Kevin Curwick Remember: Always tweet others the way you'd like to be tweeted. (KEVIN: Steve Niedorf ; PHONE: Tumpikuja / iStockphoto)

Tweeting Nice

This teen started a movement by using social media to stop cyberbullies

What would you do if cyberbullies were bashing your friends on Twitter? Kevin Curwick, an 18-year-old senior and football captain at Osseo Senior High School in Osseo, Minnesota, started an anonymous Twitter page called @OsseoNiceThings. Curwick uses it to tweet positive things about his schoolmates, singling them out for their strengths and talents.

Now his page has thousands of followers, and similar “nice” pages have popped up at other schools. We spoke to Kevin about how he uses Twitter to combat cyberbullying.

CHOICES: What made you decide to “tweet nice”?
There was some nasty tweeting going on saying negative things about people at my school. So I created a nice page to help the kids who were being attacked, as well as random people—just to give them a boost in confidence.

CHOICES: How does it work? Do you get requests to mention certain people?
People send me a direct message [on Twitter], and I keep their message anonymous, so that people can look at it and be like, wow, this could be anyone saying this about me.

CHOICES: Have your tweets stopped the cyberbullying?
By complimenting other people randomly and using social networking or social media to encourage a positive attitude, it’s made cyberbullying uncool. I think that a lot of people are looking for the positive, and when you give them that outlet, all the attention is taken away from the bullies.

CHOICES: Were you surprised by all the positive responses and celeb retweets you’ve gotten?
Oh gosh, yes! It exploded a lot more than I expected. It was so cool to see how other schools now have their own “nice” pages.

CHOICES: How can other kids use social media for good?
Perform random acts of kindness. Instead of looking through people’s pictures to tear them down, look at it a different way. Compliment people. Most important, if you don’t have anything nice to say, just don’t say anything at all. But compliments are welcome all the time.

This article appeared in the November/December 2012 issue of Choices. For more from Choices, click here.

 

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