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Three-Sixty Executive Director Lynda McDonnell believes that educating, instead of lecturing, is the best way to encourage teens to choose safer behaviors.
“They have rights to privacy and free speech,” she said, “but they need to think about consequences.”
Since the project began, many of the teen creators have made their own adjustments. One removed her phone number from her Facebook profile; another deleted more than 500 images. Another googled herself and deleted “embarrassing” videos.
It’s not just teens who could benefit from a little adjusting. McDonnell hears from students whose parents or aunties “will comment on everything. It’s silly and inappropriate and that’s embarrassing to them.”
Overreacting by adults isn’t helpful, either. “It’s really important to be aware of what they’re doing, but to not be so quick to judge or panic,” McDonnell said. “Try to learn from them about how they’re using social media. Guide them to places, including this website. Be eager to learn.
“We’re always behind our kids when it comes to technology.”