6 Ways to Stop Bullying and Spread Kindness
Have you ever witnessed cyber-bullying? As a parent, have you had anti-bullying conversations with your children? Identifying ways to stop bullying on the spot isn't easy. That's why teaching children to choose kindness is critical.
Through our partnership with Google, we have learned awesome parenting tips to prevent cyber bullying. Be Internet Awesome is Google’s free program, offers a ton of resources for parents and educators to teach kids digital citizenship and safety so they can explore the online world with confidence.
6 Ways to Stop Bullying, Be Safe Online, and Spread Kindness
1. Get up to speed on internet safety.
As a parent, you can't protect or safeguard what you don't know. Here are a few ways to educate yourself on online safety issues:
- Read online articles, participate in online parenting groups/forums, and ask friends with kids your kid's ages or older to stay in the know on new websites, social media platforms, apps, and online practices.
- Learn about issues other parents have faced when dealing with cyber-bullying.
- Identify solutions they've found for ways to stop bullying and teaching their kids online safety.
Check out resources and articles for parents and educators on Google's Be Internet Awesome website, including this from the Family Online Safety Institute about Good Digital Parenting.
2. Create a safe environment at home that fosters open dialogue.
Online safety is a broad topic with issues that can be sensitive to children. Before diving into the various ways to stop bullying, create a safe environment that fosters open dialogue. You can do this in the following ways:
- Help your children know and feel that they are always welcome to approach you about any topic at any time.
- Invite questions, sharing experiences, and expressing concerns.
- Research answers to your children's questions with them directly to help them take charge of their online safety and to feel more in control.
- Make talking about online safety and bullying a priority. Stop most anything to give your kids the floor, truly listening to and validating what they share.
- Ask your children how they feel after experiencing bullying, unkindness, or other negative online behavior. Help them process their feelings, again, validating and rewarding them for coming to you directly.
- If your kids engage in negative online behavior, make it safe for them to talk to you about it. No shaming. No freaking out (overreacting).
- When negative situations occur online, ask your children what they feel the solution to the issue could be. Work through scenarios and problem solve together.
3. Share the basics about online privacy and safety.
Helping children protect their privacy is critical to their online safety. To educate children on basic ways to protect their online privacy, do the following:
- Help your children understand what online safety is in the clearest, direct, approachable way possible. Don't muddle up the message.
- Educate them on what online privacy means, giving them examples.
- Tell them to never share their personal information (for example, their home address, phone number, full name, birthday, etc.) with anyone, including their friends both online and offline.
- Instruct them to never share their password with anyone, even their closest friends—online or offline.
- Share examples of the what pictures and content that are OK and are NOT OK to share online, even in private messages with friends.
- Educate them on fake accounts. (Google's Interland game is a great way to expose them to fake versus real people online in a fun and engaging way.)
4. Set rules with rewards and consequences for online activity and behavior.
In addition to being taught about online safety, children need boundaries with rewards and consequences. Follow these steps to set up a system that will work for your family:
- Set boundaries and limits for online activity and share them with your children. Help them understand that online activity, including having access to a phone, games, or a computer is a privilege—something that is earned and can be taken away based on their behavior.
- Negotiate if necessary to agree on the final household rules surrounding online activity.
- Create a contract with rewards and consequences based on behavior.
- Reward and consequence behavior as agreed upon.
- Be open to allowing your kids to explore new websites and download apps. Research together. Give permission for them to frequent those websites you feel good about or find other options if you don't feel like certain sites are safe.
5. Instruct children on how to handle negative online activity.
Most every child will have some experience with negative online activity. Teaching them how to handle these opportunities before they occur will best prepare them to respond positively:
- Teach kids simple steps to take to stop negative behavior online. For example, if they see images or videos of a more mature nature, instruct them to either shut down the computer or walk away from the computer and immediately get an adult.
- Tell kids the actions you will take when you discover dangerous activity or if they report it to you: blocking, reporting, etc. so it isn't a surprise or unknown to them.
- Help your children know the actions they can take themselves to stay safe online and to stop the negative activity. Help them feel in control of their online experiences.
- If your children engage in negative behavior, consequence them as agreed-upon in your contract.
- If your children shows signs of addiction or other problems (bullying behavior or being bullied), get help immediately.
6. Teach and model kindness.
Do the following to help your children learn ways to stop bullying:
- Help them learn that the ultimate antidote for bullying.
- Go over scenarios with them to come up with ways to be kind to others.
- Teach your child ways to be an Upstander—someone who stands up for what is right, including putting a stop to bullying.
- Expose them to online tools and resources that promote positive online activity, such as Google's Interland—an adventure-packed online game that offers kids a fun and engaging way to learn that It's Cool to Be Kind.
- Share examples of other children/teens who share ways to stop bullying, such as in the video below:
It’s good to learn more while having fun with Google! So…
- 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.
Always remember to #BeInternetAwesome because #ItsCoolToBeKind!
What are various ways to stop bullying you have found useful when teaching your children?