Monica Lewinsky Questions

Pre Reading Discussion questions:

  1. Why can shame and humiliation be the most powerful and potentially debilitating emotions?

Shame and humiliation, unlike sadness and anger, are almost completely personal emotions. Something that makes you sad can make another person just as sad, so you can share the emotions with someone else. But, something that humiliates you, can only humiliate you to the level that it humiliates you. Even if someone empathizes with you, it wouldn’t be the same as what you feel.


  1. Do you think information on some sites, such as Snapchat is safe?


Absolutely not. Anything on the internet is never completely safe. Even if you delete something, it is possible to screencap or record. And, even if no one saves a copy of something you delete, it is still possible to access it.


Answer the following questions while you watch the video:


  1. Why does Monica Lewinsky refer to herself in the TED Talk as “Patient Zero”?


She was possible the first case of real cyber bullying. Something that wasn’t really a concept before she experienced it. It was the first time the internet was used to spread a person’s information on a large scale.


  1. What does Ms. Lewinsky mean when she describes, “A culture of humiliation”?


Shaming is popular. People eat gossip up. Magazines, websites, newspapers all spread gossip and enjoy shaming. It has become a part of our culture and entertainment to shame and spread gossip about people.


  1. She describes the role of technology in cyberbullying as, “amplified, uncontained and permanently accessible.” What does she mean be this?


It allows normal people, literally anyone, to spread shame and humiliation without revealing themselves. Before the internet, the distance that a normal person could spread gossip and shame was limited to wherever they physically go, but now anyone can spread anything to the whole world, without limits. Furthermore, anything on the internet is permanent. Nothing leaves the public eye once it’s put online.


  1. How do hacking of sites for sale in publications and websites illustrate how shame has become a commodity? (something to be bought and sold for profit)


People can steal other people’s private, personal, sensitive information and spread it for a profit. The public is curious about people, and they want the information they are denied. This information has become a product that people can to websites. “Hey you want these embarrassing and potentially life ruining pictures of this public figure?”, “Oh yeah that would give our website tonnes of traffic, here’s 50 bucks”. Websites and magazines will do whatever it takes to catch the public eye and keep it on them, whether that means shaming people or not.


  1. What examples of changing beliefs does Ms Lewinsky cite? How does this relate to cyber bullying?


Ms. Lewinsky believes that people must have more compassion and empathy when they are online. She says that people online have an empathy deficit. She quotes Brene Brown saying “shame can’t survive empathy”.


  1. What does Ms. Lewinsky mean when she says that people need to , “click with compassion?”


Have compassion online. It is difficult to do so online, since you are not face to face with whoever you may communicate with, and it is likely you don’t know anything about whoever you may spread gossip about. But, people need to try to have compassion for others online.


  1. How can one become an upstander?


Don’t do nothing. Do something positive. Instead of staying outside of something and doing nothing positive or negative, post something that could help people, or make them happy.


Paragraph Answer Question /6

What insights does Monica Lewinsky give for enduring cyber bullying? How can you make a difference in the fight against Cyber bullying?


Ms. Lewinsky’s insights strongly suggest that enduring cyberbullying is something best not done alone. She speaks of her experiences with her parents, who supported her through every second of her struggle, worried she would harm herself to escape humiliation. This means that one should look to their family and friends to help them escape and overcome cyberbullying. As for making a difference, she basically says, care. People can pay attention to what they click on. Giving less traffic to sites which promote gossip and shaming can reduce the incentive to release people’s information. Not buying magazines that do the same also decreases incentive to shame people. People can also do their best to promote positivity. On the internet, you do not see people face to face most of the time, so it can be difficult to discern emotion from text. Regardless of whether they need it or not, leaving positive comments can improve people’s lives, and help them endure possible cyberbullying. Ms. Lewinsky believes that if people can translate their emotional sensitivity and empathy to the internet, cyberbullying can be stopped.


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