October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Throughout the month of October, Be Internet Awesome will sprinkle positive messages across their communications to emphasize that the “golden rule” is just as important online as it is “IRL”. We are excited to have partnered with Forward Influence and Google to help spread the awesome message!
Dealing with Bullying
I have been the mom on the side when my kid was being bullied. It SUCKS! Seriously I think that might be one of the hardest things I have dealt with as a parent, another person sucking the happiness from my child with their words and actions. And there was NOTHING I could do to fix it for my child that was a quick fix.
She had kept it a secret until she could not any longer. The bullies had beat her down and with out going into much detail as she would like me to keep it as private as we can it was a combination of adults and kids. Two sets of bullies at one time, simultaneously knocking her down until she no longer could keep on the pretend happy face that she was. It was hard as a parent, I felt like I had let her down because I didn’t see the signs until they had striped away her confidence.
It was at that time that I made the choice to homeschool and we have worked thru it all and she has made a 100% confidence gain to where now the words of others don’t have the affect they once did. But it also made me have a much stronger stance on making sure that my kids are a positive place for others and themselves.
Kindness has always been important to us as a family. It became even more so after the bullying issues we dealt with that speaking out against bullying and helping other families with bullying issues became more of a focus too. My child and I do not want others to deal with the issues she dealt with and we hope to be able to continue to inform others about how to be kind and how to help the large issue that we have as society when it comes to bullying.
Teaching Kids to Be Kind Online
I have talked about my kids rules for being online in the past and one of them is to always be kind. The rule in our house is if you can not be kind online then you can not be online at all. We gave them this rule ahead of getting any devices or social media. Thankfully we have not had any online issues involving my kids being unkind.
However I am pushing my kids to be more then just being kind, I want them to be purposely kind to others. I want them to go out of their way to say nice things to their friends because you never know when a friend is having a rough day and a nice comment can make a big difference.
It is important that we as parents teach and show our kids that it is COOL to be KIND! Treating others online how you want to be treated is just as important online as it is in real life. I am going to be sharing with you not only important information about bullying but also ways to help your kids learn that it is cool to be kind online.
Teach Kids about Online Bullying
Bullying is a topic that I wish I did not have to discuss with my kids, however it is one that we all need to have with out children.
The internet can be a truly great place to learn when comments, conversations, and content are positive. BIA will help students and families see how to make choices that disempower bullying behavior and create healthy, productive spaces to interact by participating in a month long activation of acts of kindness online.
What we know about bullying:
- Cyberbullying is the #1 online safety concern in the classroom among teachers.
- 28% of students have experienced bullying personally.
- 71% of students have witnessed bullying directly.
- Only 20% – 30% of students notify adults about bullying.
- Over 50% of parents are concerned about their child being bullied.
When bullying or other mean behavior happens, most of the time there are four types of people involved:
- Thereʼs the aggressor, or person(s) doing the bullying.
- Thereʼs also someone being bullied – the target.
- There are witnesses to what’s going on, usually called bystanders.
- There are witnesses to what’s going on who try to positively intervene, often called upstanders.
Show them examples of online bullying.
It is no secret that online, behind the screen it is not only kids who act like bullies online. There are many adults who are bullies online and they make great examples to show your kids how NOT to behave online.
Seeing examples of what NOT to do online is a way to put what you are telling them goes on into their view. The younger children might not need this, but I have found that with the teens it has been very helpful to show them examples of unacceptable online behavior so they see what NOT to do.
Teach them how to handle online bullies.
As much as I dislike that we even have to teach our children how to handle an online bully, fact is we need to. Teaching them to be kind is one step in the solution to online bullying and teaching them how to handle a bully is another.
3 ways to handle bullies online if you are being bullied:
- Not respond.
- Block the person.
- Report them.
3 ways to handle bullies if you see them bullying another person
- Finding a way to be kind to or support the person being targeted.
- Calling out the mean behavior in a comment or reply (remember to call out the behavior, not the person), if you feel comfortable with that and think it’s safe to do so.
- Reporting the harassment. Tell someone who can help, like a parent, teacher, or school counselor.
Ways to Help Kids Learn It is “Cool to Be Kind” Online
Be a GOOD example.
Show them how you behave on social media in kind ways. Kids learn from what they see. If they see you being kind they will learn that is how the should act too.
- Leave comments that are uplifting to others and show your kids your online comments.
- Explain to your kids and show them when you do it, that it is OK to walk away from a conversation online when someone is bullying you.
- Show your kids that reaching out to someone you know and sending them a private message can help make someone’s day better.
Teach them that online and real life bullying are the same.
I fully believe there is no difference between the two except for one is behind a computer. The actions and words said online affect someone just as much as if it was done in real life. It is important to teach kids there is no difference.
It is important to teach the kids that how they and their friends treat others online will have a big impact on the digital world their generation builds and the real life world as well.
Encourage kids to be kind online.
If as a parent you see the opportunity to be kind to someone or you see an opportunity for your kids to be kind online do it. Many times we are so busy with our lives that we are scrolling thru social media and liking photos or just viewing them with out taking the time to make a positive comment when we could that would help someone.
They don’t have to be over the top, but a simple “I love this pic of you” is just as easy to do as clicking the “like button” but means so much more to those we care about.
Keep the conversation going.
A one time conversation is not enough. As parents we need to be sure that we are constantly being a positive influence on our children and their online behavior. It might sound silly, but randomly showing our kids out positive and kind behavior online at random times is a great way to keep influencing them to be kind online.
Teach them to be confident in themselves.
Confidence is important for kids both online and in real life. When they are confident in themselves they will be able to help those who are being bullied online.
Teaching them to be confident in themselves will help them not only be kind online, but to also stand up for others. Teaching kids to be confident will help them to be and upstander and change the way the person being bullied feels, instead of being a bystander who is just watching what is going on.
You can learn more about how to be kind online with Google’s Be Internet Awesome Family Guide at g.co/BeInternetAwesome. It is also fun and educational for the kids to play Interland with your kids and put your kindness skills to the test at g.co/KindKingdom.
This post is sponsored by Google and Forward Influence. All opinions are 100% my own.