I just finished an interview on the radio about the image of girls and how social media has corrupted their self esteem and body image. In my mind, the words I wanted to say didn't flow as freely as a calm and rational person. What I wanted to say is that it's our job as parents to equip our kids with the information on how they should react and respond. Teach them to question. Teach them to become strong individuals. Teach them not follow the crowd. This is harder done than said these days right? There are many influencers in the playground as well as social media that mess with their self-esteem. We need to be better at teaching our kids how to judge and respond to comments.
At University we are taught to check all our quotes and sources to make sure we have all our facts right. This just isn't in academia. It is in all facets of our lives. Our kids (and as adults) need to learn how to analyse the message, who sent it and their motivation. What influences the communication and what other barriers, such as body language or internal circumstances like jealousy, anger or embarrassment, that can impact the message. Understand that someone's written response maybe taken out of context when we aren't in a one-on-one environment.
The next stage in Communication is how they (and us parents) chose to react and the consequences. Are they actually been bullied or is it just a misunderstanding? Do we respond or turn a blind eye. If kids are being bullied online - does ignoring the communication work to their advantage and do they have an upper hand? Is it safer to walk away? It's your choice how to respond and how you feel (sometimes easier said than done). That understanding there is normally three sides to a story - theirs, yours and the truth - and we need to question motivations and language used. Unless its physical harm that old saying "Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me" I like to think is still true today.
Maybe I am too naive, but hopefully I am giving my kids - my son included - knowledge that beauty and strength comes from inside. That standing up for yourself, and others, is important. A good example of this came from my 10 year old at the beach last weekend. A group of kids had a canoe in the swimming section. The kids told her to get out of the way. She responded by telling them to get out of the swimming zone with the canoe! I internally smiled at her strength. Her power. Her confidence. I couldn't have been happier as a parent that she stood her ground. All I hope for is that she uses these same principles for the online world. Am I being too simplistic? What do you think?
I think silly thoughts and musings about the world of marketing, as a marketer, then publish them on my blog because Social Media doesn't give me enough space to rant. Karen Montagu, thats me and these are my silly thoughts and observations.