Adult Online Digital Citizenship

A few days ago , I happen to sit in on a presentation for middle school students on digital citizenship . I personally learned a lot from this presentation. Footprints. That is what we leave when we post online. Be it Facebook, Instagram, twitter. Whatever you post is out on the internet for all to see. Even in closed groups or private status, people take screen shots and pass it all around.

This workshop couldn’t have come at a better time, As this week I have become a personal target for a group of people on line. It is rather shocking to see lies and hateful comments made by people who don’t even know me. People twisting comments made in my group and making them sound different then intended just to cause drama, perhaps to suit their own cause. It’s one thing to bash a group’s philosophy but when you start mentioning names the attack becomes personal and when it doesn’t stop it becomes harassment. I have also seen people attack people in my group for difference of opinion. So I think its all over.

I am seeing a trend, maybe its the election and everyone wants to fight, but right now people in these groups, including mine are down right nasty. A person can not post an opinion or view point without it becoming victim to  a nasty attack. Either bashing the person for their own views, or making them doubt their own allergist because its not in line with your own allergist and causing doubt in a already vulnerable person. I have seen so much nastiness online during the last week  its truly frighting.

Now back to digital citizenship. To the people doing the attacking and to the people  not only allowing it but encouraging it,  I ask  do these people care that people can see what they are writing? I mean anyone can see it even though the group is private . People are taking screenshots and sending them to others. Do these  people  want their kids to see this is how they act? maybe?  Do they want potential future employers to see who that act? I don’t know maybe they don’t care.  Why are so people so passionate about telling others what is right or wrong for people they never even met.

What I do know is that this game  people are playing is a bad one. Teens have committed suicide of this type of behavior. I never understood why before, but seeing my own feelings as I read this stuff, I can understand it better now. You are helpless, and you can’t erase what is being said In some cases you are made to feel like a bad parent or person.Parents of food allergic kids are stressed enough let alone being attacked over view points and choices.

I am writing this to ask all us food allergy parents, next time you want to attack someone online for having a different opinion,as your self is this how you want the world to see you? would you say this in person? if not don’t hit enter.

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What The Teal Pumpkin Really Means.

It’s October and that means its’s Halloween all month long.  We are hit with Halloween items it feels like from mid August on . A few years ago the “Teal Pumpkin Campaign” started.  At first it was small and only those in the food allergy world knew about it. Last year the media picked up on it, This year stores are even selling items that are specifically for it.

This campaign’s aim was to raise  awareness for food allergies and to have safe  non- food alternatives available for children with food allergies. Sadly, though this message has not made it to many of our own food allergy advocates. I am constantly seeing posts about having peanut and tree nut free candies available, or seeing lists that people are saying are good for allergies yet, they contain other of the top 8 allergens. Twizzlers, have wheat. Laffy Taffy has an egg warning on some flavors, junior mints have milk,  I could keep going but you get my point. We need to stop thinking  that yet again the words food allergies is synonymous with nut allergies.

The whole point of the Teal Pumpkin Campaign was to encourage non- food items to be given out. So that no child would be excluded  regardless of allergens, or dietary issues. This is a great idea! it includes everyone. So someone please tell me why am I not seeing this message coming across in many food allergy groups  or even media stories about the campaign. Just today, I came across a story in a parent paper that was talking about “Tricks for a food allergy a safe  Halloween”  The author only talked about peanut allergies and gave alternatives for peanut allergic kids, Then at the bottom gave tips for other kids at the end. Now some may say, maybe that’s what the author knows, maybe she didn’t know any better. Sorry, I am not going to take that for an answer. We need to STOP putting out advice like that and really stick to the true message of the Teal Pumpkin Campaign, No food period!

Please educate yourself, your friends and you neighborhoods having peanut or tree nut candy is not enough and its not being food allergy friendly. Go to Party City  or your local dollar store and  get pencils, favors.  DON’T GET PLAYDOUGH!  and have some little knickknacks around . I have 2 buckets one with regular candy and one that is food free.  Let’s help make sure ALL kids are included and we continuously raise awareness for all food allergies.