What was your reaction to the news of the Dreamworld accident that resulted in the death of four innocent visitors to the park? Were your opinions about the staff at Dreamworld, reactions and feelings towards them, the victims and their families, influenced your sources of information? Did you spend time doing your research about the accuracy of what you read before you aired your opinions?
Of course, we are all saddened by the loss of these innocent lives at what seemed to be a fun outing, but even more so by the fact that this accident could possibly have been avoided, according to some of the information received from certain news outlets.
As I scanned the newspaper articles, website news and various social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, my attention was drawn to the social responsibility of communication, be it face-to-face or via digital technological tools or social media platforms, such as the ones I mentioned above.
At the college, we teach students to take responsibility for their digital footprint and to be very aware of how they communicate, whether digitally or in person. We teach students not to communicate content or information that will harm or hurt other people. We teach them to restore relationships which are strained or broken by using conflict resolution strategies such as restorative conversations, restorative meetings or circle solutions. Harmful and hurtful comments, including personal opinions, serve no purpose, whether used on social media or face-to-face, other than seeking to judge and hurt the other parties. Such hurtful actions go against everything we try to model and teach our students daily; we want them to learn to discern fact from fiction, rumours, gossip or simply, falsified information.
So, before we express our opinions about the leaders and staff of Dreamworld and the journalists who reported this accident, maybe we should do our due diligence by doing our own research and verifying the accuracy of our information and knowledge. Similarly, before we communicate an information piece about any matters concerning anyone or anything, it is useful to apply what we teach our students to use: THINK – Is it T-true? Is it H- hurtful? Is it I - illegal? Is it N - necessary? Is it K-kind? This will go a long way in helping all of us to build a strong and trusting community at Trinity.
Mrs Tsae Wong