ROCKVILLE, Maryland — First lady Melania Trump promoted responsible social media use at a cyberbullying prevention summit in Maryland on Monday as part of her Be Best campaign.
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar introduced the first lady, saying she is shining a ray of sunshine on the issue.
Representatives from “social media companies, federal agencies, educational organizations, youth programs, and law enforcement” participated in the event, the first lady acknowledged. She voiced their shared goal “to pave a smooth way forward for our children, our next generation.”
“I launched my Be Best campaign in May, with a focus on the many issues facing children today – one of them being the safe and responsible use of social media,” said the first lady. She called social media “an inevitable part of our children’s daily lives,” adding it “can be used in many positive ways but can also be destructive and harmful when used incorrectly.”
Trump recounted her time with the students of Microsoft’s Council for Digital Good. “In addition to sharing their 15 beliefs for how to be healthy and safe online, they each showed me individual projects representing their thoughts and ideas on what responsible behavior means to them,” she said as she encouraged other companies to establish similar programs for children.
“By listening to children’s ideas and concerns, I believe adults will be better able to help them navigate this often-difficult topic,” said Mrs. Trump. Her Be Best campaign has emphasized the responsibility of adults in ensuring children’s well-being.
“Let’s face it: most children are more aware of the benefits and pitfalls of social media than some adults, but we still need to do all we can to provide them with information and tools for successful and safe online habits,” the first lady resolved.
She closed by thanking all participants. “Our children deserve all of the opportunities we can give them to grow up happy, healthy, socially responsible adults, and your commitment to this topic is an example of one of those opportunities.”
The first lady’s communications director, Stephanie Grisham, told Kate Bennett at CNN that criticisms of Mrs. Trump’s husband, President Donald Trump, for his use of social media “will not deter her from doing what she feels is right”:
New: I asked @StephGrisham45 abt @FLOTUS addressing cyberbullying in face of recent @realDonaldTrump comments, and his name-calling on Twitter: “She’s addressed this before. She is well aware of the criticism, but that will not deter her from doing what she feels is right.”
— Kate Bennett (@KateBennett_DC) August 20, 2018
Monday marked the sixth Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention (FPBP) Cyberbullying Prevention Summit. The first lady was also scheduled during her time at the Rockville, Maryland, summit to attend a panel discussion that involved social media platform representatives.