KBR Mom and social worker
Our children, young people, even ourselves are existing in a world where our accessibility to information, our ability to connect is constantly evolving and changing. The 24 hour news cycle, the lack of ability to escape is complicated to say the least. But as a counselor with many young people, I see a level of complication that is more profound than I think many of us realize. Yes, there are positives in people being able to find their "tribe" no matter the time of day or night, no matter geography; but there's also a truly negative side. I won't belabor the point that bad things can happen when people hide behind the anonymity of the internet. I chose, here, instead to share the amazing Rachel Simmons Commandments. I wish I could take credit, but I implore you to simply read and absorb. Whether we be teenagers, young people or parents existing in this world, we can learn from these.
1. Thou shalt be the same decent person online that thou art offline. If you wouldn't walk up to someone and say, "Your hair looks crazy," don't type it either.
2. Thou shalt never judge someone's appearance negatively in a comment, even as a joke.
3. Thou shalt not post photos of people that they don't know about, don't want you to post, or might find embarrassing. If you are asked to remove a photo, do it immediately. It doesn't matter if you think it is funny.
4. Thou shalt remember that "JK" can be just as hurtful online as it is offline--"OMG your vacation looks so boring haha"--and people are way less likely to think you were kidding when they can't hear your tone of voice.
5. Thou shalt realize when you post something online, everyone sees it and it doesn't go away. It's like walking into a crowded cafeteria with a bullhorn and a poster size photo. Don't want to do that? Kay.
6. Thou shalt remember that everyone worries about getting likes. You matter more than the number of likes you get. Promise.
7. Thou shalt not crop others out of photographs to exclude them, unless they are your Mom and you want to post a cool photo of yourself.
8. Thou shalt never create anonymous handles or jack anyone else's account. Untag yourself from rude photos or comment threads.
9. If thou art in middle school or younger, keep your settings private and only accept follows from people you know.
10. Thou shalt not ost photos that share body parts normally covered by bathing suits. However, thou shalt rock your selfies early and often, accept compliments without putting yourself down and enjoy celebrating the fabulousness that is you.
Thank you, Ms. Simmons. May we all pay attention.
As I sit and wait for my evening's clients, I am listening to the calming voices on NPR. While the voices aren't grating, the content is. Ferguson, Ebola, ISIS.... disheartening. And while I don't mean to diminish the seriousness of issues such as these, I want to ensure we are not forgetting the real issues in our own back yards.
This morning, the second in a short week, Wynne awoke continuing to nurse her nasty cold (here's hoping the rest of us don't get it). Bravely setting out for the bus, she donned her heavier coat, hat and gloves for the 28 degree temps. I found it curious she didn't protest as "the cool kids" didn't wear jackets, let alone hats and gloves to stay warm. Made me smile as I watched her turn and wave, first one side then the other.