As parents, it’s our job to teach our children how to use the internet well. Part of that includes showing our kids how to be a good friend, peer and classmate who stands up to bullies with whom they may come in contact. Here are five ways to teach anti-bullying to your kids.
1. Do unto others
I raise my son by the Golden Rule. While he’s still very young, the Golden Rule applies to how he interacts with others, both virtually and in-person. Being an anti-bully goes beyond the old, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” phrase. It’s about behaving in an upstanding manner, no matter the actions of others.
If I were to ask you to name all of the different ways children are cyberbullied, could you? Educate yourself about cyberbullying and its many forms. Teach your child how to handle all bullying situations, as both a target and an innocent bystander. Remember, the best way to prevent cyberbullying is to be armed with knowledge.
3. Don’t engage
The best way to put an end to bullying is to refuse to take part in it. For example, if an inappropriate photo of a classmate is passed around via text message and ends up in your child’s inbox, teach your child not to pass it on. If they do interact, it should be to report it to a trusted adult or teacher.
What you don’t know about your kids’ experience of bullying
4. Report what you see
We all know the old saying, “If you see something, say something.” An upstander reports any type of bullying to a trusted adult, whether or not the bully or victim is their friend. Upstanders aim to prevent and even stop cyberbullying by doing the right thing.
5. Influence your peers
Anti-bullies try to influence their peers to do the right thing. That picture that’s making the rounds? An anti-bully would tell their friend to report it along with the person who sent it to them. Teach your child to model upstanding behavior for others, in an effort to influence their peers to do the right thing.
6. Embrace your differences
Perhaps one of the greatest ways to prevent cyberbullying is by teaching our children to embrace people’s differences and to make friends outside of their immediate circle. I often share my own story of being “label-less.” At my sixteenth birthday party, I looked around my backyard and all I could see were tiny clusters of different people scattered around the yard. As an academic, athlete, musician, and devout teen, my friends were from different high schools, different grades, and different cliques. I was not easily labeled, and I hope my son will have a similar experience.
Teaching our children to befriend and embrace all different types of people helps us raise socially responsible young adults.
This parenting insight was provided by Zift, a digital parenting app and educational resource for modern families.