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Martin Seligman, the creator of Positive Psychology, emphasized the strength of social influence and how it can create meaning in life. We all need purpose, and sometimes social media can discourage us from charging forward to feel connected, popular, or even just happy. Parents often use the tools from Dr. Bennett’s Screen Safety Toolkit to help their kids establish on-screen/off-screen balance. But even with a little bit of screen time, there are still a lot of negatives to focus on. Today’s GKIS article highlights some beautiful bright spots on GoFundMe and in the Twitter community. I hope you find it inspiring to join the joyful fray!

Paying it Forward: GoFundMe

GoFundMe.com is a popular website used for personal fund raising. For example, Dana Barrett’s tragic story of suffering from a traumatic spinal injury left her unable to breathe on her own. She’d already suffered great loss with the death of both of her parents when she was only twenty-one years old. Now, after her accident, she was left struggling with quadriplegia.

Dana is a loving, positive, and strong individual who is mightily loved and appreciated by her community. Her medical expenses will cost over $500,000. GoFundMe offered a platform for her loving community to come together for support. At the time of this writing, her fund was nearing $300,000 and growing!

Recent updates say that, with the support and money coming in from GoFundMe.com, she has been able to eat and drink on her own! She was told those goals were outside of her reach. The onlinecommunity has consistently promoted events since her accident via social media, ultimately attracting the attention of singer-songwriter Gloria Estafan, comedian  Amy Schumer, and actor Adrian Griener.

The Ripple Effect

It doesn’t take a celebrity to spread generosity and joy; it can begin straight from your social media feed. Recently I experimented with the ripple effect by offering random comments of appreciation and support on Instagram. Quick, thoughtful comments to friends and acquaintances let them know I actually read their captions and enjoyed the photo, rather than just mindlessly scrolling and commenting with heart eyes emoji. I took Martin Seligman’s active listening techniques and applied them to social media posts.

Almost immediately I saw a positive return on my posts. I felt connected in an online world where connection is sometimes lost. Soon I started messaging people I wanted to be friends with, just by
watching their Instagram story and saying something nice about the content. In a short time, I felt like I had a whole tribe of new friends eager to connect and share the joy. Social media isn’t all about distraction. With a little bit of authentic, mindful effort it is a tool for fun and convenient connection.

The Positive Impact of Twitter Influencers

Twitter is, in my opinion, the fastest way to find hilarious memes, political content, and trolling. Trollingrefers to the act of intentionally fighting with someone online, often in a joking manner, just to spark a reaction.

My favorite Twitter account right now is that of rapper @lilNasXHe’s used his charismatic online presence to create the longest leading Billboard No.1 track “Old Town Road.” He takes Twitter harassment and comments from “trolls” as gracefully as anyone I’ve ever seen. In response to his brushing a mean comment off his shoulders recently, comedian Chris D’elia tweeted, “We love you kid.” The music industry seems to have welcomed LilNas silly endless remixes of “Old Town Road” (ft. Billy Ray Cyrus, Diplo, Young Thug & popular meme “yodeling kid” Mason, Seol Town Road K pop version, and Cupcakkke) with open arms

In response to lilNasX’s release“C7osure(you like)” on the last day of Pride month, Twitter went wild. LilNas came out as a full time African American rapper LGBTQ representative with a country NO.1 hit and a hilarious Twitter account. The LGBTQ community loved it, adopting it as a new theme song, a voice spreading positivity, energy, and love. Thank you LilNas for your positive representation. I found it so positive and inspiring. It’s time to use social media as a tool for positivity. The first step starts with your online footprint!

I’m Kaitlin Hoover, GKIS intern. Paying it forward is a great way to feel connected to the world and finding representatives that make you laugh is a great start. Check out GKIS article Gaming Together Increases Family Bonding for more ways to incite spontaneous joy and connection!

I’m the mom psychologist who will help you GetKidsInternetSafe.

Onward to More Awesome Parenting,

Tracy S. Bennett, Ph.D.
Mom, Clinical Psychologist, CSUCI Adjunct Faculty

Photo Credits

Photo by Perry Goneon Unsplash
Photo by Guilherme Stecanella on Unsplash
Photo by Ellie Adams on Unsplash

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