I was planning on writing this post on Thursday, and sharing the first post about our trip into the Champagne region today. But my external hard drive with all the pictures doesn’t work anymore. Sob.
So today’s post is about this book, by my friend Galit Breen:
I knew I would like the book because I love Galit’s writing. You can read her blog here. (And you can practice pronouncing her name properly in your head. It’s Guh-leet).
There’s a poetry to her words so I always love what she writes. But because of the topic itself, I didn’t expect to get so much out of it. My eldest is 11, and I’ve really shielded her from all things online so far (except for pictures on my own blog). It didn’t seem like the subject was really necessary for me at this stage in life.
But I have to be honest. Even as a blogger, I realised how social media “illiterate” I was when I read about everything kids are doing online these days. It’s not that Galit made me feel stupid – she’s incapable of being anything but kind. It’s that I tend to have my head in the sand about all these things. I only just got a phone that would allow me access to Instagram last month. (By the way, I’m here on Instagram. I meant to tell you that).
My daughter is already asking for a phone. She will be in junior high next year and instagramming on her own before I can figure this whole thing out. It’s crazy to think that. I needed the reminder that kids don’t always have filters – even the very best kids. And they need training on how to protect themselves and others online. They need training on how to react towards bullying when they see it, and how to avoid being bullies themselves, even inadvertently. Kindness Wins provides this training.
It teaches you about hashtags to teach your kids to avoid, or to use with caution. It reminds you to use short, repetitive messages until the whole “being respectful and safe on social media” thing becomes instinct. It teaches you how to see more than just your kid’s account, but also the interactions that they have with their friends (and their friends with their friends). It reminds you never to talk about anyone’s body, whether or good or bad. Ever. There is so much here that should be instinct, but you just don’t think about it. Or at least I don’t. Because I have my head in the sand.
As I was reading, I was wishing for a recap so that I would remember it all when it came time to talk to my kids. And there it was at the back of the book! So now everything is at my fingertips. As a result of reading the book, I got my daughter an e-mail address that I will allow her to use to communicate with her grandparents, aunt, and cousins. It will be under my surveillance, as will any of her early Instagram usage (whenever that happens). She won’t join Facebook until she is of the legal age to do so. And now I feel confident that I can send her out there, knowing she’ll be safe and wise in her online presence.