Back in May, Melania Trump rolled out her initiative as first lady: the "Be Best" campaign, to promote children's welfare. The campaign's three pillars, aside from tackling the opioid crisis and the overall well-being of children, also include a social media aspect aimed at encouraging positive online behavior. In order to learn a thing or two about that last pillar, Melania Trump asked teens for internet civility tips, and I kind of can't believe it.
On Thursday, July 19, Trump took "Be Best" and strolled on over to Microsoft's Innovation and Policy Center in Washington, D.C. According to the White House, the first lady had a listening session with 15 students from Microsoft’s Council for Digital Good — a focus group that helps Microsoft with their youth-focused online safety policies. The students shared their "15 tenets of responsible digital behavior" and showed Trump their individual art projects each focused on their expression of online civility.
The first lady was there to listen to the students' ideas, look at their work, and absorb information for her initiative. When finished she thanked them for "taking action" and applauded their projects, according to the White House. She said,
To see students taking action and being positive leaders in the digital world for youth is exactly what Be Best is focused on. Peer-to-peer leadership can be one of the strongest influences on our children. Using their artistic talents, these students provide unique perspectives on how youth should conduct themselves responsibly online. Thank you to Microsoft for having me, and to the students of the council for sharing their impressive and encouraging work.
I have to be honest, I think it was actually a smart move. When Trump first announced "Be Best," she said the social media pillar existed to teach children how to be "positive" online and speak with "respect and compassion" — and even she knew that including that would be a little controversial, given her husband's Twitter reputation. President Donald Trump has used Twitter to insult oh, everybody, call fellow politicians names, take aim at the media, and aggressively call out his own intelligence forces. Not exactly "positive" or with "respect and compassion."
"She is aware of the critics, but it will not stop her from doing what she believes is best if it means helping children," Stephanie Grisham, the first lady's spokesperson, told Elite Daily in May.
But criticism almost did stop her. Back in March, the first lady held a roundtable with social media bigwigs from sites like Facebook and Twitter about combating cyberbullying and making social media more positive. As you can imagine, though, she received quite a bit of backlash because of President Trump's Twitter feed. When building "Be Best," Trump reportedly thought about leaving the social media portion out it according to The New York Times, due to her husband's Twitter feed. In the end, she decided to stick with it.
Trump's decision to keep the social media aspect of "Be Best," shows that it's something that's important to her. So I think it was good that she took the time to listen to young people (you know, the ones her campaign focuses on) to actually teach her how to act online. You know she isn't getting any tips in the White House.