In support of National Bullying Prevention Month, I thought it would be an ideal time to discuss the importance of talking to your kids about recognizing, dealing with, and preventing bullying and cyber bullying. As a parent of a highschool teenage girl and elementary school boy, I know how difficult it is commencing a conversation about such a sensitive issue with your kids, so I wanted to suggest some tools to help parents bring the topic to the table and keep the lines of communication flowing.
Bullying is at a whole new malicious level.
When I was younger, bullying in school was not even addressed unless someone was physically hurt. Back then there was the usual detention or suspension that followed the incident. It basically ended there and was forgotten a week or two later. Sure kids would zone in on a child who didn’t look, dress, or behave the same as they did and make their life miserable with name calling, but as sickening as it was it is nothing like the torment children go through today. Bullying is at a whole new malicious level with the use of the Internet using social playground platforms like Ask.fm. When hateful words go viral, kids can’t escape the torture once they leave school for the day and the constant abuse leads to severe depression, low self-esteem, school absences, higher dropout rates, and possible suicides. This is why it is very crucial to teach kids bullying is unacceptable, how to safely standup for themselves, and to talk to an adult if it happens.
Encourage a conversation about bullying using Netflix!
Nothing opens up an uncomfortable discussion better than watching a relevant movie on the topic! Netflix has 11 fantastic movies and TV shows to stream that help encourage a conversation about bullying with kids of all ages. The list includes:
4.[http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/The_Fat_Boy_Chronicles/70225699?trkid=2361637]The Fat Boy Chronicles
2.[http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Jimmy_Neutron_Boy_Genius/60021788?trkid=2361637]Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius
3.[http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/The_Avengers_Earth_s_Mightiest_Heroes/70178215?trkid=2361637]Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes
4.[http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Spy_Kids_All_the_Time_in_the_World/70176656?trkid=2361637]Spy Kids: All the Time in the World
5.[http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Justice_League_Unlimited/70177044?trkid=2361637]Justice League Unlimited
6.[http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Ben_10_Alien_Force/70166093?trkid=2361637]Ben 10: Alien Force
Have a tween or teen? Watch Cyber Bully!
If you have a tween or teen I highly recommend sitting down and watching Cyber Bully together. The powerful film originally premiered on July 17, 2011 on ABC Family, but now is offered on Netflix. It is about a seventeen year old girl named Taylor Hillridge who is being raised by her single mother Kris, along with her younger brother Eric. Taylor is being teased by a girl named Lindsay at school, which turns into a vicious nightmare after she receives a laptop for her birthday and joins a social website named Cliquesters. After Taylor’s brother Eric hacks into the account and posts a derogatory message using her profile, the cyber bullying escalates with Lindsay mostly behind it.
Then, Taylor befriends a boy named James online who she thinks is a real nice guy, divulging personal information about her life to him. However, James isn’t who she thinks he is and turns out spreading rumors online that he received an STD after sleeping with Taylor. The message begins a horrific circle of bullying with Taylor being called a “whore” and “slut.” Eventually, the teasing causes her friends not wanting to be seen with her and leaving Taylor feeling alone and helpless. She reaches a breaking point and posts a video online saying she can no longer live with herself and decides to take her own life by overdosing on pills. Her friend Samantha sees the video, calls Taylor’s mom, and they both get there just in time before Taylor is able to get the cap off the pills.
Taylor ends up going to a support group where she learns she isn’t alone and being bullied happens to a lot of normal people. She ultimately stands up for herself against Lindsay and is backed by her friends and classmates!
The film takes a good look into what can happen when cyber bullying gets out of control. I think most teens are able to identify with the situation and it is a great way to start a discussion about bullying in your home.
Anti-bullying craft ideas.
Another great way to get kids talking about bullying is using the power of fun crafts! Kelly Ladd Sanchez, former lifestyle editor of Parenting Magazine, has come up with some great age appropriate craft ideas to help extend the bullying conversation. Check it out!
Anti-Bullying Tie Dye Pillow and Tote
“Inspire your big kids to take a stand against bullying with these empowering messages. Click here to learn how to make your own.”
“I’m a Superhero” Photo Magnet”
“Show your little ones there’s a superhero in every kid with this fun and easy craft. Click here for full instructions.”
Proactive against bullying
I talked to my daughter about bullying after we watched Cyber Bully and she said this year was the worst thus far that she has ever seen in the school and online. The violence between the students is out of hand and the police are at the school breaking up fights almost daily. The teachers are overwhelmed and not sure how to begin handling it. I believe it is up to us as parents to make sure our children are safe and we are approachable for our children who need us. It all begins with becoming proactive and identifying the signs of a child being bullied along with knowing the positive actions to take if it occurs. We need to show our support and help the school officials deal with the problem by teaching our children bullying is wrong, should not be tolerated, and the steps to take against it. Please talk to your child about bullying!
Free anti-bullying posters!
willUstand, a website with the mission to spread the anti-bullying message of unity through music, offers free downloadable posters (like the image above) for your child to print and display within school! The posters are an easy way for your child to stand up and make a difference against bullying.