We’re living in an age where the online world is often more powerful and immersive than the real world.
We log on to work, bank, shop, amuse ourselves, and connect with people from around the globe. But the internet is also an unpredictable place where anonymity is taken advantage of and a sense of accountability is scarce. There are trolls, bullies, misleading posts, and humiliating videos that can be damaging in more ways than one.
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This makes the internet a risky and unsafe place, particularly for children who are joining the digital world at increasingly younger ages. The dangers of the online world have become an issue we must teach new generations to deal with.
Top Youth Speaker Blake Fly gave a motivational speech to school kids where he taught them a simple two-test question to guide the way they approach life online:
- Is it true?
- Is it kind?
If what you’re about to post is not true, don’t post it. If it is true, ask yourself if it’s kind. If yes, post it.
Although this advice is directed at children, it applies to all of us so we can better manage our online image and make the digital world a safer place for newer generations. Here are a few other surprising reasons why these two questions can actually be life-changing.
1. What you do online can affect your offline goals
During his speech, Blake Fly gave the children a valuable example of how your online past can come back to haunt you.
Let’s say you once posted a hateful comment under someone’s profile picture or YouTube video. Years later, long after you’ve forgotten about even making the comment, a potential employer decides to look you up online to see who they’re dealing with.
Eventually, your name pops up and it’s a link to that image or video you commented on all those years ago. Your employer is not impressed and decides to pass on hiring or even contacting you. You may never truly realize just how many opportunities for jobs, dates, or friendships that one simple comment has made you lose.
If you know you’ve been on less-than-kind behavior on the internet in the past, search your name online and go through the pages that come up. Take the time to delete anything that could reflect badly on you, then promise yourself to do better. Self-improvement starts when you take the first step.
2. Being kind online can change your life
Knowing that the digital world is tightly linked with the real world, you’ll find that being kind online will help you improve yourself offline too.
You’ll create the chance to connect with better people, share more valuable experiences, and create a safer place for children to explore and learn. Be the person you wish everyone online could be. Lead by example and you’ll attract followers who will be inspired to do the same.
Whatever you choose to share with the world, just remember that it can either hurt or help your chances of reaching your goals in life. Pour kindness into the online world, teach the children around you to do the same, and watch how it all comes back to you tenfold.
Live your life online in a way that helps you get all those things you say you want in life. So the question becomes, ‘Who do you want to be?’
— Blake Fly