As a blogger and social influencer, I ‘meet’ many people on the internet. Some of these people become my friends, women I feel connected to and have actually met in person. I’ve also met a few people whom I wish I hadn’t, people I had to block from social media or my blog. You may ask why I blocked them, well they went out of their way to insult me, attempted to intimidate me, disrespected me or acted in a hateful manner towards my fellow blogger friends. Internet bullies are real in both the adult and kid world!
All opinions in this post are my own. I am being compensated as a member of the Forward Influence Network to discuss the topics in this post. #ItsCoolToBeKind #BeInternetAwesome
One of the most scary things about being a parent is the possibility your child will become the victim of bullying. Did you know at least 20% of students have experienced bullying personally, while 70% of students have witnessed bullying directly? I had my own experience with bullying during high school, but know it can occur anywhere to anyone at any age. With the internet holding so much power in the form of communication in our society, it’s no surprise bullying happens online too. It’s important to be able to talk to your kids about internet bullying and how to be internet kind.
What is an internet bully?
An internet bully is a person who hides behind their keyboard to bring people down online – making them feel embarrassed or left out, making fun of them, disrespecting them, hurting their feelings, etc. Internet Trolls exist in all realms, so it is not just a blogger or social influencer who may run into a bully online. Children are bullied every day on the internet. I know once my daughters become a part of the social media world, they run the risk of being bullied on the internet too. All parents want their children to be safe and confident, not just in the real world, but online.
How to Be Internet Kind
The best way to prepare your children for internet bullying is by teaching them to treat online communication like face-to-face communication; if it isn’t right to say, it isn’t right to post. Teach your children to identify harassment of any form online, report the bullying immediately, and then spread kindness. Use the internet as a platform to spread positivity instead of negativity.
If your child is confident enough, teach him/her to call out the mean behavior online, but not the bully. Then say something nice about the bully’s target and encourage their friends to join in too. There’s strength in numbers!
If your child isn’t comfortable addressing the bully’s target publicly, teach your child to still reach out through a direct message, text, or even in person. If there is a way to post something nice anonymously, encourage that behavior too.
If your kids are anything like mine, they learn through practice and examples. Google has designed is a great game called Interland that you can play with your children online and put your kindness skills to test. You can also practice being kind to each other at home and encourage your kids to show kindness to their friends at school.
The Moral of my Story
There is nothing more important for a parent than to always remember to model the behavior you want your children to replicate. If I show my daughters how I spread kindness online by uplifting others, standing up for those who are being bullied, and reporting negative comments, they will do the same in their lives. I’ll do anything to make our world a less scary place!