Recently Kevin Curwick, a high school student in Osseo, Minnesota, got a lot of press attention. Tired of seeing cyberbullying and negative comments online, he started a Twitter account just for sending positive vibes to friends and acquaintances. @OsseoNiceThings took off quickly, and soon his tweets were being touted by news stations and blogs all over the country. After the local stations carried the story, The Huffington Post and USAToday featured it as well. Soon other high school students were setting up accounts, and a fresh wave of civility began tweeting its way around the country.
We talk a lot about the role of bystanders in confronting bullying, though it probably sounds like jargon to students. But here we have a wonderful example of a bystander taking a leadership role and helping to forward the cause of ending cyberbullying. Judging by the numbers of people who have read and forwarded the news articles covering Curwick’s tweets, there seems to be lots of support for this brave action.
Will these nice tweets end cyberbullying in high schools? Probably not. But it is good to know that students can see kind and supportive comments offered as well. Young people have a lot of power in the world of social networking. Using that power to share great news, good thoughts, and positive energy can help create supportive environments in online communities.
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“Osseo football captain beats cyber bullies at their own game, making kindness go viral,” news story from KARE 11 TV, Minneapolis, MN