5 Rules for Sharing Genuinely and Safely Online

No matter what kind of social community you find yourself in, it is important to abide by a few specific guidelines for safe sharing.

tomass2015/Adobe Stock

There are a rich array of articles, practices, and resources out there for anyone who wants to make mindfulness and its benefits a part of daily life. There are also online community platforms and events (like the Mindful30) that create opportunities for people to go from learning and practicing mindfulness solo, to being able to become part of supportive, empowering communities of fellow practitioners.

At Mindful we are very excited to see our community grow, and we love fostering genuine communication and sharing among our Mindful readers. Being part of Mindful.org’s events and social media requires mutual trust and compassionate consideration.

In order to maximize the benefits for all, no matter what kind of social community you find yourself in, it is important to abide by a few specific guidelines for safe sharing.

5 Rules Sharing Genuinely and Safely Online

1) Be kind and compassionately courteous with all posts and comments.

Whether it’s commenting on a post or contributing to an online group discussion, let’s treat everyone with compassion and respect. At Mindful.org, you’re participating in order to create a welcoming, supportive, educational environment for the practice of mindfulness. Healthy debates and discussion are natural, but kindness is required.

2) No hate speech, bullying, derogatory or biased comments regarding self, others in the community, or others in general.

Everyone deserves to feel safe. Or Mindful.org communities are focused on learning the benefits of acceptance and nonjudgment—blaming, bias, prejudice, and hate are completely at odds with the values and principles of mindfulness practice. Included in this will be political extremism and any kind of “othering” or declarations of others’ beliefs as invalid and promotion of one’s own is unacceptable.  Social networks should be a place to grow and learn in a positive environment.  In addition, Mindful.org focuses on a secular approach to mindfulness learning and practice.  Please respect others’ religious differences and do not advocate or post specific religious ritual or scriptural traditions or practices, even if those traditions are rooted in mindfulness-related practice.

3) No Promotions or Spam.

Give more than you take when posting or commenting within any website or social media platform. Self-promotion, spam, and irrelevant links create discomfort for other participants and detract from the experience of a social community.

4) Do not give out mental health advice.

The proliferation of social media has opened the door for people to access poor, inaccurate, and at times unhealthy advice. Remember that you don’t know what other people are going through and that we’re not here to fix each other. Mindful.org relies on its selected secular mindfulness experts for mindfulness education and practice guidance. Mindful.org’s expert teachers and event hosts rely on this secular and science-supported approach to practice in their posts and teaching.

5) Respect everyone’s privacy and be thoughtful in the nature and depth of one’s sharing.

Authentic, expressive discussions make groups great, but may also lead people to share sensitive and private information. What’s shared in a closed group event should stay in the group. While people may elect to share aspects of their personal life experience, Please refrain from sharing information that may trigger undue distress or concern. Examples would include sharing detailed narratives regarding abuse or trauma experiences, statements regarding past or current threats of harm to self or others, statements regarding illegal activities or use/abuse of mind-altering and / or illicit substances. Here are some resources you can turn to when you have sensitive matters you need to discuss:

Mental Health and Mindfulness Resources

Mindful.org provides mindfulness education and practice opportunities. It is NOT a source of psychological or psychiatric/medical treatment, recommendations or advice, even if some of its teachers and hosts are licensed health providers.

When lending their mindfulness expertise to Mindful.org, they are NOT in the role of health provider and should not be consulted or considered as such. If you or someone in your circle desires or needs mental health and/or medical treatment, please consult the Resources list below, or a licensed health/medical practitioner in your community. 

Mental Health Websites

  • MentalHealth.gov provides one-stop access to U.S. government mental health and mental health problems information.
  • The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is the lead federal agency for research on mental disorders. NIMH is one of the 27 Institutes and Centers that make up the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the largest biomedical research agency in the world. NIH is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
  • The National Institute of Health’s ultimate goal is to improve the nation’s health through medical research. Check out these resources — based on our scientific findings — that can help you or a loved one on your path to improved health and well-being.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. Their goal is to help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.
  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is committed to improving prevention, treatment, and recovery support services for mental and substance use disorders. This new Evidence-Based Practices Resource Center aims to provide communities, clinicians, policy-makers and others in the field with the information and tools they need to incorporate evidence-based practices into their communities or clinical settings. The Resource Center contains a collection of scientifically-based resources for a broad range of audiences, including treatment improvement protocols, toolkits, resource guides, clinical practice guidelines, and other science-based resources.
  • Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (iBme) is a nonprofit that offers in-depth mindfulness programming for youth and the parents and professionals who support them. Our programming guides teens and young adults in developing self-awareness, compassion, and ethical decision making, and empowers them to apply these skills in improving their lives and communities. 
  • Teen Line is a nonprofit organization helped teens get connected to support and resources for addressing their problems.  It provides personal teen-to-teen education and support in order to help prevent problems from becoming a crisis, using a national hotline, current technologies and community outreach. 
  • Explore this mental health resource guide for people of color so you can find culturally competent mental health services.
  • Psychology Today provides an online directory of licensed mental health providers of various disciplines and practice focuses in many communities across the country.