Happy New Year from everyone at the OM@home blog, a blog about children and young people, written for children and young people . . . . For young people just like you, about young people who inspire us here at OM HQ.
Young people like Kevin Curwick . . . .
That doesn't mean, however, that he doesn't care about those who have.
The 17-year-old - from Osseo, Minnesota - decided to act after hearing about certain classmates being abused online. He decided to beat the cyberbullies at their own game.
Not in a direct way, you understand, and with no hint of aggression. But by using the internet to spread kindness, in the process setting an example that innumerable others have begun to follow.
Kevin set up a Twitter account (@OsseoNiceThings) that singles out his peers for their positive contributions to life at school and praises them for their achievements.
'I want them to feel welcome, to be happy about what they are and what they contribute to Osseo,' he explains. 'I wasn't personally attacked, but it just hit me the wrong way - these were things [being said] about my friends.'
Kevin began to tweet anonymously, although so successful did his kindness campaign prove to be, he soon found it impossible to keep it a secret. He has, himself, received great praise for his efforts, although that isn't the thing that pleases him the most . . .
'It's really cool to see that now we have positivity trending [on Twitter],' he says. '[It's great that] being nice is [considered to be] cool. The thing that I'm most pleased about is that this is spreading.'
There's no question that it is - @OsseoNiceThings has changed the cyber culture at Kevin's school, demonstrated social media's power to do good and introduced kindness as a concept that everyone understands. It has also spread far beyond Osseo - with schools all over the United States finding similar accounts have been created on their campuses, proving that a little kindness can go an awful long way.
High School students and football captains often get a bad rap, but Kevin Curwick is challenging certain assumptions, just as he has taken on the cyberbullies and just as he likes to tackle his opponents on the field. Here at OM HQ, he couldn't inspire us more.