How to Spread Kindness and Stand Up Online
While having compassion for others is critical for your child’s character development, becoming an upstander against bullying and unfair treatment of others goes beyond having compassion. It takes specific skills to stand up to bullying. A great way for children and teens to develop these skills is to voice their opinions online and spread kindness virally.
Random Acts of Kindness
The “Nice It Forward” movement is just one example of students using social media to randomly spread kindness and positive messages to their peer communities. This particular movement involves one teen who decided to use the Twitter handle “@OsseoNiceThings” to share kind words about fellow classmates in Osseo, Minnesota. Many other movements have been gaining popularity and are proof that simple acts of kindness, such as a few loving words, can spread virally.
Being an upstander can include simple acts like these. Help your child understand that just a few thoughtful words can go a long way.
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Reach Out and Connect
The Internet offers you and your child many options to reach out to others, whether it be for support, for help, or to show kindness to those in need.
If your child witnesses cyberbullying, encourage him or her to reach out to the bullied individual and to show kindness and acceptance.
It might be difficult to find the right words to say, especially when teens witness bullying online. The heart of the Ad Council’s latest communication program, I Am a Witness, is a new emoji keyboard giving teens a means to stand up to the bully and to support bullying victims. You can download the I Am a Witness app here.
If your child is looking for help or support to spread kindness publicly, many online resources make it possible to connect with others who would like to help, such as starting or joining a pledge campaign on sites like DoSomething.org.
How do you teach your child to be an upstander to bullying, and what stories do you have about instances when he or she has stepped in? Share your experiences with other parents in the comments below!