Alameda County District Attorney's Office
Nancy E. O'Malley, District Attorney

Meet DA Nancy E. O'Malley

DA O’Malley Helps Launch New Initiative for Students

On September 29, 2015, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley joined forces with two non-profits to help launch a new initiative called '10 Deep Breaths'. The program, part of a broader Be Kind Online campaign, is designed to help students foster positive online relationships, and build digital environments based on kindness and respect.

10 Deep Breaths is an innovative new program by two Bay Area based non-profit organizations, Beyond Differences and iKeepSafe. The program encourages youth to pause before responding to negative communications online, foresee the potential ramifications of their communications, as well as to increase empathy and awareness, and decrease social isolation.

The two non-profits, along with DA O'Malley, launched the program at an interactive event with more than 100 students from Bancroft Middle School in San Leandro. As part of the presentation, the students were shown negative online comments and asked how they would respond. They were guided through a mindfulness exercise - taking 10 deep breaths - by their school counselor and she discussed how using this technique can positively affect their behaviour and decision making.

DA O'Malley presenting to the students from Bancroft Middle School in San Leandro.

"Teaching these proactive techniques to students helps them deal with the stress of encountering negative comments online as well as in everyday life is very important. We are equipping the next generation with tools that will help them in other areas of their lives," said DA O'Malley.

"As part of our Speakers Bureau, we have Deputy District Attorneys going out into schools to speak to youth about cybersafety and cyberbullying. This new program, 10 Deep Breaths, is an extension of the work my office does in local schools and we're proud to collaborate with them," she said.

At the end of the presentation, the students were encouraged to pledge to Be Kind Online and to build connections with people based on respect.

"We hope to instill in the students an understanding that actions can have consequences, and this also applies to your online life. It's not anonymous -- there's a real person on the other end of the screen and your words and actions can have a dramatic impact upon that person. But making the conscious choice to the communicate with kindness benefits everyone," DA O'Malley said.

Posted on Sep 30, 2015