Our friends over at ‘Platform for Good’ have released an infographic today illustrating some of the less sensationalized ways youth are using online media. Called “Using Technology for Good?,” it highlights results from The 2013 Millennial Impact Report  and the 2011 Pew Report, entitled “Teens, Kindness and Cruelty on Social Network Sites,” and summarizes some of the positive uses of social media by youth. Its release is well timed for me, as I have been educating educators in recent weeks and it’s a point that I have been keen to make to them, as well.

Plat4Goodinfographic

“It is important to “reinforce positive norms by showing that the majority of young people make safe and responsible decisions using digital technologies and that they disapprove of hurtful behavio

[u]r” ( Protecting children in the 21st Century, Nancy Willard, 2012)

“It seems promising to empower a critical mass of youth to step up as leaders to model positive choices that personally matter to them … in a very visible manner in schools”  (The Influence of Parent, Educators, and Peers, Patchin & Hinduja,  2013)

Unfortunately, in our rush to respond to the horrific examples of online extortion, sexual exploitation and criminal harassment that some children have endured, the full, more balanced picture is sometimes lost.

I firmly believe that drawing attention to good online decisions is as important, if not more important, than illustrating controversial ones. We know the faces of the many cherished children world-wide whom we have lost to suicide and the social anxiety caused by online tormentors.  We are all now familiar with the phrase ‘cyberbullying’  (even if we can’t agree on it’s definition).  Moving forward I hope we all work harder to learn the language of social change phrases and to support  and honour the faces of children and youth engaging in  compassionate, positive and world- changing initiatives online.

80% of social media-using teens say they have defended victims of online harassment