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Social media are terrific communication tool — when used properly

BY CASEY T. DELANEY Published: October 13, 2012

I recently had to borrow a book to read with my 2-year-old, titled “Teeth are Not for Biting.” It was great and she quickly realized that biting was not acceptable. I noticed the last book of the series is titled “Words Are Not For Hurting.” My heart dropped thinking about when she will need to read that book, and that there might be a day when she uses words intended to hurt. It recently hit me, however, that my 2-year-old isn't the needed target for this book.

We are.

Adults need this book more than anyone, and we're the ones setting the example for what is appropriate speech and behavior to our children. Social media have forever changed communication. People spout messages and language without regard to meaning or effect. Adults have the mistaken belief that they can say anything without regard to consequences.

I am amazed at what parents will write about their child's school or teachers on social media. What message are you sending to your children? You're telling them that the acceptable way to handle conflict and concern is to attack on the Internet from the privacy of your living room, rather than requesting a meeting that might actually make progress in alleviating those concerns. You have no regard for the hurtful nature of your words. How would you expect your child to resolve conflict with communication when you use Facebook to attack?

In a political election year, campaigns make vicious speech even more acceptable. Ordinary citizens take to social media to spout messages of what is “truth” and “right”, without consideration to those they offend. Whether you do, or do not, eat at Chick-fil-A is now a statement about your religious beliefs as well as your view on gay marriage.

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