Pink Shirt Day’s anti-bullying messaging on Feb. 24 should be understood every day of the year. (Contributed)

Pink Shirt Day’s anti-bullying messaging on Feb. 24 should be understood every day of the year. (Contributed)

COLUMN: Millennial’s guide to online trolls, bullies

Messages of Pink Shirt Day should be front of mind all year long, especially online

While our pink T-shirts may be refolded and put away in our drawers for another year, the message of Pink Shirt Day (Feb. 24) is still at the forefront of our minds – or at least it should be.

All year, in fact.

This Wednesday, participants donning pink gear took a stance against bullying – whether that’s online or in-person.

We know bullying isn’t something that only occurs in classrooms or at the bike racks. This is a problem in workplaces, in homes and online. But now, more than ever, people need to maintain that anti-bullying mentality as the calendar pages flip.

Moods are universally soured due to the pandemic on top of the stresses of daily life and it’s becoming increasingly apparent in the way people are interacting on social media.

People are polarized on thousands of different topics and it’s a battle royale on Facebook forums and that deafening hell pit, also known as Twitter, and, thing is, everyone believes they are right.

In my days online, which is nearly all of them (Millennial), I’ve learned a few things about how to navigate the turbulent waters of online engagement:

You can’t argue with stupid: You know that saying. There’s no point exuding energy engaging with someone whose mind is so closed there is no room for debate or discussion, so why bother?

You don’t have to respond: If you see something that upsets you while scrolling, you don’t have to comment or interact with the post at all. It wasn’t necessarily written for you, it just exists now. The OP (original poster) isn’t eagerly awaiting your response, so you can just scroll past.

Leave it be. There’s no space in your life for garbage anyway. Trolls and cyberbullies seek reactions. They want to trigger you. If you choose to respond, you’ll get stuck in a hair-pulling, teeth-gritting cycle. See above.

Report threats: If things take a turn, be sure to keep records, screenshots and documentation to provide police so a file can be started tracking the harassment. In the meantime, block email addresses, cellphone numbers and social media access points across all platforms to prevent further contact with the individual.

Unplug: We are bombarded with information 24-7 online, most of which is taking up unnecessary real estate in your mind, so be sure to mute those notifications and turn that screen off for a little each day. Focus on doing the things that bring you joy. Read a good book, binge that TV series, try that new meditation app, whatever it is, enjoy yourself.

On the heels of a rough year and with the near future looking…well, still pretty crappy, we need to be there for one another, in-person and online.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vernon RCMP volunteers conducting marine vessel pre-checks at Paddlewheel Park in 2020. (City of Vernon)
Vernon volunteers are ‘awe-inspiring’: Mayor

City, mayor celebrate volunteers in National Volunteer Week

Waterfront owners on Kalamalka Lake might want to check their docks, as one was spotted floating around the Oyama end of the lake Thursday, April 22. (Nick Clements photo)
‘Anyone lose a dock?’ in Vernon or Lake Country

Wooden structure spotted at south end of Kalamalka Lake

A screen capture from Chris “Sky” Saccoccia’s Twitch live stream of his rally in Kelowna’s Stuart Park on April 22, 2021. (therealchrisskytv/
Anti-mask activist Chris Sky descends on Kelowna, incites violation of COVID-19 health orders

The appearance is part of Chris “Sky” Saccoccia’s ‘Freedom Convoy’ that is currently travelling cross-country

Vernon RCMP are seeking the public’s help in identifying a man who allegedly pointed a firearm at two people outside a downtown business Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Contributed)
Man who brandished firearm in downtown Vernon sought by police

Video surveillance image shows man pointing what investigators believe to be a handgun April 10

Kimberley case counts not at the point for 18 years and older community vaccination, says Interior Health. (File photo)
Many factors considered for smaller community-wide vaccination: Interior Health

East Kootenay resort town’s COVID-19 situation not at the point of community-wide vaccination, say officials

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

BC Wildfire Service
Small wildfire ignites in the Shuswap

The blaze is about 10 km east of the Squilax Bridge

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
EDITORIAL: High marks for Canada’s democratic process

Accusations of widespread corruption do not hold up

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will issue an apology for Canada’s treatment of Itaian-Canadians during the Second World War. (CPAC)
COLUMN: Apologizing for an uncomfortable wartime decision

Canada’s government will apologize for its treatment of Italian-Canadians during the Second World War

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RauDZ pop-up patio located on Pandosy Street in front of The Okanagan Table. (Contributed: Audrey Surrao)
Kelowna restaurant gets creative to adjust to new health orders

The owners of RauDZ Regional Table open ‘pop-up patio’ to adjust to health order banning indoor dining

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Most Read