The online world has real dangers, but girls around the world are using social media to create positive change and practice good digital citizenship.
You’ve probably seen media stories about the ways girls interact online, with headlines like “Depression in Girls Linked to Higher Use of Social Media,” or “Half of Girls Are Bullied on Social Media.” Better Connected focuses on the less-recognized and positive aspects of the online experiences of girls. From environmental activism to gun control, immigration policy to education access, girls are leading the way. They’re showing up, teaming up and speaking up. With profiles of real changemakers and practical tools for getting started, Better Connected is an inspiring look at the amazing things girls can accomplish online.
In this guest post, Better Connected: How Girls Are Using Social Media for Good teen author Julia Kyi shares the inspiration behind her new book and the experience of writing a book with her mother, Tanya Lloyd Kyi.
The Creation of Better Connected
By Julia Kyi
Throughout my years in high school, we’ve had a lot of presentations about the dangers of social media. And a lot of warnings. Don’t post nude photos. Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t talk to strangers.
I know the problems with the online world are real, but they aren’t the whole story. My friends and I have been using Instagram to share information about feminism, and our posts have helped connect us to activists all over the world. (@thedailyfeminist_education)
When my mom mentioned writing a book about the positive side of social media, I knew I wanted to be involved. Mom might be a Twitter master, but she still asks me how to post Instagram stories—she couldn’t be trusted to create this book on her own! I also wanted to share my own perspective, which is often slightly different from hers.
As we began brainstorming, the project quickly grew. We wrote the manuscript over the course of my eleventh-grade year. Our methods were different (she wrote on Microsoft Word in the mornings, I wrote on Google Docs in the evenings), but we were able to combine our research and stories to create something we really love. I’m so excited that Better Connected is finally out in the world!
For me, social media has always been a tool—to network, to spread awareness and to communicate with loved ones. I hope this book can also be a tool for young people, inspiring them to use social media in a positive, world-changing way.
Praise for Better Connected
“Both a history of social media and a guide to using it in a positive way…The usefulness of the information, and the breadth of support it offers for additional purposes, more than justifies its place on library shelves. Recommended” —School Library Connection
“Will provide [readers] with inspiration and resources…Adult readers, both teacher and parents, who are sometimes dismissive of, or dismayed by, the amount of time their students or children are spending on social media, can learn about the positive aspects of those online experiences. Recommended.” —CM Reviews
About the Authors
Julia Kyi is a student and youth activist. Julia is an avid user of Instagram and a believer in the power of social media to make positive change. She is a co-founder of The Daily Feminist, an organization that offers resources and workshops for feminist education. She’s planning to complete a social justice degree before applying to law school. Julia lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Tanya Lloyd Kyi is a freelance graphic designer and writer. She grew up in Creston, British Columbia, but now lives in Vancouver.