Recent deaths by suicide on Social Media, the use of drugs and alcohol as glamorous and exciting, sexual exploitation, Sexting, Cyberbullying, threats, intimidation and the use of Social Media to make political threats and accusations is sending the wrong message to youth, teens and young adults.
The availability of learning experiences should never be denied to youth and teens with technology. In the world of digital communication, diverse Social Media platforms and tools, Apps that allow for instant access to family and friends tech can be both good and bad. Technology influences the So Lo Mo of life: So – social engagement of youth and teens, Lo – access to local activities and events, Mo – mobile technologies that move with youth and teens so they are always connected.
The Bridge of Northeast Florida (Cynthia Gibson) and William Jackson (educator, trainer and speaker) have provided dedicated workshops addressing Sexting, Bullying, Cyberbullying and STEM/STEAM along with the value of HBCUs in higher education and career development.
Even at the elementary and middle school age youth need to learn the dangers of being online and giving out personal and even family information. How people try to gain their friendship online, try to manipulate them mentally and emotionally putting themselves and their families in dangerous situations.
Sexting has consequences and that a wrong choice can follow them a lifetime and ruin a career, building a family and even in this age of digital commerce can have unforeseen influences with personal credit and entrance into higher education, military service and stable employment. Information never goes away and can cause legal problems even jail time and labeling when involved in Sexting or child pornography. Parents need to check their children’s phones from time to time, but many are too afraid of the response from their children. The plus side is understanding how positive and empowering STEM is and
influence life for children.
Science Technology Engineering and Math can be seen from the examples of Hidden Figures and that there are local role models like Taylor Richardson who are working to be NASA astronauts and travel to Mars and the stars. Students during the discussion phase are unfortunately being told that Blacks have never been into space and they are not “smart” enough to be involved in high tech careers. Parents more than ever before need to talk to their children about their career choices, the value of education and why/how STEM can help them achieve their goals as adults.
Parents need to take their children to museums, libraries and cultural events so their children are exposed to educational opportunities and services as The Bridge offers to the community of Jacksonville, Florida. The Bridge of Northeast Florida provides many services to prepare future leaders that are children in our schools and communities now, preparing them to lead in the future as current leaders age and retire.
Children of color and culture should be educated, mentored and see positive role models as examples of what can be achieved. In The Bridge they see these and more by presentations, speakers, role models and mentoring. Children of color should know who the first Black woman and Black man where to fly into space, who the other firsts of their cultures are and not be told that Blacks have not accomplished great things in history. The truth is out there and children can use technology to learn and grow from it, but they must be given positive information. Community programs like The Bridge are needed more because of the false information being feed to youth, teens and young adults about their potential for success and being beneficial to their communities. The chaos they sometimes see and hear either in real life or through the media cannot be controlled, but with efforts by The Bridge and others children can be guided, mentored and educated in the right way.
The Bridge of Northeast Florida
NASA Kids Club
Hidden Figures No More – NPR
How Black Women Did The Math
Seeing More Women of Color