Are You Kind Online?
Communicating online is quick and easy, but you don’t ever want to forget to think before you write! Even when you send a text or make a post on Facebook, it’s important to consider what you’re saying before you hit send. There are do’s and don’ts—the etiquette of online communication—and a lot of the don’ts can lead to misunderstandings.
But when you learn how to BFF (Be a Friend First), you become more considerate and thoughtful. You learn to think, not only about what the messages you’re sending mean to other people, but also what the things you write actually say about you. Texts, tweets, and Facebook posts should always be helpful and harmless. The most important thing to remember is that you don’t ever want to write anything you wouldn’t be comfortable saying to a person’s face. Gossip, misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and plain old miscommunications happen when girls get thoughtless. Some girls even use these things to be hurtful, and it does a lot of damage. A really harmful form of bullying, known as cyberbullying, can happen when girls use their cell phones and computers to spread gossip, or even post unflattering photos of others.
The great thing is that you can always make a stand. Even cyberbullying often stops when girls—even just one girl—speak up and say, “Stop it!” Just by calling out bullies on their behavior, you’re showing that you’re a leader who’s decided: “It doesn’t have to be like this!” If you see that someone has posted mean pictures on Facebook or is sending texts that are filled with nastiness, you don’t have to take part in letting these forms of bullying spread. You can tell a trusted adult about what’s going on, and you can also make it clear that you won’t participate in any kind of bullying. Every moment of the day—at home, at school, and everywhere in between—you can make choices that show the world you’re supportive of all girls, and that you’re a kind and considerate person.
Now it’s time to find out if you know your stuff! Take our quiz to test your bullying IQ and find out whether you really know the do’s and don’ts of being kind online. The end result? You’ll learn how to be a better friend, and have better friends—both in person and online.