*This post about how to spread kindness online was written for Forward Influence for their #BeInternetAwesome Blog Series. However, all opinions are solely my own. #ItsCoolToBeKind #Sponsored
I am a part of the so-called Generation X. My generation grew up before the internet and mobile devices were readily available.
However, bullying existed. Back then, It was mainly in the form of peer pressure bullying. This peer bullying occurred more or less in real time. It was done mostly to your face or behind your back verbally. Trust me I know first hand as I not only was bullied by a classmate as a young kid, but I also witnessed bullying to others even after that happened to me.
Being bullied was not a fun experience by any means. But it taught me to stand up for myself. Plus, it also helped me to stand up for other peers when I saw it happening to them after experiencing it firsthand myself.
Present Day Bullying
Kids nowadays still have to deal with bullying. But this current generation has added a new layer to bullying with it also taking place in a virtual environment. That is right technology has become a new and current avenue for bullying to occur. This type of bullying is known as cyberbullying. Why? Because it occurs virtually through the use of technology through cyberspace.
See the Internet can be a powerful tool for communicating something good or something bad, such as bullying. It is here that kindness or cruelty can spread quickly and easily.
My own kids are school aged now. They use iPads and other mobile devices pretty much daily for either school work or socializing with friends. So, I can’t help but have a personal concern with cyberbullying for my own children. Thankfully, my kids have been spared from this so far. But I know it is something that can indeed happen to them in this day and age.
Because of this current trend, I am wondering how we can help today’s youth combat cyberbullying and spread kindness online.Family is key + 4 other ways to help spread kindness online now with @GoogleforEdu #BeInternetAwesome #ItsCoolToBeKind #SponsoredClick To Tweet
So I have found some useful ways and steps to indeed help my own kids learn about cyberbullying, as well as spreading kindness online. Therefore, I am sharing what has worked for us with spreading kindness online below in recent times here.
5 Clearcut Steps to Help Spread Kindness Online with Kids
1. Family Is Key
For one thing, families are powerful in helping their kids with this. The first step was to be clear on what kinds of actions and behavior toward others are important to our family—how we treat other people “in our family.”
2. Others Matter, Too
So as parents, we also need to teach them to take the high road by applying the concept of “treat others as you’d want to be treated,” helping their friends, and disempowering drama and cyberbullying. I also recently shared with my girls my own personal experience with bullying when I younger in relation to our discussion with peer and cyberbullying.
3. Technology Also Plays A Hand
The next step was to think about what that looks like in digital forms: texts, posts, comments, photos, videos, etc.
4. Play the Game
This is where Interland games came into play. Because see this interactive game from Google was able to be played together as a family unit. This game is fun, but also educational. See it taught my kids all about the 5 areas of internet awesome.
These are the five areas we found as follows:
- SMART: Where we learn to share with care
- ALERT: Where we learn not to fall for fake
- STRONG: Where we learn how to secure Our digital stuff
- KIND: Where we learn that itʼs cool to be kind
- BRAVE: Where we learn that when in doubt, we talk it out
With this game, we also found great talking points to use for our family discussions, as well as activities that helped lay out a strong foundation for our kids’ safe, successful use of the Internet.
See there is no safety “tool” more important than open-hearted, open-minded communication in families.
First, everybody learned about more about each other, as well as technology and media. Plus, it also helped my kids develop some much needed digital and social skills making learning also better at school for them.
Here are so simple conversation starters the game helped our family get started with below:
- Define the word positive and what it means.
- Share explains of positivity in real life, as well as online.
- Discuss scenarios that are better dealt with personally than online in a text or post.
- Learn what is a bully is, the target of a bully is, witnesses/bystanders, as well as upstanders (those who help to intervene positively).
- Move over the game taught my kids what to do if they do get bullied or if they are a bystander to bullying how to become an upstander.
5. After the game.
My own girls put what they learned into practice not only with our family but also with their friends in person, as well as online.
There you have it some simple, but clearcut ways to help your own kids spread kindness online.
Do your kids use mobile devices?
Have you discussed kindness online with your kids?
Now, share with us in the comments.