start to change things is compassion: Having compassion, showing compassion for other people.”

Read the full story at Re/code.


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