The internal battle continues for me. After watching the Ted Talk by Monica Lewinski, I cannot stop thinking about how she tells us that her parents sat by her bed and had her shower for fear that she would take her own life. The fact and reality is that so many young adults, do in fact choose to end their lives as a result of cyberbullying is horrifying. This fact sends me back into the overprotective mom mode of wanting to simply ban the digital world from my children’s lives until they are older and more mentally equipped to deal with it. But then I realize that it isn’t only a matter of age, they won’t magically be ready to deal with it at 18 years of age, and I cannot possibly control their online presence and usage until they are in their 20’s. The solution then has to be to educate our youth on the realities of the online world and its undeniable consequences. I think that in older grades, even starting in grade 6 and up this ted talk could be incorporated into a cross-curricular lesson looking at both Social Studies and Health, allowing students to research and connect to a very real-life situation that magnifies the result of cyberbullying.
Reading the story of Maddison Holerans life and death brings to the forefront the importance of mental health and how social media affects this. “Young women growing up on Instagram are spending a significant chunk of each day absorbing others’ filtered images while they walk through their own realities, unfiltered.” A quote from Split Image, By Kate Fagan. This is a reality that we must be aware of and make sure that your youth particularly our young females understand. We also must educate ourselves as teachers and others as parents to be aware of this, as this ability to filter images and social media content also allows our youth to hide their mental realities from us. We must make it a priority to educate all children, young adults and teachers about the realities of mental health and how social media can affect this.
Click here to listen to the article as a pod cast.
Cyber sleuthing myself and my partner…
As I embarked on the task of googling myself and my partner, I felt uneasy and uncomfortable. While I was not worried about what I would find on myself in regards to what is appropriate, I did fear to see pictures of myself that I would prefer not published online. I found that both myself and my partner shared some similarities in our digital presence, and perhaps that may be due to our shared age. As both of us are mothers and wives, and safe to say part of GenX, our social media accounts and online presence is limited. While I admittedly have a slightly more visible online presence, due to my business, for both her and I the majority of our online identities begin and are saturated with what we have done for this class.
I was unable to find her Facebook account, so either she does not have one or she keeps her privacy very locked down. I was really only able to access her Twitter and her blog, both of which displayed a very professional identity, with a slight mention of having a partner and children as well as the odd reference to her age in a few posts. My own Twitter and Blog reflect a similar idea. However, when I look at my Facebook account I can see how some points brought up in Having multiple online identities is more normal than you think, are relevant for me. While my Twitter and my Blog are professional social media sites, used to network and further expose myself to the amazing ideas and resources of others, my personal Facebook is a place that I connect to family and friends, sharing the odd funny post and pictures and videos of my kids. I must admit that when it comes to Facebook I tend to be more of a viewer than a poster, and when I do post I am always conscientious of the implications of what I am posting. For example, in almost all cases I avoid any sort of political or controversial topic on Facebook. I acknowledge that I have multiple friends on my feed with differing opinions and I choose to respect all opinions and remain neutral as far as social media is concerned. While I agree that everyone has the right to free speech, I believe that there are many others that would benefit from stepping back to think about what they are posting before they post it.
What do you think, should more people remain neutral on social media, or is the platform of controversy how we evoke change in our society?