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Think Before You Type

Nov 28, 2011

Our MISSION: SISTERHOOD Journey Take Action Project was centered around an issue we feel strongly about: bullying. Specifically we wanted to focus on cyber bulling, by teaching younger girls the dos and don’ts of texting and using social media. Our goals were to educate middle school girls on the proper things to type, to teach them how to avoid sending or posting information they will regret, and to protect them from gossip and rumors. We planned to accomplish all of these goals by teaching them how to think before they put things in writing. We wanted to help them be respectful of themselves and other women.

THNKB4UTYP Middle School Participants

We held our event at the local youth center in Springdale, Arkansas. We decided that the event would last for five hours, involving middle school girls with their cell phones. We made special permission slips for the girls to have signed. The slips asked if the girls had cell phones, if they had unlimited texting ability, and if they could participate in a texting scavenger hunt.

On the day of the event, we broke the girls into two large groups. The groups rotated between the different sessions we had planned. We were surprised to hear that even at their ages–between 10 and 13–many of the girls had already received hurtful text messages. We talked to the girls about thinking before they type anything on their phones or on Facebook, and about how saying certain things can hurt people’s feelings. We also asked them to think about how their messages or what they post online will reflect on them. We discussed appropriate times to text and when you should leave your phone alone, and showed videos about the dangers of texting and driving.

In doing this Journey project, we learned how to work together as a team. We saw that we have a couple of natural leaders on our team, and some who prefer to do behind-the-scenes work. We learned that a few of us are good at public speaking, and some of us need some more practice. Most importantly, we enjoyed teaching the girls about using social media responsibly–in some cases, they were able to learn from mistakes we’d made ourselves. And the project does not stop here. We will host the workshop again next year, and we plan to have Senior troops host similar events for two more years after that. As social media expands and changes in the next three years, our Take Action project will evolve with it.

This post was written by the Girl Scouts of Senior Troop 5223