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Big Sister Association Diversity Council Event Encourages Women and Girls to Rethink Social Media

On March 14th, 50 women and teen girls attended Big Sister Association’s Diversity Council Conversations Among Women event, T.M.I.: How Much is Too Much, Protecting Your Online Reputation. This was the second in a four-part series, which was created to start a dialogue in the city around issues that are important to women and girls of color, with the goal of increasing the organization’s visibility to inspire more women to become Big Sisters.

Neva Grice, from the Boston Police Department, and Simmons College professor Ulli Ryder, PhD, started an informative conversation on the dangers of social media in forming an online identity and concrete strategies on how to protect yourself. There were compelling discussions from both women and teen girls about the differences and similarities of how both age groups use social networking sites and the negative and positive impacts.

The group shared their own positive and negative experiences using social media.

The event closed with the evening’s facilitator, Kameelah Benjamin-Fuller from Global Novations, asking the audience to share their plans for navigating social media in the future. One teen girl said she plans to be more aware of what she writes on Facebook, and will make sure she is writing more positive comments about people than negative. One woman said that she will reevaluate her different social media accounts to make sure that each really represents how she wants to be portrayed.

Small groups discussed their personal action steps for managing their social media in the future.

This event could not have been successful without our sponsor Boston Scientific’s Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Achievement; our host, Simmons Institute for Leadership and Change; and our speakers, Neva Grice, Ulli Ryder, PhD, and Kameelah Benjamin-Fuller.

Pictured from left to right are: Mia Roberts, Vice President of Recruitment and Community Partnerships, Big Sister Association; Ulli Ryder, PhD, Simmons College; Deb Re, Chief Executive Officer, Big Sister Association; Neva Grice, Boston Police Department

Stay tuned for part three of the series on June 13th!

Sex Ed 2.0

Technology has undoubtedly changed the way we think and talk about sex, particularly for adolescents.  Among this age group, “sexting” (the practice of sending sexually explicit photos or messages via cell phone or other messaging device) has made headlines in recent months.  Online sexual predators, known to lurk alongside children on social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook, have opened our eyes to the dangerous intersection of sex and the internet.   Pornography of varying degrees is widely available on the internet.  Yet, cyber technology and the need for instant gratification among adolescents are not diminishing.

The Boston Public Health Commission has just launched a new campaign that uses popular technologies like Facebook and YouTube to educate and inform adolescents about the growing concern over the increase in sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among their age group.  The aim is to grab teens’ attention where it is already directed and hopefully spark some real life, face-to-face conversation with a parent, mentor, or other trusted adult.

Will it work? What do you think?  For the Big Sisters out there, would this be a good way to get the conversation rolling with your Little Sister?