Taking Care of Each Other and Ourselves

Hi y’all, I’m here with a quick announcement given some recent events; specifically, I want to talk about protecting yourself online physically and emotionally.

BlogClan is a great place to meet new people and make friends, and the moderators work hard to keep the comments safe and constructive so all members feel welcomed. We can’t however, moderate off-site chat channels such as Google Chats, Skypes, calls, etc. Nor can we monitor everyone who ever visits the site.

While we do our best to remove any personal details from comments we intend to mod, we can’t easily do that in group chats that exist on other platforms. It’s why the live chat feature on the blog is not always available – a mod has to be around to watch it.

But we’ve noticed an uptick in the number of people sharing phone numbers, first names, locations, and other personal details. Do not do this. Seriously, do not share this information online. You may trust your good friend on the blog, but websites get hacked and other people lurk on the message boards. And beyond that, it’s a good skill to develop if you’re going to use the Internet.

So what’s okay to share?

Yes:

  • The name of the country you live in and, unless it’s tiny, the state/province
  • Emails that do not contain your real name or school name in the address (we refer to these as “blog emails”)
  • Your birthday

No:

  • Your city, town, school address, home address, work address, etc.
  • Your name, your parents’ names, your siblings’ names
  • Where you go to school, where you do sports, where you hangout after school etc. It is a good practice to avoid referencing local sports teams or organizations online.

Secondly, I want to emphasize how important it is to take care of your emotional health. The mods have noticed a higher number of Hug Page comments where people offer their email addresses as spaces to vent. We think it is very kind and thoughtful to do this, but we intend to impose an official ban on this. Again, the mods cannot moderate this content and can’t verify what is going on in these email logs.

But also we want to emphasize the difference between being a sympathetic friend and being unable to disentangle this vent space from the rest of your life. Yes, friends should be there for each other when they need support, and vaguer comments about needing love and support will always be allowed on the Hug Page; and if a friend you know is going through a hard time, of course it’s a good idea to check in.

What we don’t want to encourage is a pseudo-therapy dynamic, where one person sifts through a bunch of vent comments from various people without necessarily the skills that a therapist has to detach themselves from the influx of emotionally charged material. Sometimes, the mods get very detailed Hug Page comments that can be difficult to read and respond to, but we have in many ways signed up to do the job of keeping the blog safe – even then, it can be difficult to formulate a good response, and frequently requires time and collaboration. The average BlogClan member, however, won’t be in a position to offer this much emotional labour by themselves, especially if they’re younger, and especially if they’re going through their own struggles.

If you need help, there are hotlines listed on the Hug Page. Take care of yourselves out there <3

Birchfoot

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