WASHINGTON — First lady Melania Trump chided adults to “choose their words wisely and speak with respect and compassion” on social media as she launched her “Be Best” awareness campaign.
Speaking in the Rose Garden, Trump said it “concerns” her “that in today’s fast-paced and ever-connected world, children can be less prepared to express or manage their emotions, and oftentimes turn to forms of destructive or addictive behavior such as bullying, drug addiction, or even suicide.”
“I feel strongly that as adults, we can and should be best at educating our children about the importance of a healthy and balanced life,” she said.
Adults’ responsibility, the first lady said, “lies in the critical time before a child reaches adulthood.”
“Let us teach children the importance of all aspects of their well-being, which includes social, emotional and physical health,” she added. “There are too many critical issues facing children today, so the three main pillars of ‘Be Best’ will include well-being, social media use and opioid abuse.”
On the social media front, Trump said the medium “can be both positively and negatively affect on our children.”
“But too often, it’s used in negative ways. When children learn positive online behaviors early on, social media can be used in productive ways, and can effect positive change,” she continued. “I do believe that children should be both seen and heard, and it is our responsibility as adults to educate and remind them that when they are using their voices, whether verbally or online, they must choose their words wisely and speak with respect and compassion.”
Representatives from Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon were among those attending Melania Trump’s speech.
“I will also work to shine a spotlight on the people, organizations and programs across the country that are helping children overcome the many issues they’re facing as they grow up,” she said. “I will continue speaking with leaders in the technology industry about children’s online habits, and raising awareness around the importance of positive behaviors. I will continue to work with those who are fighting drug addiction, and most importantly, I will continue to travel and speak to children directly about both their victories and difficult realities that they face.”
At the conclusion of the first lady’s speech, President Trump signed a proclamation declaring May 7 “Be Best Day.”