Jocelyn’s Jottings: Pink Shirt Day and online comments

Feb. 27 is pink shirt day and this year’s t-shirt proclaims “be kind” with the campaign focusing on getting people to think before posting on social media.

Though Pink Shirt day is for everyone, I have seen it adopted more in schools. I think adults also need a reminder to think before posting on social media.

The campaign asks everyone to T.H.I.N.K; is it true, helpful, inspiring, necessary and kind?

READ MORE: Pink Shirt Day a reminder to ‘T.H.I.N.K’ before posting on social media

First, let me say that freedom of speech is extremely important to me. However, if you want your message heard, I believe it is important to present it properly. Don’ t think Canada should be accepting and supporting refugees? You are entitled to that opinion. However, it doesn’t help you or anyone if you say racist, hateful things. No one will listen. And isn’t the whole point of commenting and speaking up so that someone will listen?

It all boils down to communication. We have too many communication platforms and no accountability. Yes, your comments on Facebook are connected to your public profile but swearing and hate from a keyboard will not get you the same kind of feedback that swearing and hate in a public setting would.

Do you remember your mom or maybe your grandma telling you as a kid ‘if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all’? Well, I would like to propose an amendment to that statement because I believe kindness is sometimes a matter of opinion (I have talked with people that are offended when I say “I disagree with you,” and that is a very important part of a conversation).

It is important to challenge the status quo, to ask questions of elected officials and others in power and depending on who you ask, those challenges may not be kind statements. Keep saying those things. Just remember there is a difference between disagreeing with someone and being rude and hateful. If you want to make progress and be heard, be polite but assertive.

At the end of the day, it is important to remember that the things you say, and type, have an impact. There have been news stories about teenagers who were bullied online and died by suicide. I am sure there have been lawsuits about comments made online and there have been political and business scandals because of posts made online.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again-the worst part of my job is moderating Facebook comments. Hopefully, that will change!

My amendment, forgive me grandma: If you have something ‘not nice’ to say, say it in a respectful way.



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