Did you know October is National Bullying Prevention Month? This sponsored post on behalf of Forward Influence Network and Google centers around how to stop cyber bullying, and what resources we can use to teach our kids how to be internet awesome.
“You weren’t nice to my brother when you two were little. Why were you so mean to him.”
This is what I heard my girl tell our new neighbor, as she and her big brother played with him outside our apartment building. Our now 8 year old daughter has always been an advocate for being kind. In preschool, she was the girl in class that made sure everyone felt liked and welcomed. She’s still like this. So, on that day, when she realized I new neighbor was the kid who bullied her older brother years ago, she had to speak up.
“I really like you, but I don’t like that you were mean to my brother. You seem nice, so I hope you can stay nice. Or else we can’t play with you.”
I was so proud of her that day. She acknowledged the kindness in this boy, someone who was going through a tough time during his brief period as a bully. Alannah reminded him that friends should be nice to each other; that bullying won’t be tolerated in the friendship of these 3 kids. She knows it’s cool to be kind.
Bullying is a serious topic amongst parents and their children, and cyber bullying is moving to the top of those serious discussion lists. Why? Because of these haunting statistics:
- 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.
With many of our kids venturing into using more and more online platforms, apps, and communities to connect with friends all around the world, we have to be more cogniscent of who they are interacting with (and if they are experiencing bullying). Google has created a great, FREE resource or our kids to utilize to learn how to Be Internet Awesome.
Be Internet Awesome, is designed to teach kids about kindness and safety online. It has complete lesson plans that can be used in classrooms, clubs or homes. The Be Internet Awesome program is available in English and Spanish. These are such important messages for kids to learn, so be sure to check it out!
They have also created a game called Interland which is an adventure-packed online game about digital safety and citizenship. Interland teaches kids to be kind and safe online through a variety of games and questions. My two oldest kiddos loved playing this game, and learned important lessons from interacting with the program. We even incorporated the areas of awesomeness into our homeschool curriculum this year!
Be Internet Awesome focuses on 5 areas:
- SMART: Where we learn to share with care
- ALERT: Where we learn not to fall for fake
- STRONG: Where we learn how to secure Our digital stuff
- KIND: Where we learn that itʼs cool to be kind
- BRAVE: Where we learn that when in doubt, we talk it out
Be An Upstander
BRAVE was a great discussion area for our family, since we have 3 family members that excel at this area, while two of us need a little extra work to be brave and talk about tough subjects. Learning how to be an upstander instead of a bystander is essential for today’s society, and we felt the area of BRAVE was a great catalyst to remind our kids to always focus on being an upstander. An upstander is a person who helps the person being hurt when they see something hurtful happening, and help turn negative situations into positive ones. Here are a few lessons we discussed with our kids:
If Iʼm the bystander, I can be an upstander by…
- 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
- Deciding not to help the aggressor by spreading the bullying or making it worse by sharing the mean post or comment online
- Getting a bunch of friends to create a “pile-on of kindness” – post lots of kind comments about the person being targeted (but nothing mean about the aggressor, because you’re setting an example, not retaliating)
- Reporting the harassment. Tell someone who can help, like a parent, teacher, or school counselor.
Want to start having these conversations with your own kids? Here are two main tasks you can do today, to get these cyber bullying discussions going:
- Play Interland with your kids and put your kindness skills to the test at g.co/KindKingdom
- Learn more about how to Be Internet Awesome at g.co/BeInternetAwesome and tell your kids’ teachers about the online curriculum so they can introduce these activities in the classroom.
To learn more about Be Internet Awesome, Interland, and Google For Education, be sure to follow them on social media:
- Facebook: https://facebook.com/GoogleforEducation
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/google/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoogleforEdu
- Website: g.co/BeInternetAwesome (English); g.co/segenialeninternet (Spanish)