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Melania: 'Most Children Are More Aware of the Benefits and Pitfalls of Social Media Than Some Adults'

First lady Melania Trump attends the 6th Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention (FPBP) Summit at Health and Human Services in Rockville, Md., on Aug. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON — First lady Melania Trump’s office said her speech this morning at a panel against cyberbullying should be viewed separately from a morning tweetstorm by President Trump in which he called special counsel Robert Mueller “disgraced and discredited,” called John Brennan a “hack” and “the worst CIA Director in our country’s history,” and called for a Justice Department attorney to be fired.

As part of her “Be Best” campaign, Melania Trump headed to Rockville, Md., early this morning for the Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention (FPBP) Cyberbullying Prevention Summit.

“In today’s global society, social media is an inevitable part of our children’s daily lives. It can be used in many positive ways, but can also be destructive and harmful when used incorrectly. That is why Be Best chooses to focus on the importance of teaching our next generation how to conduct themselves safely and in a positive manner in an online setting,” the first lady said after being introduced by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

Melania Trump said she recently met with students who are part of Microsoft’s Council for Digital Good. “In addition to sharing their 15 beliefs for how to be healthy and safe online, they each showed me individual projects representing their thoughts and ideas on what responsible behavior means to them,” she said. “I was impressed by their deep understanding of how important it is to be safe, and was inspired by their sincere commitment to reducing peer-to-peer bullying through kindness and open communication.”

She encouraged technology and social media companies as well as schools and community groups “to establish more opportunities for children such as Microsoft’s Council for Digital Good.”

“By listening to children’s ideas and concerns, I believe adults will be better able to help them navigate this often-difficult topic,” she added. “Let’s face it: most children are more aware of the benefits and pitfalls of social media than some adults, but we still need to do all we can to provide them with information and tools for successful and safe online habits.”

Representatives from Twitter, Facebook and Google were among the forum participants. Lauren Culbertson, public policy manager for Twitter, noted that the platform has “strong rules against abusive behavior” and has “leveraged technology to help us enforce those rules.”

Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s communications director, later sent out a statement on President Trump’s concurrent tweetstorm, saying that Melania Trump’s “presence at events such as today’s cyberbullying summit elevates an issue that is important to children and families across this country.”

“She is aware of the criticism but it will not deter her from doing what she feels is right,” Grisham added. “The president is proud of her commitment to children and encourages her in all that she does.”

The president has not yet tweeted about the first lady’s event.