Smartphone Citizenship – When I first saw this site from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, it is one that every adult should look at. It really doesn’t matter if you are raising children right now or not. This is something that everyone should be knowledgeable about. Being digitally responsible is not only a teenage thing. It is something that we have to be constantly aware and more aware of. Then I came across Richard Guerry website on Parenting Today’s Kids. He also has videos, articles and books related to Digital Privacy, internet safety, social media and much more. When I watched his You Tube video, what he said makes a lot of sense. As do the words of a good friend of mine who is also a social media educator – Jesse Miller/Mediated Reality. Both men talk about the ways social media has affected the lives of today’s youth and their families. What kids do using technology? How we can and should use our technology safely? What we should and should not say and post? And so much more. I will be very interested in listening to Richard Guerry speak this weekend a the the Girls and Bullying Conference in Las Vegas. Social media, cyberbullying, online luring, sexual exploitation of teens. These are all things we must learn about. Probably the best place to do this is (ironically) online. There are so many articles, knowledgeable speakers and even books to read.
I shouldn’t be surprised, but … and I am being honest here …. not a day goes by when I don’t hear of a story about a young person suffering from the fate of bullying or cyberbullying. Then the depression and self harm may set in. We try and say ‘Take your kids off the internet and social media’. But the stuff still swirls while your child is not there. The damage is still being done if the child is going to school and confronting those same peers. So how do we stop it? We have to work at the beginning levels. Teach kids when they are young how to use the digital tools responsibly. Teach about the kindness and respect. We can’t take the digital tools away. They are and will be a part of the natural elements. These same digital tools can be and are being used in the classrooms in a variety of ways. So it’s time that we (as educators and parents) start to have the discussions daily about what to do with those tools. How to use them wisely? And how NOT to use them.
This is my own opinion but I sometimes think that we need to talk about the WHAT HAPPENS IF situations. The true stories of kids who have taken their lives because of bullying/cyberbullying. We are learning that not all kids are resilient. Just like this story – http://www.katu.com/news/investigators/Boy-17-says-cyberbullying-led-to-suicide-attempt-212830981.html . The sentence that struck me when reading this article was “KATU is purposely not sharing how Marcus tried to take his own life. The suicide experts we spoke with said that can be harmful.” I agree with this statement 100%. I cannot count the number of times people ask and I won’t answer. Oh by the way, whatever the UK press printed in their newspapers back in October about Amanda’s death, their so called facts were never verified. Wonder how the media works out there??
I want to take the time here to write to a young girl that reached out to me over Facebook a few months ago.
You contacted me a few months ago and shared your stories. The pain and distress of your messages were and are heartbreaking. No one should be feeling what you are feeling. From what I gather, you are a bright young lady with a promising future. You just completed grade 11 and you have one more year until graduation. Then it can be university for more science and math courses which you find so easy. You talk about going into medicine maybe. Or some field where you can help people. There are so many universities that you can go to in Canada. I hope you are thinking about which ones to apply to and also to try and get scholarships. I found out yesterday that you are back in the hospital as you continue to not eat properly. You need to eat and sleep and nourish your body and brain. There are many that care about you and want you well. You might not have met us yet. But as you get better, you may get the chance to give us hugz.
Open your heart and let the doctors get you better… sleep well princess…
(Amanda would want you well!!)