Photo by Jody Carr
With Pride month having just wrapped up, and a greater awareness around racism and the Black Lives Matter movement, many children and teens are taking part in some form of activism. We have also seen young ones leading the way in fighting climate change and protecting our environment. Many parents are experiencing, perhaps for the first time, kids who are embracing activism. Parents often want to support their young activists, but also want to ensure their safety.
Kinds of activism
Do you have a child who is interested in activism? If they are the kind of kid who really likes to be out there, they may speak at events, write blog posts and create videos. Recently, teenager Cameron Davis spoke at a Black Lives Matter march and then shared his message on YouTube.
You can remind your kiddos that there are many smaller gestures that are important as well. My children attend marches and flag raising ceremonies. They also like to share credible information on their social media channels. I love platforms like Wish and Give that allow children to donate to a charity that is important to them as a part of their birthday celebrations. For the most recent Father’s Day, my children donated to the Black Solidarity Fund as a gift to Daddy-o.
How can parents encourage activism?
If activism is important to your family, participating in events together and having ongoing discussions about social justice issues is impactful. If you are involved in activism yourself, including your children in your projects and activities is very encouraging. An excellent example of this is my friend who is leading our local chapter of Free Mom Hugs. She has her teenager producing all of the TikTok videos for the organization.
Is activism safe for kids and teens?
I would encourage young people attend peaceful activities that are well organized. During this time, it is important to be aware of physical distancing measures as well. The real-life events are sometimes less intimidating than what your kids might experience online. Be sure that they are communicating with you about their online activism so that you can help coach them through tricky conversations. Be sure your children know to protect their privacy. NEVER should their addresses or school names be shared. Cameron Davis’ mother, Heather, has a very strict rule – she does NOT let Cameron read the comments on his videos. She feels strongly about protecting him from the negativity that comes along with activism.
If your kids are toe-dipping in activism, or if it is a big part of your family, kudos to your kiddos! Activism can be very empowering, and it reminds our children that they are never too young or too small to change the world!