WE 365: Youth Voices on Responsible Social Media Use

My name is Leo Tobbe. I am an incoming freshman at duPont Manual High School, and a Scholastic Kids Press reporter. In my role with Scholastic, I have become sensitive to not only the misinformation that is spread online, but also the hate and negativity. When used responsibly, social media is a powerful communication and influencing tool. When used absentmindedly or maliciously, it can ruin someone’s life. This led me to create || Pause ||. A campaign asking everyone to pause before they interact online.

Cyber harassment comes in many forms. Sometimes it is the posting of an unflattering picture or hateful words. But most often it is the actions we don’t think about; for example, liking or sharing a false or negative post made about someone – imagine thousands of people liking a hateful comment someone made about you.

Our mobile devices enable us to use social media with the touch of a finger, but with that power comes great responsibility. This responsibility includes understanding and accepting that things said online are as impactful (often more so) as those said face-to-face. It also requires us to be mindful that comments made online are delivered without context, body language, and tone of voice, making them easy to misconstrue.

We have the power to make the internet a safe, compassionate, and positive place for everyone. We have the power to use social media in a way that makes people’s lives, and the world, a better place. So, I encourage everyone to || Pause || and think about the human being on the other side of your screen. || Pause || and check the validity of information before you share it. || Pause || and remember you have an amazing power to control the information and energy you put into the cyber world.