Tina was excited—she finally got her own mobile phone! She learned to quickly type, her fingers flying over the buttons. She also learned that the best thing about her phone was that it connected her to her friends, Anika and Mandy. And because it is easy to talk to them now, Tina always found herself telling them everything in their group chat.
Tina felt a nice, warm glow around her heart when she read the chat. “Anika thinks I’m awesome,” she thought with a smile. Clutching her phone, Tina jumped up from her bed and headed to the kitchen, where Ate Sara was watching over Pepper and her kitties who were resting inside a box.
“Ate, the kitten with the black circle around her eyes… can I give her to Anika?” Tina said.
“What?” Ate Sara looked up, startled. “No, all the kittens stay here. Mom already said yes.”
“Huh?!” Tina exclaimed. “But I already promised Anika I’d give her one!”
“Nope, they stay here.” Ate Sara walked away, carrying the box with the cats in it.
Feeling angry and wanting to get back at Ate Sara for embarrassing her, Tina typed furiously:
Tina instantly regretted what she typed. She checked if she could still delete it, but the app didn’t provide a delete button. With a sinking feeling, she watched as the screen filled with “hahas” and “ewws.”
The next day in school, Tina saw Ate Sara being teased by their schoolmates. The story had spread that Ate Sara had bad breath, and Tina knew that it was her fault. That night, she timidly knocked on her sister’s door and told her everything.
“I thought about messaging you because I was scared to admit this to you… but I think I should tell you this in person.” Tina took a deep breath and said, “I’m so sorry I was the one who said you have bad breath.”
To her surprise, Ate Sara laughed. “Thank you for telling me this face-to-face. Next time, be more responsible with what you say, especially in chat or online. Remember, people can take screenshots and make that moment permanent,” Ate Sara saw the shocked look on Tina’s face. “Yes, Anika and Mandy took screenshots of your chat and showed it to everyone in school,” she said. “Because you said sorry, I know you regret what you did. So please be responsible with the things you say, in real life or online. Consider first if what you are about to post will cause anyone harm. Next time, think before you press ‘send,’ okay?”
“I promise, Ate,” Tina hugged her sister.