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Melania Trump Says Social Media Can Be "Destructive And Harmful" When Used Incorrectly

Her remarks follow years of derogatory statements made by President Donald Trump on social media.

Posted on August 20, 2018, at 10:29 a.m. ET

CSPAN2 / Via CSPAN2

First lady Melania Trump continued her campaign against cyberbullying Monday, amid a recent spate of tweets from her husband attacking pro athletes, DC government officials, his former top aides, and a variety of other public figures — a continuing pattern of harassment on social media he has practiced for years.

Speaking at the cyberbully prevention summit Monday in Rockville, Maryland, the first lady said that social media "can be used in many positive ways, but can also be destructive and harmful when used incorrectly."

"This is why we focus on the importance of teaching our next generation how to conduct themselves safely in a positive manner in an online setting," she said.

Asked about the first lady's remarks in the context of the president's habit of name-calling on Twitter, Stephanie Grisham, director of communications for Melania Trump, said in a statement, "The First Lady’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. The President is proud of her commitment to children and encourages her in all that she does."

The president's highly negative and erratic use of social media has also led to concerns from the military and diplomatic branches of the US government over its implications for international affairs, as officials often scramble to keep up with his early-morning or late-night tweets on foreign and social policy.

"Let’s face it," Melania Trump said Monday, "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."

You can read the full text of Melania Trump's remarks below:

Good morning, it is great to be here with all of you today. I am honored to open this important summit on cyberbullying prevention, and want to start by thanking each of you for your commitment to the topic.

I know many of you are here representing social media companies, federal agencies, educational organizations, youth programs, and law enforcement. I also know we share one goal – to pave a smooth way forward for our children, our next generation.

I launched my Be Best campaign in May, with a focus on the many issues facing children today - one of them being the safe and responsible use of social media.

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.

I have been so inspired by the children I have met in my time as First Lady, and believe our next generation has unlimited potential to impact our world in positive ways.

As an example, I recently had the privilege of meeting several bright 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.

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.

I encourage technology and social media companies, 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.

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.

Thank you all again for being here today - our children deserve all of the opportunities we can give them to grow up happy, healthy, socially responsible adults and your commitment to this topic is an example of one of those opportunities. I look forward to today’s discussion and to working with all of you in the future.

God bless you and your families, and God bless the United States of America.


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