People from all walks of life are committing suicide over cyber bullying. This is nothing new, but add in a dose of an ASD and we have an even hotter mess on our hands. So what can we do? Social media is here for the very long run...probably forever. I think this means we really have to change our way of thinking when it comes to our take on basic communicating. First and foremost, we'd best all grow some thick skin,try not to take offense so easily, learn to forgive quickly, and leave lots of doors open for a period of "wait, what did you really mean to say?" or "did I understand you to imply or say...". In other words, we must train ourselves not to rely on our first interpretation of what we receive through social media.
Just as we with AS learn the regular social norms and rules, boom- here comes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, Youtube, Vine, Snapchat (and those are just at the beginning of the online social world!). Now we absolutely must learn a whole new set of language rules with even less context clues to go on. As we endeavor to learn the new rules, I'm hopeful we learn to relax, stay calm and carry on with optimism. In summary...Research the social media outlet you're interested in, before you engage with it. Don't assume the worst. Ask for elaborated explanations before engaging in a debate or discussion you may be misunderstanding without even knowing it. And never ever forget, social media and the people who use it cannot hurt you if you refuse to let them do so. Oh for sure, words and insults and bad photos or embarrassing moments caught on tape, can damage the psyche and self-esteem, but you get to control how you react. My dad used to say, "Let insults flow off your back like water flows off a duck's back." Make that motto your mantra. But if things get really bad, find someone to help you sort out the icky stuff you may well find on social media.