Before this week’s module, I had never heard of the term “digital activism.” This shouldn’t come as a surprise because, as I have stated many times, I’m not great with technology. However, after learning the basics of it, I did wonder if it had the same effect as non-digital or physical activism. While some nickname the phenomenon “slacktivism”, it is a great way for kids to find issues they are passionate about and get involved. Digital activism isn’t just posting your opinions. It is signing e-petitions, donating, reaching out to those in need, being a positive influence to your followers, etc. What is social media if not a place to share ideas?
I have never participated in digital activism, but as a teacher, I find the significance in it. Many have discussed the value of teaching kindness, and this is a great way to do so. Digital activism is also much safer than more traditional forms of activism. Students wouldn’t put themselves in any type of physical danger, and they can also post their opinions anonymously.
After researching some active teens, I was especially interested in Gabby Frost’s Buddy Project. A major problem in today’s teenage society is mental health. Many social media accounts have been created to encourage kindness and positivity, but Gabby Frost takes it a step further. With her Buddy Project, she pairs people with similar interests and of similar age. She is also working on creating an app to make the whole experience more convenient for herself and those who use the Buddy Project. The program also acts as a charity and sells t shirts and other merchandise to give profits to mental health organizations. What a great influence for my students! Gabby, online sixteen, has already helped so many people feel loved and helped them make a friend as well as making money for the cause she is passionate about. Not to mention, she does the majority of the work all on her own with just a little help from close family. While Gabby’s has been very successful, I do not expect my students to all create substantial organizations like she has. Many of them may not know what issues might interest them, and many of them won’t have time to be as involved, but Gabby is a great role model for them to learn from.
My only concern, similar to digital citizenship, is how I can fit digital activism into my lesson plans. After teaching my students the content of my lesson while incorporating digital literacy, how will I find the time to teach my students about digital activism?