Chief for a day tackles online behaviour
Eleven-year-old Taryn Lee has a warning about the potential consequences of posting negative images of others online.
The Grade 5 East Ridge Community School student, who was sworn in as “chief for a day” of the Owen Sound Police Service Wednesday, wrote in her winning essay that sometimes young people will go “too far” in their pursuit of receiving as many “likes” as possible on a social media post by posting a picture that can be harmful to someone else.
“The sad truth is that kids that worry most about this are girls. They are most vulnerable. Girls worry about how they look to others and if a bad picture is posted of a girl, it could affect the way she feels about herself. This could be a form of bullying if repeated over and over to hurt someone,” she wrote.
“It’s unhealthy for someone that is getting bullied because it affects their mental health. Cyberbullying can lead to social anxiety and depression, school absences, withdrawal from your peer group and just wanting to be alone and sad. Sometimes kids don’t ask for help and they commit suicide because they feel things won’t ever get better.”
Taryn’s essay also included ways that people can help to stop online bullying behaviour, such as by asking the person to take the image down and reminding them about how it could make others feel. If that doesn’t work, she said talking to a parent or teacher could help.
Const. Craig Peddle said Taryn’s essay was the best among all the submissions for the ninth annual “chief for a day” essay-writing contest, part of local Police Week activities.
The service invited Grade 5 students in Owen Sound to write on the topic of healthy social media posting.
“I’ve read a lot of things that young people have published over the years and your essay was absolutely fantastic,” he told Taryn.
The essay, he added, is a reminder that posting “unhealthy things” online can impact people for a long time.
On Wednesday, after taking “the oath of office,” Taryn read her essay to a small audience of police officers, department staff and family members at the downtown station.
As “chief for a day,” Taryn got to wear a uniform with police hat, ride in a police vehicle, visit the forensics lab and spend the day “working as chief.”
Her class will get a pizza party as well within the next couple weeks.
Police Week activities are to continue today with the presentation of Chief Citation Awards. This year, awards will be handed out to those who stopped to perform life-saving first aid during a serious motor vehicle collision on the 10th Street hill last year, and another individual who has shown many years of commitment to the safety and wellbeing of women and children in the community.
On Friday, there will be public tours of the police station at 922 2nd Ave. W. between 1 and 4 p.m.
Taryn Lee, a Grade 5 student at East Ridge Community School in Owen
Sound, sits in the driver seat of an OwenSound Police Service SUV after being "sworn in" Wednesday as chief for a day. The annual event is part of OSPS's Police Week activities.