Pledge not to sledge

It’s time for respect to go viral, the Mayor of Redland City Karen Williams believes.

Mayor Williams, pictured centre, is leading a social media campaign to bring civility back into public discourse as a way of combating the scourge of cyber bullying.

Adults need to step up and set a good example for each other and young people in public forums "both online and offline".

"We want people in all Local Government communities to find champions to stand up against disrespectful communication," she said. "To say we respect each other and we take the pledge not to sledge."

The basic idea for the #PledgeNot2Sledge social media campaign emerged last year and was developed in Mayor Williams’ office. Earlier this year her Council voted unanimously to back it. Now she is seeking support from Councils across the country and other levels of government.

She already has the support of some other Councils in her state of Queensland and has had discussions with the state Local Government Association LGAQ about taking the idea further. Some state politicians have also been supportive.

Mayor Williams sees cyber bullying as part of a "a real breakdown in broader community values".

It is also part of the nature of the medium. Social media is immediate and people say things they would not if speaking face to face. In an instant the communication is out there and “the damage is done. You can’t take it back.” Part of the campaign is encouraging people to step back, to just take a few minutes to consider before they send something that will cause damage and could have tragic consequences.

“Treat people as you want to be treated.”

She wants the #PledgeNot2Sledge campaign to develop organically. To go viral.

To get involved in the campaign:

  • Display the #PledgeNot2Sledge banner and profile images on your social media pages. It is available on the Council’s website here.
  • If you see instances of disrespect, abuse or bullying on social media comment with #PledgeNot2Sledge. Do not engage beyond this with negative or disrespectful comments.
  • Share the campaign with your friends and family and encourage them to take the #PledgeNot2Sledge.
  • Shoot a short video committing to not sledging on social media and upload using the campaign hashtag #PledgeNot2Sledge.
  • Most importantly: don’t disrespect, sledge or abuse anyone on social media.