This week has been my favorite week in this digital citizenship course I am currently enrolled in.  It was all about cyberbullying.  I know many of you have heard this term, and you all think of horrendous stories you have read about or even heard about.  This week had plenty of sad stories which make me eager to make a change.

It all started with watching a Ted talk from Monica Lewinksy.  Do you remember her?  Of course, you do.  Who could ever forget her name?  I sat in my bedroom crying with Monica as she told her story.  I never imagined I would be crying listening to Monica Lewinksy, but I did.  First of all, I never thought for a second how this moment changed her life forever, and how did she cope with this situation.  She started with the Ted talk asking the audience who never made a mistake at the ripe age of 22.  Of course, no one raises their hand.  She then said, she made a huge mistake at the age of 22, and how her mistake went global and changed her life forever.  Can you imagine?  I never thought about it from this perspective.  Her story hit before the revolution of social media, but she shared how the internet was becoming more and more popular.  She shared how trolls had created websites and wrote horrible comments about her.  She shared how private conversations had been leaked online as well. She talks about how dark her life was at that moment.  I can’t imagine how she survived the ridicule she went through.  I have never even thought about what happened to this woman, but now I want to know more.  She is now using her story to make a difference.  How brave?

We also read the book Bullying Beyond the Schoolyard which addresses several stories, the definition of cyberbullying, all the forms of cyberbullying, and even different tools teens are using.  My advice to parents after reading this week is to not just check your child’s text messages.  Be aware of their other social media accounts, and be that parent that has their passwords as well.

One of the biggest takeaways for me this week was teaching kids empathy.  Monica shared how one person showing empathy can save someone’s life.  She said without those people in her life she would not have survived her ordeal.  Teaching empathy is tough in this age, but we need to make this a non-negotiable in schools!

I highly recommend watching Monica’s Ted talk.

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