Monica Lewinsky has described herself as the "patient zero" of cyberbullying and has become an advocate of "positive digital citzenship" as a result.
Ms Lewinksy is most famous — or infamous — for her affair with then-President Bill Clinton in 1998. It was the early days of the internet and she has said: "There was no Facebook, Twitter or Instagram back then, but there were gossip, news and entertainment websites replete with comment sections and emails which could be forwarded. Of course, it was all done on the excruciatingly slow dial-up. Yet around the world this story went. A viral phenomenon that, you could argue, was the first moment of truly 'social media'."
The former White House Intern has since become involved in making the internet a safe place for women and children and has helped to create #BeStrong anti-bulling emojis. This week marked Safer Internet Day and she told Kveller:
"Women are one of the biggest targets of cyberbullying, slut shaming, and online harassment. One small way to model better behavior is to think about how we talk about women on the red carpet — especially considering awards season is upon us. I have caught myself casually gabbing with friends during these shows, picking apart women for how they look — praising those I think got it right, and, well, the opposite [for those I think got it ‘wrong’]."
Anti-bullying support emojis created by Monica Lewinsky
She said that the internet can be used for good but users have to watch out not to be drawn into a cycle of cyber-shaming, even if unwittingly.
"It’s a love-hate relationship. Social media sometimes invites our best selves — and sometimes our worst. But it’s also opened borders on conversations and information. For example, I think we’ve become more aware of the bullycides [suicide as a result of bullying] happening around the world. That’s because it’s no longer just local news — because of social media, it’s become a global story.
"There’s a lot of clickbait out there. Stop and think before you click on something that’s contributing to a culture of shame and humiliation. If nobody clicks, there’s less incentive for people to post degrading material."