The other night we had the unbelievable opportunity to listen to Carol Todd. She is an amazing speaker who is extremely passionate about what she talks about. Carol Todd is an educator at Amanda Todd Legacy, where she educates parents and teachers about internet safety, mental health awareness and cyberbullying after the death of her daughter, Amanda Todd. Amanda Todd was a 15-year-old girl who took her own life after years of bullying, harassment and sextortion.
If you’ve never heard of Amanda, I would advise you to check out her video below to fully understand.
This video, her video, went viral following her suicide. Amanda dealt with bullying and sextortion, online and in school for 2 years. She was a princess snowflake, as her mom called her who dreamt about singing. After her death, Carol took it upon herself to help educate others on the importance of a child’s digital identity.
Upon hearing about what was happening in class I was very intrigued. I was curious, what would she say? Carol had every right to be angry or upset. Honestly, I expected her to be. I was blown away by how she could turn something so negative into a positive, educational way. If you get a chance to watch her TedTalk on April 16th, you won’t be disappointed.
I would love to be able to summarize her talk but for me, it would be nearly impossible. Kerrie Craske does a fantastic job of that. I would recommend checking out her posts on this talk. For me, I want to focus on to two important pieces of advice Carol gave to the class.
The first one:
When a kid turns 16, you don’t just give them the keys to the car without teaching them how to drive. So why do we hand children an iPad, tablet or cell phone without teaching them how to use it?
*cue explosion noises because my mind is blown* This simple idea is revolutionary and I would have never thought of it. I don’t remember ever getting lessons on it. I mean I wasn’t allowed on any social media site until I was in like grade 10 so maybe that why I didn’t get a lesson. But as you can see More Than Half of Children Use Social Media by the Age of 10. So why are we not educating them? We need to start educating children on the dangers of the internet and how to properly use it. StaySafeOnline.org has interesting activities to teach students ways to use the internet. They have some for k-2, 3-5 and middle & high school. We have to, both parents and educators to start teaching our students, computers are all around us and it will be better when people know how to use online space safely and appropriately.
The second biggest takeaway from the night:
Every single person in this word is unique. Beautiful. Fragile. Alone we can melt and disappear from the world. But together we form a snowball; strong and forceful. We can break just about anything. Carol talks about empathy, and the ability to actually just listen to somebody. Everyone needs someone who they can trust. Parents and teachers are the two most influential people in children’s lives (excluding friends), we must be open to listening to them. Carol deals with trolls in a remarkably classy way.
She is has one classmate says:
I know as a future educator the importance of teaching students to bring each other up instead of tearing each other down will be important both in person and online. I hope to educate the youth the importance of having a good digital identity.
What are ways we can incorporate digital identity in the classroom? What kinds of conversations must we have in order for there to be a change in the world? What were the biggest things you took away from the class?