Good Digital Parenting
Blog | March 19, 2013

From Online Philanthropy to Digital Citizenship

Program Administrator, Family Online Safety Institute

Before joining the team at A Platform for Good, I worked for a company that serves as an online fundraising platform for nonprofits and individuals called Razoo. It’s a website where anyone can go to raise money online for the causes they care about. During my time there, I saw lots of passionate people finding fun and innovative ways to support the work of nonprofits, all made possible by technology. 

For me, crowdfunding is one of the most fascinating digital trends to emerge in the past few years. Using the power of social networking to reach new donors and spread awareness of charitable causes is a great example of how technology can be used for good. But despite all the positive efforts taking place online, these kinds of stories are surprisingly hard to find. This is part of what we’re working to change at PfG. 

Still relatively new to the online safety space, I've quickly discovered there are more negative, fear-based opinions of social networking than there are positive, especially relating to teens. It’s not uncommon to read headlines about what parents should be afraid of, the newest apps that could harm their children, and the threat of cyber-bullying. And while it’s important to acknowledge that similar to any tool, the Internet can be misused, this isn’t reason enough to discourage teens from exploring technology. With the right guidance from parents and teachers, new doors can be opened for learning, creativity and expression. 

A great example of this is seventeen-year-old Steven Gonzalez, a cancer survivor who developed his own video game for other children undergoing treatment. Having found video games therapeutic during his own battle with cancer, Steven wanted to share their healing power. Now, he’s even working on building a social network around what he’s calling “The Survivor Games.” 

Young adults like Steven, as well as other teen-led initiatives for online good such as Think Before You Type and West High Bros, are leading examples of digital citizenship. Slowly, they’re transforming the conversation about technology from what teens shouldn’t do, to all the great things they can do. Here at PfG, we’re promoting these kinds of positive acts in the hope of inspiring others to do the same. 

From online philanthropy to digital citizenship, there’s lots of good to be done online. What are some of your favorite social good stories? 

Cover image courtesy of Flickr