As moms we are constantly online, connecting with our mommy friends on Facebook, checking websites to confirm schedules for kids' activities, keeping up with news that impacts our families, reading that teens bullied a fellow student on social media until she committed suicide ... wait, what? Yes, the Web is rife with scary stuff. It's easy to focus on the bad ways that connecting online may affect our families. But ConnectSafely, an organization dedicated to promoting safe Web use, is asking us to accentuate the positive on Feb. 11, Safer Internet Day.
This 11th-annual global event asks us to think of "One Good Thing" we've done online to benefit others. It could be as small as Skyping with grandparents who live far away so they can "visit" your newborn baby. Or it could be as big as starting an online bulletin board to help seniors and sick people in your community. The idea is to celebrate the ways in which being engaged online enhance your life and the lives of people around you.
"Through Safer Internet Day we aim to shift the conversation from a fear-based one to an informed discussion that supports good deeds and good policymaking in homes, schools and legislatures. 'One Good Thing' aims to raise much-needed awareness of the positive experiences people have online so we can balance the public discussion and create and grow the positive social norms that are protective online and offline," says Maureen Kochan, chief operating officer of ConnectSafely.org.
Leading up to this year's event, ConnectSafely encourages us to discuss "One Good Thing" with our kids and ask them to come up with their own ideas. Then, go online to share—with a video clip or short description—how you've made the Internet a better place.
Your "One Good Thing" may be shared during the National Cable and Telecommunications Association event marking this day in Washington, D.C.
This year's Safer Internet Day is also a great time to pledge "One Good Thing" you will do in 2014 and spread the message about how the Internet can be a force for good.