Family Health Handout: Powerful Words
Health Challenge - Use words to help, not hurt or harm.
Carefully Choose Your Words
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” This old saying encourages us be strong, but the truth is words are powerful. They can hurt and leave emotional scars.
Being careful about our word choices is especially important when we phone, text, e-mail, and use social networks because there are no facial or voice cues to help explain.
As a family, take turns reading these statements aloud. Then listen to what each member thinks about them.
Think before you hit the send button. It only takes a second of poor judgment for a private thought to hit the airwaves. Once a message is sent, even to a friend, it can’t be taken back and you never know who might see it.
E-mailing, texting, or posting private information and images could put you at risk, embarrass you, or damage your future. What personal information? Cell or home phone numbers, address, sexual or suggestive messages, and inappropriate pictures and videos.
Be respectful always. If messages are rude, offensive, threatening, embarrassing, hurtful, or harassing, don’t send them, don’t forward them, and don’t respond to them.
Tell a parent or another trusted adult if you’re cyberbullied. Do not delete; save the evidence. Report it to the website, cell phone company, CyberTipline https://www.missingkids.org/gethelpnow/cybertipline, and/or the police.
“Sexting” is wrong and has dangerous consequences. Some images may be considered child pornography and that’s also illegal. Sending sexual pictures or videos often happens because of peer pressure – don’t allow it.
Never text or call when driving. If you’re on the road, turn off the phone.
Be extra careful with your cell phone: give cell phone numbers only to those you trust; know how to use the blocking feature; don’t respond to messages from someone you don’t know; and only let those you know well use your cell phone.
4-H Families Online
Go to https://www.safekids.com/contract_kid/ to take a safety pledge.
Learn about cyberbullying at www.pacerkidsagainstbullying.org/
Positive words are contagious! Use words to spread positive feelings and build healthy relationships.