Gone are the days of loading up your friends and traveling days to protest at the foot of our nation’s monuments. Digital activism has made a pathway for people to be activists from anywhere, even the comfort of their own home.
When one thinks of activists, it may produce negative connotations. One may think of all of the negative protests that have occurred over the years.
The thing is, there is a way to make change happen in a positive way. An example of positive activism in action would be the work that one Shorty Awards teen activist finalist is doing through her campaign-Why To Stay Strong.
The Why To Stay Strong campaign does its best to help anyone with problems such as depression, self harm, anorexia, bulimia, and any other problems a person may be having, and encourages others to do the same. It does its best to help people stay positive, because being negative can ruin your life. Being negative destroys happiness and hope in a person.
This young teen is working towards making our world a better, more positive, place. She is helping people see their worth in a world of people that would like to tell us otherwise.
Teacher Bill Ferriter wrote on Smart Brief that, “Embracing the notion that raising our voice and drawing awareness to the causes that we care the most about is a valuable form of activism and participation.” Anyone can make a difference if they wish to. We should be encouraging children to be a part of making a positive difference. We need them to understand that they can make a change through positive activism.
In helping children understand digital activism, we also need them to understand the way they can actually make a change. For example, slinging insults at our president because you don’t agree with one of his policies is not a form of positive digital activism. Acting out in anger won’t cause a change to happen, but rather cause more divide, cause more anger and sadness in an already struggling world.
One of my favorite quotes comes from Mother Theresa: “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
(Photo from Flickr by BK)
I’ve played a small part in positive digital activism, mostly on social media. I share information to raise awareness of children in foster care. I’m also pro-life and share information about the truths of abortion and offer a listening ear to those that are suffering with guilt over having an abortion. I want them to know that God has forgiven them and that they are loved. I’m also a big supporter of Special Olympics and believe in the importance of respect and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities. I often share information about our local unified sports teams and try to find more people who would like to come play. Our family is also actively involved, so I share pictures and information about our program. I often share information on Facebook about the importance of kindness and helping others. I stay positive. I try to share hope and God’s love to anyone who may be reading my posts. Just a few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post assignment for my digital literacy class, that pertained to my experience as a learner. I found that it ended up being a story of triumph over life’s struggles. A story of how bullying can immensely effect the lives of others, and how those people can overcome. I shared it on Facebook, and received many comments and messages from people whose lives it touched. It was incredibly difficult to open up and share, but I can only hope that it can be a part of making a positive change in the lives of someone else.
And that’s exactly what we should be doing when we participate in digital activism.