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Developing Resilience in the Digital Safety field recap (part 1)

This webinar provided participants with all the necessary tools and best practices to develop a wellness and resilience plan to mitigate the negative effects of analysing impactful content. Our speakers, Marlena Lagasse and Shakeila Valentine, who both manage a team of content moderators at Microsoft, shared their approach to establishing a healthy wellness culture in Digitial Safety

Digital first responders, working to make the internet a safer space, are subjected to disturbing material on a daily basis. Viewing impactful content can be very straining and have negative long-term consequences for mental and physical health. "Through content such as video, imagery, and text, our brains can be easily fooled into thinking that we are experiencing something that we are merely observing" - Marlena Lagasse, Sr. Critical Content Analyst. The speakers shared, that due to this our brains automatically react with a fight or flight response which facilitates the release of the stress hormone cortisol. Marlena elaborated that an excessive amount of this hormone over a prolonged period can cause symptoms such as depression, trouble concentrating, intrusive thoughts, inability to cope with stress, or even experiencing pain from old injuries. This is why establishing a culture of wellness in the workspace is crucial in supporting analysts in their work.

The importance of a wellness plan

Shakeila Valentine explained, that to reduce these strong effects on the mind and body, it is necessary to develop a preventative wellness plan: "You need a plan for how you will mitigate the impact of consuming problematic or harmful content." - Shakeila Valentine, Technical Advisor. As people can be affected differently by different materials, the plan must be personalised for every analyst: "There is no standard amount of impact. Everyone is different and each person's tolerance for this content may fluctuate over time." - Marlena Lagasse, Sr. Critical Content Analyst. A wellness plan, similar to an exercise routine needs to be developed in advance and should include daily habits for before, during, and after content moderation.

Wellness as an integral part of the culture

Even though wellness is something very personal, the workspace must be set up in a way that facilitates a healthy wellness culture during every step of the process: "wellness and resilience must be a cultural cornerstone of this work that manifests in daily interactions" - Marlena Lagasse, Sr. Critical Content Analyst.


Wellness during the interview process

  • communicate to the candidate that wellness is an integral part of the work.
  • investigate how potential analysts think about managing the impact.
  • keep an eye out for people who show a willingness to focus on wellness and resilience as part of their work.
  • guided exposure can be beneficial to carefully introducing new people into the content moderation space.

Wellness during the onboarding process

  • include a full wellness training and support the analyst to develop their new wellness plan.
  • facilitate a wellness culture before the moderators are exposed to any content
  • slowly increase the level of content so that new analysts can slowly adjust to the impact

Ongoing wellness practices

  • More details on how to develop a personalised wellness plan can be found in the webinar recording. To access the recording, participants can contact us at communications@inhope.org

The work of digital first responders is crucial in keeping our online spaces and the general public safe from harmful material. To support analysts in their work we need to do our best to establish a working culture with a strong focus on wellness and resilience. For a deep dive into the more specific steps and best practices, check out the second part of the webinar recap.


Disclaimer: The purpose of this webinar is not to provide legal, medical, or counseling advice but to share established best practices that can help content moderators in developing healthy wellness and resilience practices.

Developing Resilience in the Digital Safety field recap (part 1)
17.05.2022
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To get a deep dive into the more specific steps and best practices, check out the second part of the webinar recap.

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