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Why U.S. Schools Need a Social Media Helpline!

I remember my third grade experience like it was yesterday. The kids calling me names, running away before I could make them stop, chasing me when I went the other way or finding me playing on the playground so they could torment me some more. I remember going to the yard duty, a woman standing about 5’2″ who I thought was a giant, stared down at me to listen to my plight of being bullied daily. I told her what was happening, and without a pause she looked at me and said,

“What do you want me to do? You tell me about this every single day.

What do you expect me to do about it?”

To say this is a low point at the age of 8 is an understatement. The adult charged with making sure I stayed safe and felt loved blowing me off like a beggar outside of the supermarket. In hindsight I think she posed a good question only because I don’t think she knew what to do about me being bullied, it beyond her skill set, boys being boys. I’m sure the reaction would have been different had I done something about it and dealt with my oppressors in a different way, but that was not who I was. This is the challenge we face, kids are being mean and the students we are expected to protect and make feel loved and valued in our schools are not always feeling that way. The post goes up, usually anonymous, through apps like Burnbook, Snapchat, Twitter or Instagram. The kids look to adults for guidance, they look to friends for support, but no one knows what to do or how to respond.

Kids need help with a negative social media.

#icanhelp is all about empowering students to act and training adults in what to say or do when

encountering negative social media. The iCanHelpLine is an extension of the idea that schools and organizations can contact when needing help with issues around harassment, bullying, sexting and reputation. #icanhelp and NetFamilyNews Inc. have the experience as well as the industry relationships to social media organizations to resolve issues and offer guidance. So, instead of asking, “What do you want me to do about it,” you will hear, “how can I help?”

Help make this Social Media Helpline a reality.

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Matthew Soeth, MA Ed, has over 10 years experience in teaching and advising students He as taught English, CTE Video Production and Student Leadership. Along with his years in the classroom, Matt has served as the Technology Coordinator for the California Association of Directors of Activities. In addition, Matt is the co-founder of #icanhelp, a nonprofit that empowers students to take positive action on social media, to stand up for others and be a positive warrior to delete negativity online.

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