Now is a good time to think about how we are creating, curating and engaging with online content.
As digital users ourselves, I think many of us want a little more positivity to come from online interactions. As parents, we want our kids to be aware of the reality of being online (there’s good, and there’s bad), while also acknowledging that ‘toxic positivity’ isn’t going to be the answer either.
It leaves us wondering ‘how do we make the internet a better place for all of us?’ The truth is, I don’t have the answer. I don’t even have the start of one. But I do think we all have a responsibility to be better digital citizens.
I personally can see the positive impact being online has on my life and career. The connections, community, and opportunities have been seemingly endless. But I can also recognize the internet as a place that drives anxiety (including my own), misinformation and hate.
Navigating these waters is no easy task, and for our kids, it may feel even more overwhelming than ever to be online.
I liked this list from MediaSmarts about ways all of us can contribute to a more positive place online:
Positive ways to engage online as a digital citizen can include:
- Pushing back against hate and prejudice online and reporting it
- Sharing a kind or positive comment
- Sending a funny message to brighten someone’s day
- Making your voice heard about an issue you care about (in a constructive way)
- Amplifying marginalized voices
- Checking reputable sources before sharing info
- Respecting other people’s privacy when sharing things online
If we look at this list and think about how we are using our own space online, are we already implementing some of these suggestions? Are our kids? (I know mine have the ‘funny message/meme’ thing covered if our family group chat is any indication).
If not, it may be a good time to reflect on what that is and how we can change that.
This week, during Media Literacy Week, and every week beyond it, we should consider our role as digital citizens, and how what we put out into the world, in a positive and/or meaningful way, can have an impact.
And of course, we should keep sharing memes.