I started out today with the idea of “milestones” in my head for a blog. Well, it will have to stay there and bide it’s time because something has come up.
The Boston Marathon Bombs.
A runner friend of mine was talking about watching the marathon and the geek that he was to do this (which I heartily agreed) and I hope that he wasn’t watching as the coverage began of the aftermath. Some of the pictures that I’ve come across are very graphic in nature. As I’m watching this unfold after school via Twitter and a running site I frequent, I get this text from my daughter:
“Holy crap I just witnessed a car accident!!! a little car just hit a truck and the truck went in the ditch and left smoking stuff all over!!!! OMG OMG OMG OMG!!!”
Yes, she just saw an accident happen as she was riding the bus home. Now, as a disclaimer here, my daughter is very dramatic, but yet, this was something that scared her, so I quick called and yes, she was fine and no she didn’t know who was in the vehicle. Well, my daughter being the social butterfly she is, within 20 minutes, she knew who was in the car, and within another 20 minutes she had a bunch of other details.
This is where my coaching of her began. I stopped her and ask if she knew any of the details that she’d just rattled off as being fact. “No.” Ok then, stop right here with me until you know facts, not what someone told you, facts. She was quiet a bit and gave me a meek little “all right”. We talked a bit more and I hung up.
How do these two events relate to each other? The use of cell phones and social media do not always equate to the use of common sense. As I watched via twitter, some wild rumors started floating about until people finally started tweeting out to watch the information that was being spread. Same with my daughter. Stop and think, do you know this for certain? If not, is it wise to repeat much of it until you do?
Now, this isn’t to say that there isn’t a time and place to pass along information. However, as we teach social skills on line, we must keep in mind that yes, we have to talk about having that ability to stop a rumor with us, not letting it pass. If we can do this as teachers, parents, and concerned adults, the rumors happening in Boston wouldn’t be happening, and my daughter would know well enough to put the phone down when she starts getting messages like that. It was a good learning experience for her, and a good teachable moment as well.
One last thought: My heart goes to all those affected by this horrific act in Boston. However, I tweeted this, and I’ll say it again. It does my heart good to see so many people running to help in the aftermath, and to hear many stories of bravery. In events like this, the cream of humanity does rise to the top.