Trish, I’ve been seeing sm about your new book online!! It looks so cool. Why did you write it and what’s in it?
Thank you so much for the kind words – as well as the opportunity to share a bit more about some exciting news I have! Indeed, my debut book, ReThink the Internet, the world’s first-ever by-youth, for-youth guide to safely navigating the digital world, is coming out at the end of this month, on May 31st. You can check out the super cool cover (I don’t know about you, but I’m obsessed with the amazing art) and, if you’re interested – which I hope you are! – pre-order a copy here: https://bit.ly/3lIIzVz.
As this week’s TikTok poked a little fun at, I wrote this book all by myself – but with a vision of impacting millions – and doing exactly what this Ask Trish community is all about: promoting Internet positivity and digital literacy. In this post, I’ll briefly discuss my motivation for writing the book as well as what’s in it and why I think it can be so awesome and powerful. After that, I’ll leave it to you to order a copy and, I hope, have a new favorite book!
So, why write ReThink the Internet? Well, over my nearly nine-year career as an anti-hate activist (yes, you read that right – almost a decade!), in meeting youth from around the world and speaking with them about the Internet, two things stood out to me. First, while youth were totally tech-savvy, many struggled with core digital literacy concepts. For example, few had heard of the terms “digital citizenship” or “digital footprint” – in fact, it’s quite possible you’ve never heard of those terms! Others felt like they had no idea how to wade through all of the information online. And so many others emphasized that while they’d learned about topics like drug abuse in school, they’d never talked about the Internet and online harms. The other thing that stood out to me was that so many young people wanted to make their vision of a more kind, inclusive Internet concrete. They wanted to talk about what responsible digital activity actually looked like, and they wanted guidelines for the digital universe they lived in.
Over the years, I realized I could address both issues with an Internet “survival guide” geared towards youth. This book, I thought to myself, could explore several key Internet literacy topics – ranging from cyberbullying to misinformation to screen time – and offer youth practical tips on how to tackle the challenges they faced in the online world. And that’s exactly what ReThink the Internet does. In the book, through a series of funny, fictional stories, I impart 7 important “Internet lessons,” with the goal of equipping youth with the tools to be responsible digital citizens.
For example, in one of the stories, I in fact explore responsible digital citizenship, and the importance of what I call “asking before you post.” In today’s world, it’s become increasingly common for folks to snap and then post a picture of their friends – or even folks they don’t know! – without asking if it’s okay. Maybe your friend doesn’t like how they look in that picture, or their camera/social media-shy! Whatever the reason, a good digital citizen always thinks about how their actions affect their fellow digital citizens – because as we all know well here at Ask Trish, the Internet is a community. It’s only right that we’re on our best behavior for the other folks in the community. That’s exactly the lesson I get at in the story, which follows a character named Melinda Skirt-Shirts, who, in an attempt to find fashion inspiration for a dress she’s designing, accidentally creates a fashion and social media disaster! (Intrigued? Pre-order the book! :))
But it’s not just the content that I believe is so powerful, it was my approach when writing the book. First and foremost, the book is incredibly fun and relatable. I didn’t want to create something that was lecture-y, boring, or dry; that’s why I created fun, dynamic characters exploring fictional – and at times, quirky or hilarious – situations! To me, the fact that the characters and storylines are so fun means that the educational content is that much more likely to make an impact. The book is also practical: for instance, each chapter ends with an “Internet Kindness Challenge” that gives youth the opportunity to practice the digital literacy concept they’ve mastered in that chapter. These practical tools and skills will, I believe, allow youth to more confidently navigate the Internet’s ups and downs in the moment. Finally, I didn’t leave your parents and educators out! While written for a younger audience, the book also includes a Companion Guide for educators and parents, so that they can support young readers and initiate vital conversations about their use of technology and the Internet. If you were looking for a way to better communicate about technology and the Internet with an adult, look no further than this book!
I hope you enjoyed learning more about ReThink the Internet, and that you’ll hopefully read it soon! Again, you can pre-order the book here: https://bit.ly/3lIIzVz. I’m so excited to hear what you think. Before we head our separate ways for this week, one last thing: whether you’re on Ask Trish every week, or you’ve just recently started reading these posts, I want to invite and encourage you to share any of your thoughts, musings, or questions about the Internet here. Your topic just might be featured in next week’s TikTok/blog post! Don’t forget: any time you share a question, our entire community benefits – we get to learn from your perspective and so many readers are exposed to new and important topics. So take just 30 seconds and fill out the form! I can’t wait to hear from you – and hopefully offer some helpful advice.
See you all next Tuesday! With gratitude for you all,