My daughter’s name is Amanda Todd and she has a tragic story behind her name. It is hoped that her story is one that opens up discussions in families about Internet safety and how to understand and learn more about how to safeguard yourself and your kids. There is no time like now, during Bullying Awareness Week (November 17 through 23), to start this important discussion with your family.
The theme for Bullying Awareness Week is Stand Up (to bullying). Here are six things that you and your family can do to take a stand.
- Be available to talk to your ‘kids’ about what is happening online – doesn’t have to be what your kids are doing but what is trending on social media.
- Have technology free times in your home. Put away technology during dinner, bake cookies with the kids, have a movie night, play board games. It is important that everyone turn off their technology to bring back those undisturbed FAMILY TIMES.
- Ensure that your children have SAFE and CARING adults that they can go to at anytime for a open conversation. It is important that adults remain non-judgemental when your child has decided to open up and share.
- Talk and teach about KINDNESS, COMPASSION and how to be NICE. Positive relationships is what will make the difference.
- Educate yourself and your family about the internet, social media and the effects of cyberbullying. For example take a few minutes with your family and watch the TELUS WISE – let’s discuss cyberbullying video hosted by Bill Belsey of bullying.org.
- Make a donation to causes that support anti-bullying and digital literacy programs.
In the early days of this journey, someone said to me: “As you go forward in the days and months ahead consider carefully what and how much can be done within the schools and communities.” Consider that our generation of parents thought we were prepared to raise and understand our kids but then technology came and threw us a curve ball. As parents, we want to help you. We want to listen to you. We want you to share things with us. So as kids, talk to your parents, share things with them. The time is so short and the future is unpredictable. Knowing the future and their outcomes can be hard. So love your friends. Be respectful to others. Smother the world, your community, your school and your friends with kindness. Take the time to learn about the effects of bullying and cyberbullying and to recognize the signs. You never know when one of your friends may need help and not know how to ask for it.