Yahoo!, under the genius of our Motherboard leaders Amy and Jeanne, pulled out all the stops for us. We stayed in luxury, we ate delicious meals (on what one of the attendees said was an infant feeding schedule) and we were quite simply-taken care of for three days. Do these people know what moms need or what?
Besides the pampering, I also learned more than I could have ever imagined, all from leaders in the industry. What didn’t I already know?
- Flickr-I knew that flickr existed for uploading and sharing photos, I just had no idea how seamless they made both of these things as well as editing said photos to look flawless.
Yahoo! Shine– this page on Yahoo! gives you information on all segments of your life:money, fashion, weight loss, pop-culture. Much of the information is provided by Yahoo! staff, but there are other experts on Yahoo! shine because YOU can post yourself. It is a great opportunity to learn and to share tips from the trenches.
- Yahoo! Green-This company thinks of everything, including their carbon footprint. The brains at Yahoo! Green are studying our impact and working on ways to make the world a greener place.
- Yahoo! Intenet 101-We were given a very enthusiastic presentation from the writers of the Yahoo! StyleGuide which is a complete resource for all things internet writing. We learned how to write for greater visibility by using tools like; more powerful headlines and bullet point lists (get it?).
Perhaps the session that impacted me most was that on Internet Safety. (Please visit here-there are countless resources and information that helps make our job as parents easier.) We heard from a panel that included Catherine Teitelbaum (Yahoo’s Policy Director for Child Safety & Product Policy) and Anne Toth (Yahoo’s VP of Privacy), as well as Sunnyvale Police officer Holly Lawerence. Instead of talking about icky cyber-stalkers and keeping our kids safe online from strangers we heard what the real danger is. They played a video telling a story of a local family who lost their daughter to suicide after a nude picture, first sent by her in a text message, went viral. Those involved were kids-kids who knew each other. The series of actions and decisions made by these kids lead to the death of a popular high school girl. It was powerful stuff and left me with a tremendous sense of responsibility. Not only did I want to rush home and teach my kids how the basic rules of respecting humanity became even more important when dealing with technology but I also realized that as a blogger, I am tasked with spreading suggestions about this topic to anyone who happens across this blog.
I am sure that some of the purpose of this Summit was to send us home to spread the word about all the great things Yahoo! does. I have no problem doing that. Yahoo! does some pretty great things and you all know I love to share when I find those. What I really left with though is the need to remind myself and other parents that we are teaching in a time of constant innovation and that requires more of us. We can not always stay one step ahead of our kids when it comes to technology. We must accept that it will be an ever increasing part of their lives and rather than try to avoid it, we must arm them with the tools necessary to think critically and make good judgments in the snap second technology allows. The father of that lost girl said something about if one of those boys had just hit delete on their phone they might still have their daughter. One simple act of hitting delete could have broken the chain of events that lead to a girls’ death.
As parents, we need not only to do all we can to arm our kids with the confidence that helps them avoid pictures of themselves to boyfriends or girlfriends. We also need to help them understand that their actions have consequences and those can be exponential. We need to help them see that what they do online or from their phones doesn’t go away and can easily include more people than they intend, therefore this communication shouldn’t be taken lightly. Social media is fun. Texting, tweeting, Facebook-I love it all. But I came to it at a time in my life where I had the experience and brain development to understand it’s wide reach as well as our limitations and potential pitfalls. I also had the benefit of having a reputation (good or bad) that took over 20 years to earn and therefore wasn’t shaped entirely from tweets, updates or those god-awful pictures that appear from time to time. Our kids? They won’t have any of that. Whether we like it or not, they will be shaped largely from the interactions they have online or via the expanding communication that comes with smart phones. We don’t let them drive cars until they are sixteen and some argue that is too young. Yet they are trusted with tools that give them a global voice as early as second grade. They aren’t ready for all that entails. It is our job to help them. It is my job to remind us all of that.
PS-I was so overwhelmed this entire day that I think I only snapped one picture. If you want to see some great shots, visit my new friend Kelly’s site The Centsible Life. She has a wonderful slide show. You can also go to the Motherboard site for everyone’s take on the week. These women are amazing so I can guarantee some good reading!
**Yahoo! covered my travel expenses, provided me with more food than just cupcakes and also gifted us with a copy of the Style Guide. I was not required to write about any of this. All opinions are mine alone.
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.