AThinLine.org is MTV's attempt to raise awareness and educate teens on the facts about sexting, cyberbullying, and digital dating abuse. More specifically, it aims to give kids the knowledge of what to do when those issues arise in their real lives. The information given is concise, easy to understand, and not preachy.
Some of the topics covered at A Thin Line:
Sexting. Teens are told to look at the potential consequences of sexting, keep private pictures on their own phones, and not to let themselves be pressured into sexting. And if they receive a sext from somebody else, to hit 'delete' rather than 'forward.'
Constant Messaging. Teens are given ways to handle a girlfriend or boyfriend who texts them constantly to find where they are and who they're with. Open communication is the first line of defense; reporting the behavior to appropriate adults is the second.
Spying. Looking at the texts, emails, or Facebook account of a friend or significant other without their permission is digital spying. Teens learn why they shouldn't do it, and what to do if it happens to them.
Digital Disrespect. Spreading gossip or “dirt” about somebody, whether it's true or not, is digital disrespect. Teens are discouraged from saying things online they wouldn't want said about them, and to avoid online speech they wouldn't use face-to-face.
Cruelty. Teens are advised never to use digital media for sending hate speech, threats, or blackmail to someone else – this is cyberbullying. If your teen ever sees something that crosses the line, whether it's directed at them or someone else, they should report it. Victims are also given tools to cope with and stop the bullying.
Knowing where and how to start a conversation about online safety can be more than a little awkward for some parents and their teenagers. For parents having trouble getting the ball rolling, media tools like MTV's A Thin Line campaign may help.
-Article Contributed by Jenny Evans