Digital Kindness

By Guest Author Leslie Boggs, President, National Parent Teacher Association

Daily life for most of us looks radically different than it did at this time last year. Virtual classrooms, working from home, video calls with doctors, limited social gatherings and other public safety precautions are now part of our routines to help stop the spread of COVID-19 across our country.

With so many aspects of our daily lives now conducted digitally, it’s more important than ever to do so in a way that’s safe, kind and inclusive. 

In February, we celebrate Safer Internet Day, an international education and awareness-raising effort to promote safer and more responsible use of digital devices and online technology, especially for children and youth. As we continue to rely heavily on technology, this is the perfect time for families to evaluate their online habits, do a refresh of online safety tips and best practices, and make digital kindness a regular practice.

Here are a few ideas for digital kindness that families can practice together:

  • Celebrate your friends and family. Scroll through a family member’s and friends’ social media feeds intentionally looking for reasons to celebrate. It could be something big like a graduation or wedding or something as simple as a friend mastering a new recipe. Leave a kind note for your friend or family member celebrating their success.
  • Leave positive reviews. Whether it’s for your child’s favorite book or your family’s favorite local restaurant, writing a heartfelt, positive review spreads joy, especially during this challenging time.
  • Create opportunities to be interactive. Many people are struggling with feelings of isolation right now. Use your social media to connect with people. Create a post offering to share a favorite memory or give a compliment to anyone who comments. It might just make their day!

As parents, it’s also important to review your personal example and to monitor and model your own technology use. Kids follow what adults do, and they benefit greatly when expectations and good digital habits are modeled for them. 

Learning about online safety and digital kindness together and having proactive, open and ongoing conversations with our kids will help keep them safe; build good digital habits; and create a kinder, more inclusive online community for everyone.

Learn more about digital kindness at National PTA’s upcoming event Real Conversations with Families About Digital Kindness on Tuesday, Feb. 9! For even more tips and resources to help your family manage digital life, visit PTA.org/Connected.

About the Author:
Leslie Boggs is president of National PTA, the nation’s oldest and largest child advocacy association. National PTA brings together parents, families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders to make a difference for the education, health, safety and well-being of every child and make every child’s potential a reality.

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