Digital citizenship – the sad tale of Charlotte

The recent events surrounding Charlotte Dawson are worth reflecting on and drawing some lessons from.


Charlotte is a celebrity who uses social media like twitter to maintain and potentially increase her profile. She, like many celebrities, is a polarising person with some people loving her and some people loving to hate her. The majority of people are not drawn to either extreme.

It is the unfortunate reality of being a public space, like twitter, that anyone will draw some unwanted attention. The chance of this happening are increased if you have a higher profile or are more provocative in your posts and interactions. There are some sad people in cyberspace as in life who take sick delight from being unkind. Charlotte encountered some of these people – they were malicious, malignant, spiteful and unpleasant, but alas not unexpected.

Where Charlotte went wrong was she did not ignore them  – She forgot the rule “Don’t feed the trolls” –

Whether it is twitter, texting or any other medium – do not respond to the trolls, this encourages them. Don’t feed them, don’t respond.

But this does not mean don’t take any action – Inappropriate action should, no MUST, be reported – often social media will have a report abuse link that can be used.  Vodafone has a blacklist, that enable the subscriber to block calls and texts from a specific number, telecom and 2 degrees have a reporting system to deal with text bullying. the fundamental rules remain the same

  2. Document evidence
  3. Report to site, provider, police, school counsellor/teacher or parents etc

This is where Charlotte when wrong. How would our students respond if they were subjected to similar attacks?


The Orb – Netsafes site for reporting cyber crime –

Netsafe NZ –

Netsafe dealing with text bullying –

Vodafone – dealing with text bullying –

Telecom – Mobile Bullying

NZ Police – No Bully –

2 Degrees  – bullying –

Twitter – report a violation –

Twitter tips for teachers

Twitter tips for Teens


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