Teaching our girls respect
By Victoria Rennie, Deputy Headmistress and Head of Senior School
On Tuesday, 6 February people across the globe came together to celebrate Safer Internet Day 2018. This year's theme, "Create, connect and share respect: A better internet starts with you", was a call to action for us all to play our part in creating a better internet for everyone. More than that, it was an invitation for everyone to join in and engage with others in a respectful way.
With this in mind our assembly this week focused on respect, one of our School’s core values. Respect is not something that happens in isolation; it is the basis of all our relationships and our emotions, and emotions are contagious. When we feel listened to, taken seriously, appreciated, and respected, we tend to "pay it forward“ and so respect works both ways - if you want respect you have to give it as well.
Last week I asked a number of girls what respect meant to them. You can view their thoughtful responses in the video below. But of course like many things, for all of us, sometimes it is easy to talk about respect and much harder to put into practice.
I would like to encourage all the girls, not just on Safer Internet Day, but every day to think about how they respond, act and treat each other online. The online world can be so unpredictable and complex to navigate. The girls need to learn how to manage their relationships online and off, ensuring that they are always positive and that they are always respectful in their posts and responses.
It can take time and practice to develop the skills that help us act with respect and it is vital that we work with our girls to help them learn to appreciate diverse perspectives, communicate with empathy, negotiate with people who are different and hold different views to us. Our wellbeing programs at school have a clear focus on the building of positive relationships both on and offline and we encourage parents to support and guide their girls as they learn to navigate their online world.
One simple way to help ensure that we foster respectful relationships online is to THINK before you post.
It’s ok to be different and it’s okay to be yourself online. But expressing unkind, hurtful, racist, and and nasty comments online is not okay and can harm others.
In the Bible it urges us to “Honour one another above yourselves”. Regardless of how we perceive other people to be, we have been created by our God as beautifully unique individuals so we must celebrate each other and show respect to everyone.