My “big” kids are now 23 and 18, and theirs was one of the first generations of tweens/teens to come of age in the era of widely accessible social media (when it was “My Space” – not even Facebook yet – and thank god before things like Burnbook and Yik Yak).
Because we as parents couldn’t anticipate all the ways that social media could be used (and abused), it was impossible to get ahead of it. Conversations that seem so natural now weren’t happening back then, because we didn’t even know what to ask/be worried about/set limits on.
What I watched over the next few years was the utter and relentless invasiveness of cyberspace. When I was growing up, and going through a rough time at school, at least home was a haven where I could “turn off” and find some solace. Now I was watching my kids (and hearing the same from friends about theirs) endlessly scrolling through feeds to see what parties they weren’t invited to, what Friday night outings they were excluded from, what new groups of “BFF’s” were just formed. I’d hear stories of anonymous posts going up about this kid or that, intended for no other purpose than to hurt.
What makes this subject even more close to my heart is that Chelsea’s grade – to this day – was notorious for its “mean girls”. There was actually a meeting about the problem in the middle school, and it was astounding to me to sit and watch the parents of these bullies act as if they had no clue “who these girls” were.
So when Galit Breen asked me to take a look at a book she’d written about the subject, I all but jumped at the chance.
“Kindness Wins” is an easy-to-read book (more like a workbook), that covers so many of the challenges parents face as we try to help our kids navigate the waters of social media – and come out the other end as kind, accountable young adults.
“When my girls hinted that they’d like to post, tweet, and share photos on Instagram, I took a look at social media with new eyes – mom eyes. And suddenly I wasn’t just seeing unkindness that could happen to me, I was seeing unkindness that could happen to my kids, and to yours.
So I took to my pen and wrote (and wrote and wrote) a book about the conversations we need to have with our kids–and with each other–to teach our kids how to be kind online.
“Kindness Wins” covers ten habits to directly teach kids as they’re learning how to be kind online. I believe with every fiber of my being that our kids can do this. They can be the change we all know we need to see, and to feel. Because Kindness + Action = Compassion:
Speak up when you see something unkind.
Listen when someone else speaks up.
Learn to look at things from other people’s perspectives.
Train your eyes and your heart to notice if someone else is hurting.
And listen to that stick-to-your-ribs voice that’s telling you to do something.”
This book is so timely because – while there’s more awareness of this problem now than ever before – I still think that parents struggle with how to implement the guidelines and behaviors that they want their kids to adhere to when on-line.
Galit’s writing style is more mom-to-mom than preachy, and she draws on her vast experience in social media along with her years spent as a former classroom and reading teacher.
The chapters are filled with resources, talking points and “takeaways”, and is a succinct, to-the-point guide that I think you’ll find most useful.
Thank you Galit!
Note: I was not compensated for this post. Galit kindly sent me a copy of “Kindness Wins” for my consideration; all comments and opinions are – as always – completely my own.