An elementary school counselor is teaching her students to be careful in what they post on the Internet by sending her own picture viral.
"I want my students to understand that there is a responsibility factor that comes with being on the Internet, both in what they post and how they choose to react to what others post," Julie Anne Culp, guidance counselor at Indian Lake Elementary School in Hendersonville, Tenn., told The Christian Post in an email statement. Her picture has found over 4 million likes and 103,000 shares on Facebook.
In the picture, Culp smiles, holding up a message: "I'm talking to my 5th grade students about internet safety and how quickly a photo can be seen by lots of people. If you are reading this, please click 'like.' Thanks!" The sign is dated Nov. 18, 2013. It was posted last Tuesday.
Her original intention, Culp told CP, "was exactly what was written on the sign -- to see how quickly a photo can be seen by lots of people."
"I have been looking for a way to get this concept across to my students, because saying that 'lots of people' or 'anyone' can see what you post is vague and easy to dismiss," the counselor explained. Rather than attempt to track other posts, she tried her hand at her own. "This photo gave me a way to track the numbers over time, and present that information to my students in a visual form through graphs and maps," Culp wrote.
"In the first minute, Ms. McKinney, our fourth grade teacher, she already liked it," student Mary Grace told local ABC 7 news. The photo found 724 likes in the first 24 hours, and then went viral. "As the days progressed, three-and-a-half million people liked it," student Elijah Golden testified.
Golden got the message. "Who knows, if you get jobs, they're going to check your Facebook, Twitter accounts, anything you have," he told ABC 7.
Her photo has even become a popular meme, with spin-offs involving Shrek and a pirate photo, featured in this Epoch Times article.
"I received many comments on my photo from people stating that they do check social media when hiring," Culp told CP, "and I do mention that to my students." Before the kids post anything on the Internet, she hopes they will think twice about whether it will damage their future.
"I want them to be aware of the consequences now so they can use this information to make informed decisions in the future," Culp added.
Although Culp did not identify herself as Christian, she nevertheless echoed Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it."
The counselor remarked that she is more than satisfied with the photo's performance and the lesson it has taught her students. "I am thrilled that this photo has become a resource for parents and teachers around the world as they discuss Internet safety with their children," she concluded.