In honor of October being National Bullying Prevention Month, I sat down with my family to talk about bullying. My daughter had a hard time last year dealing with the effects of bullying, as we all do sometimes. I was super excited to partner with Forward Influence Network and Google to help against bullying. The best thing we can do is educate ourselves about how to react to it. Having open-minded communication with our family is the best way to learn and grow in this situation. We discussed how together, we want to be up-standers and promote positivity at home, school, and online.
We spend everyday trying to live by the “golden rule” of treating others how we want to be treated. This is just as important online as it is in real life. When the internet is positive, it can be a great place to learn. With the help of Google’s program, Be Internet Awesome, I can easily teach my kids the fundamentals of internet safety and digital citizenship. On BIA, there’s an educational game called Interland, where kids can learn while having fun and track their progress. It’s actually really cool and even I enjoyed playing it!
As parents, we need to teach our children right from wrong, and that spreading kindness is always the answer. Often, bullies are just having a hard time themselves and projecting it in a negative way. Sometimes all it takes is a little kindness and positivity to help put someone on the right path. It’s not always easy for a child to understand why others are being mean, but they can learn how to handle it appropriately.
When discussing bullying with your children, pose the question- what kinds of actions and behavior towards others are important to your family? Now think about how this applies in the digital world. How can we express positivity through texts, posts, comments, photos, and videos? How can we combat bullying when we see it happening?
For my family, we decided on a list of things we can do when we’re bystanders to bullying and how we can become an upstander instead.
- Call out the mean behavior (not the bully), and express how it’s not nice.
- Say something positive about the target of bullying in a comment.
- Ask friends to compliment the target in a public space, as it sets an example.
- Offline, try to befriend the target and ask them to sit with you at lunch or hang out with you during recess.
- Privately message them to ask how they’re doing, and if they want to talk about it- online or in person.
Sometimes, it’s better to privately report a bully to a parent or adult you trust. We decided it’s okay if we don’t feel comfortable confronting a bully directly. Another thing we discussed is how we don’t need to respond to a bully at all when we are being targeted, we can simply ignore them- or block them.
Be Internet Awesome also discusses internet safety, and how we can equip our children with the knowledge they need to keep themselves safe online. Interland teaches kids super important lessons like never share your passwords, open spam emails, or talk to strangers. The best part is that everything is taught in a fun interactive game where you use your arrow keys to spread kindness to bullies, and answer questions to test your knowledge about what you’ve learned. My kids played for hours and racked up a ton of kindness points. You can even print out a certificate of progress to brag about how Internet Awesome you are! The point system definitely motivates them and brings out the competitive spirit that my kids have with each other through pretty much everything.
Learn more about how to Be Internet Awesome at BeInternetAwesome and tell your kids’ teachers about the online curriculum so they can introduce these activities in the classroom. It’s so beneficial to teach our children that #ItsCoolToBeKind and help them understand the ripple effect that their actions have on others, online and offline. BIA will soon offer a family guide with resources and tools to aid you in the discussion about bullying prevention with your family.
BIA is helping kids be safe, confident explorers of the online world so I can relax as a parent knowing they’re doing the right thing. Play Interland with your kids and put your kindness skills to the test at KindKingdom. Together we can make a difference!