Almost any time I turn on the news there is a report about online bullying. Another young girl ended her life because of sharp words written about her, or bullies pretended to be a girl, fooling a love struck boy into thinking she might be into him too. Bullying has been around forever, as long as time goes back. It is human nature, one’s way of feeling better about any insecurities they might have about themselves. Pick on the weaker, the younger, the meek. The scariest part of bullying in the digital age is the ease of access and the high prevalence. While bullying may have happened long ago, you didn’t hear about it unless it directly affected you. Now, everyone knows everything. Hate, lies and rumors can spread with the click of a button. Coast to coast, across continents. No one is truly safe from the wrath of online bullying.
Being a blogger, the reach of social media is eye opening. Negative has a tendency to spread further and faster than the positive. As a blogger, I possess the power to do something about this. I am able to stomp out the negative and spread messages that are not only positive, but influential. One single word or act of kindness has the ability to completely turn someone’s life around. You never know who is having a bad day, who might be at their breaking point. Take your kindness offline and do something great for someone in “real life.” A simple act like returning someone’s shopping cart at the grocery store may not seem like a big deal for you, but someone did this for me. I was hot and pregnant in the parking lot with a 3 year old after loading my car. A stranger looked at me and said “let me take that for you dear.” This happened almost two weeks ago and it still resonates with me. This is proof that there are good people out there. Random acts of kindness happen everyday, everywhere. These are the acts that we should be talking about on the news and in our social media outlets.
Creating Safety And Awareness
Raising a family in the .com era is indeed scary. My children will be, and have been, ingrained with technology from the very start. From tablets for children, laptop computers, smart phones and even smart TV’s. There is no getting around it. Just as we have to teach our children to use the sidewalk and look both ways before crossing the street, we must teach our children to be responsible and contributing members of our evolving digital society. Children should be taught that the color of one’s skin, religious preferences, orientation or anything else that makes them “different” should be embraced. Young children are impressionable and will grow up to be just like mom and dad. It is our responsibility to act as we want our children to act, because it’s no one’s fault but our own if our children grow into bullies. This begins at day one. Today’s families use digital technology in every aspect of their lives. Modern day broad access of technology is awesome, but children are sponges and learn much faster than we might think. Our children may know how to access social media or online forums and chat rooms without us even knowing it. As parents, we must know what is going on in their lives, online and off. While children are still children, they must be monitored. It is easy to get caught up in negative people and messages, but it’s just as easy to turn the negative to positive and make safe decisions for our families.
National PTA and LifeLock have partnered to create a campaign to share awesome ways that families can create save, open and evolving conversations about using digital technology. Everyone benefits when you #ShareAwesome. The National PTA and LifeLock #ShareAwesome campaign helps parents and students to build awareness about digital technology no matter the device, app or networking site, developing the skills needed to be safe and positive while online. The campaign calls for you to take part in the #ShareAwesome campaign by sharing a smart and safe decision, accomplishment or positive action that you have witnessed. Snap a photo of an awesome moment in your day and share it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the #ShareAwesome hashtag! Students who enter the #ShareAwesome contest between September 15 – November 30, 2014 will have a chance to win fantastic prizes!
How do you promote online safety with your children?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.