Whether it is Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or other networking platforms, social media is a profoundly powerful tool that offers many benefits. For our kids, communicating and connecting with others, staying informed, and being able to research topics has never been easier. At the same time, social networking can be very destructive. Teaching our kids how to be responsible, emotionally sensitive, digital citizens is essential if parents are going to protect their kids from cyber-bullying, self-esteem issues or relational conflicts.

One easy technique is to teach kids to “THINK.” That acronym is: to ask themselves is my post True? Is it Helpful? Is it Inspiring? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind?

For kids, learning this technique may prevent them from sending posts, texts, memes, pictures or chats that could be mean, bullying or rejecting. However, if kids are going to learn to think before posting, adults also must be good role models. Facebook and Instagram are filled with posts by adults who become “key-board brave” and impulsive, condemning and shaming mothers with tantrum toddlers, public officials, political candidates, poor parking jobs and adults and kids who have made mistakes.

Perhaps adults also need to “THINK.” Making a genuine mistake, having a different opinion or getting in the wrong supermarket line should not result in a social media free-for-all. Compassionate responsiveness means we stop to think and consider the person's motives and feelings before criticizing the behavior.

Join us this Sunday, Oct. 20, from 3-6 p.m. at Scotts Ridge Middle School to learn more about the Compassion Project.

Learn about the exciting Compassionate Ridgefield projects underway and how you can get involved. All are welcome. Bring a friend. To register, email compassionproject06877@gmail.com.

Amanda Bergen is a board member of Compassionate Ridgefield.