Students Organize Online Spring Cleaning on ‘Delete Day’

Photo: (Getty Images)

Young women at the Mary Louis Academy high school in Queens, NY are cleaning up their digital acts today, erasing any traces of risky, hurtful and inappropes personal online content — what senior Christin Hu calls our “Internet footprint” —  for the first ever Delete Day.

Students designed the event after Critical Issues for Girls organized a conference there addressing increased instances of harassment and offense online. “Nobody wants to hurt others, and nobody wants to be seen as a bad person,” sophomore Jamie Sweeney says. “However, we realized that simply by clicking a ‘like’ button or posting a photo, we can be doing just that, even unintentionally.”

If you’re tempted to brush it off as inapplicable to you — hey, your Facebook friends share your sense of humor, right? — trust and believe it’s not all about you. How you interact online has a trickle-down effect shaping the way young kids experience interpersonal relationships.

Lauren Alvarez, a senior at the Academy, has a 16-year old sister, and says, “I worry about what she ‘thinks’ is cool and okay to put on the Internet. … [Kids] try to act older by posting certain inappropriate pictures and writing comments that are derogatory, but in reality, it makes them look more immature and foolish.”

It’s easy to start a Delete Day at your school — and even easier to draw a line right now through A Thin Line. You can make moves to defend your digital domain and take a stand by putting your own actions on the Draw Your Line map.

Jamie Sweeney puts it perfectly: “My life is my message, and your life is your message. As long as social networking remains a part of our lives, we have to make sure that all of our online activities reflect the messages we want to send.”

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