I know and believe in the potential social media has to bring good into the world.
I also know how the anonymity of the internet somehow gives people the power to hide behind technology and be more hurtful than you could ever possibly imagine.
My heart hurt when I heard about Rehteah Parsons. Initial anger gave way to frustration when we learned how something so devastating could happen and hardly a thing has been done about it. I read her dad’s post. I can only imagine how unbearable it was as a parent watching your child suffer without having the ability to figure out how to support them.
And then the universe aligned and I was introduced to this campaign. Sharing is one of the best ways to promote this conversation and I ask you to Share this FORWARD.
Below is a summary of Dartmouth High School and their campaign to focus on #WeHaveThePower
Dartmouth High School, after learning about the tragic circumstances surrounding Rehtaeh Parsons
death, recently held a class discussion around social media, sexual assault/harassment and bullying,
and talked to students about making change with an awesome campaign.
They are asking students to pledge to create positivity instead of pain online, encouraging discussions about the power to take control of their social media/delete negative pictures/choose not to forward negative pictures/report inappropriate images and messages.
One of their teachers, Heather Hughes-Leck and a couple of her students presented the below to the masses of Dartmouth high school last week and has created a plan for students to talk about this online over the next few days using the hashtag #WeHaveThePower. At 2pm Tues, they will be taking a moment of silence to remember people who have been negatively impacted by negative social media/cyberbullying/sexual assault.
“We Have the Power Campaign”
Take out your phones. In your hand, you have the power to ruin your own life or
How can you ruin your own life? You live in a world of technology, where
everything you write and send out to the internet universe is saved and can be retrieved.
Colleges/Universities/Employers and even future boyfriends/girlfriends can google you
and easily see your life in pictures and tweets. Any drunken picture or negative text/
tweet/post is out there for the world to see. Ask yourself if you like your internet persona.
Is that someone you would want your grandmother to meet? Is that someone who your
children would be proud of?
How can you ruin some else’s life? When you hit send, forward or re-tweet
something awful and nasty, that demeans and dehumanizes someone else; you cause
irreversible damage. You easily become a bully, or worse, engage in harassment and
criminal activity, like distributing pornography. You cannot take those things back. We
all know I am not making these things up. People have died because of hate spread
through social media. Yet, we continue to participate in these forums in the same
Your teachers and your parents did not grow up with phones in their pockets or
Facebook. If we tell you to stop this behaviour, you could easily respond that we don’t
know what we are talking about and everyone is doing it.
So my question to you is…what are you going to do about the power you have in
your hand? You can start now. Commit to only using social media in positive ways.
Commit to not forwarding any inappropriate pictures, to reporting any criminal activity,
and commit to telling your friends not to retweet hurtful things. It takes a lot less energy
to be positive.
Make a pledge to make a positive change. On social networks, spread the pledge.. “I have the power to…” What can you do to make positive change? Express your personal pledge to be positive. This will be followed by a moment of silence for all those who have died or been victims of cyberbullying. The beauty of this movement is how easy it is. Be positive. That’s it! So simple and so doable and it might get you into university, get you a job or save someone’s life.
From students of Dartmouth High School
Our generation has been fortunate enough to be born into a time where we have
the world literally in our pocket. With our phones, we can connect with anyone, anytime.
We can do research, watch movies and take pictures and videos so that we have those
memories forever. We have an amazing amount of power in our hands. Unfortunately,
many people are using this power in a negative way. We have all read or have seen
horrible texts or graphic pictures that degrade and demean our peers. Because of this
behaviour, young people within our community have been belittled, bullied and even
pushed to take their own lives. This is unacceptable!
Gandhi once said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” He’s
right. We have the power to be positive and make the world a better place for everyone.
That’s why Dartmouth High School is starting the “We have the Power” campaign. We
have the power to erase our generation’s negative impact on social media by simply being
positive. Let’s stop ruining people’s lives and compromising our own futures. The first
step is to take back social media from the bullies and criminals. Delete hurtful posts,
tweets, text messages, pictures, and videos.
It’s time to make a change.
** PLEASE TAKE YOUR OWN PLEDGE TO CREATE POSITIVE CHANGE ONLINE THIS WEEK AND INCLUDE IN THE TWEET #WEHAVETHEPOWER TO HELP FURTHER THE MESSAGE.