Like many parents of teenagers in Bozeman, I monitor my kid’s online activities. When I pull up Facebook and check the newsfeed, I see everything that’s going on with so many of these teenagers. The cyber-bullying is way out of control. These kids are using Facebook to vent about everything and not in a positive way, either. Watching these ugly, teeth-baring snarlfests go on and on, and get darker and darker quite literally, makes me nauseous. It also makes me sad for their loss of innocence and for the future of mankind. All of the anti-bullying campaigns in the country just aren’t enough.

So I decided to try something. Periodically throughout the day, I text jokes to my daughter. They are jokes that kids her age can relate to, but they are clean. Sometimes I’ll send her quotes that would be pertinent to her life. On Facebook, sometimes I’ll find a brain-teaser, or puzzle of some sort and tag her on it. She will take these jokes, quotes and stories and post them on her wall. Because they are all related to teenagers and the puzzles are meant for everyone to participate in, when her posts go up, it sparks a firestorm of positive conversation between these kids. The mud-slinging posts I’ve seen have decreased greatly and she was given a powerful tool to help control her own environment and make it what she wants it to be.

There are thousands of websites out there where you can find these types of jokes, quotes and puzzles. On Twitter, you can subscribe to any of the hundreds of teen comedy tweeters. Just be sure and check for appropriateness and always make sure that it will attract only positive comments and discussion.

Janine Hendricks