This is a sponsored post written by me for Google. This post is part of a campaign managed by the Forward Influence Network. All opinions are mine alone. #ItsCoolToBeKind #BeInternetAwesome
Both of my daughters are in school full-time this year. Most of the stories that they tell me about school are positive, but occasionally, I’ll hear a story that makes me sad. For example, a few weeks ago, Sophia told me about an incident in school that she witnessed. It basically involved one kid making fun of another’s outfit. Sophia told me that she felt bad for the person being targeted and stood up for them. Essentially, she was being an upstander.
Did you know that 28% of students have experienced bullying personally and 71% of students have witnessed bullying directly? The sad truth is that there is a good chance that most kids will either experience bullying or witness bullying. Since October is National Bullying Prevention Month, it’s the perfect time to think about this growing epidemic and whether we are doing everything we can to disempower bullying. In fact, one of the most important things we can do as parents is to have meaningful conversations with our kids, encouraging them to stand up for anyone being bullied. This applies to both in-real-life situations and online conversations. By showing our kids how to Be Internet Awesome, we are giving them the skills they need to confidently tackle the online world.
Be Internet Awesome is Google’s free program that is helping kids understand basics of digital citizenship and safety. Available in both English and Spanish, this curriculum is empowering students to explore the online world with safety & kindness in mind.
The program features an ISTE standards-aligned curriculum, ready-made Pear Decks for each lesson, Interland (a super fun online game about digital safety) and useful tools for teachers & parents. The program is giving students the skills they need to be Smart, Alert, Strong, Kind and Brave via the Be Internet Awesome curriculum.
Interland is a fun, interactive online game that teaches the lessons of digital safety. There are four different challenging levels to play! For example, in Kind Kingdom, the goal is to get to the top of the kingdom by spreading good vibes and nixing bad vibes.
The game asks a series of interesting, thought-provoking questions about online safety. The student strives to get the most answers correct to advance in the game. Click here to play Interland with your kids – it’s fun and educational!
Google’s Be Kind Curriculum educates children on identifying bullying online, choosing to be an upstander, understanding there are multiple ways to stand up for the target, expressing feelings in effective ways, and so much more. There are also plenty of talking points to help spark a meaningful conversation with your child.
After all, when it comes to online safety, open-minded communication with your child is essential. Encourage your child to always seek advice from you when questions arise about online activities. Teach your child that if she ever witnesses bullying (in person or online), she should stand up for the person being targeted.
Before we delve further into the ways one can be an upstander, let’s first define a typical scenario of bullying. In most cases of bullying, there are actually four individuals involved:
- The aggressor: the person doing the bullying
- The target: the person being bullied
- Bystanders: people witnessing what’s going on
- Upstanders: people trying to positively intervene
So how can a bystander become an upstander? In fact, there are five ways:
1. Be kind to the person being targeted! Offer support and positive attention to the person being targeted by the bulling. You can even get a number of friends to join you to support the target. Simply complimenting the target can help.
2. Call out the mean behavior! Reply to the incident by calling out the aggressor’s behavior. State that you don’t agree with this behavior and that this is not acceptable. Just saying “hey, that’s not cool” is an easy way to make a positive impact.
3. Don’t exacerbate the situation! Do not help the aggressor in any way. Do not retweet, like or support the bully. Do not share the negative post/comment with your friends or followers.
4. Report the behavior! Get the help of a parent or teacher when you witness incidents of bulling. If someone is harassing someone else online, you can usually report the post directly to the social media channel.
5. Reach out privately! Many people may not feel comfortable standing up for someone else publicly. In this case, feel free to reach out privately. Send a text or direct message, asking how he/she is doing. Send an anonymous post or comment with compliments. Tell the target that you don’t agree with the aggressor’s actions.