16 Jan Will it Build Goodwill and Friendships? Defining Digital Citizenship
What does it mean to build goodwill and friendship?
Respectful conversation, especially with those we disagree with, seems to be at times, lost. Especially online. When someone posts a comment we disagree with we are quick to react, judge, “correct,” instead of taking the opportunity to discuss and learn. When they post a picture of making their children pancakes for dinner, we are quick to criticize. How do we correct this to create calm discussions that build understanding?
Focussed on friendship
We are not often focussed on creating friendships online. So our actions reflect this. Unlike real communities where we may be faced with the same people every day and have to navigate those relationships, our online interactions with people way be brief and fleeting. We all remember going over to someone’s house as a child and being told to “play nice”. It was our intention to become friends with that person so we could be invited over again to play.
As adults we know all too well that you can’t be friends with everyone. Personalities, interests, physical location all play a factor in whether you will build a relationships with someone. Because our interactions online are often so brief we don’t approach them with the same mentality we do physical meetings. Despite the internet’s ability to connect, we’re not always seeking connection (often only attention). Whether they are online or physical interactions, what if you entered each interaction with the openness that they could be a friend?
In business, you never know what interaction or acquaintance could lead to a business opportunity. The same holds true for personal relationships. Sometimes the most amazing relationships come out of places you least expected. Before you post a comment, we can ask ourselves, “Would this be something I would say to someone I want to be my friend?”
Build on your similarities
To build friendships we must focus on our similarities, not on our differences. Focusing on differences is what causes conflict and misunderstandings. While focusing on similarities creates empathy, gives us something to talk about and engage with, and fosters community.
By focusing on similarities and creating conversations that foster friendship we can help people look forward to engaging in those spaces and with each other.
Young children don’t often need to be taught how to be friends. They see another kid on the playground and they go and play with them. That’s the attitude we as parents want them to take when interacting with others online. But we also need to give them the spaces that encourage that behaviour.
Building healthy spaces
Children need spaces that prohibit bullying and negativity, that focus on core values, that surround them with love and positivity. Spaces that we as parents are welcome, so we’re part of their experience.
Mazu is a digital village, where children of all backgrounds and ages can come to play, to share their experiences, and to build friendships. Whether you pop in every-so-often or join us every day for a daily dose of love, come out and play!