Dear Ms. Lewinsky,
November of 1995 marked my ninth month of being in this world and for you, the moment a choice you made that would change your life forever. I am going to refer to your sensationalized incident as "The Story." I choose this reference to make a point. I don't know you personally and yet I would be tempted to pass judgment based solely upon what I have read on the Internet. What I find most interesting is this. Hearing your TED Talk and the message you delivered has altered my judgment. I realize many people's lives are destroyed because they don't have the confidence and courage to speak up; instead they are only known by "The Story."
My peers post their most intimate stories online everyday by means of photos, videos and text through various applications that are most often intended for a very small audience. Many will regret their choices and face consequences that will result in online shaming with the possibility of their post becoming a full-scale cyber show. Why? "The Story" is exciting, news worthy, and full of drama or gossip waiting to be accelerated into cyber space. As we share and screenshot these posts we quickly forget the humanity behind "The Story." What if, in order to share something, we had to personally seek out the individual, gain a better understanding and discuss "The Story" face-to-face? Our judgment wouldn't come as easy as a fast click; it would require us to face the consequences of our actions as we look into their eyes. It would require us to feel compassion and hear THEIR STORY...not "The Story." Would we then decide to push the button that could potentially subject them to a blood-shaming cyber world? In most cases, probably not, however my generation will be facing a world without a conscience if we continue to fill the Internet with shame.
My generation was born into a media digital cyber world. Our very means of existence are dependent on instant gratification and multi communications via applications that trend faster than parents can keep up. Our cyber world can be used for good, however without adequate education, the youth of today and tomorrow will lose the critical human interaction needed for survival. The Internet can do many things, but it cannot replace key elements such as compassion, love and human expression, therefore the need for education regarding cyber citizenship is at a critical high. Without appropriate guidelines for Internet protocol and accountability for cyber bullying, we will lose our foundation of morals and values as well as the ability to view our fellow citizens with compassion and understanding.
Thank you for using your voice and standing up for those who have not found the courage to speak out and for those who feel that there is no way out because of a mistake they made long ago.
"The Story" should never define us. We give "The Story" credence when we choose to react to sensationalized media and place judgment, when the only evidence we have is text on the Internet. Life is about choices, chances, and learning from our mistakes. Our courage to rise above and learn from our mistakes allows us to fight the tough battles of life.
It's time we start a revolution that turns the trend of a quick click to a thoughtful pause before we post online in a "world gone cyber."
A determined girl who believes in empowering and educating youth to be confident as they face the tough pressures of today's media driven society.
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