Friday, October 5, 2012

Identifying, Intervening, Surviving, and Preventing Bullying – The Final Post in a Series: Each of Us Can Write Our Own Story.

So we’ve come to the end of our blog series about bullying. We’ve learned what the different types of bullying are, how the law defines bullying and cyberbullying, what the signs are of someone who is being bullied and someone who may be bullying others. We’ve also learned how to get involved and intervene to stop bullying and things others are doing to prevent it. Finally we’ve given you some additional resources and websites you can visit to learn more about bullying and bullying prevention.

So when it came time to end the series, the question was, how do we end it appropriately? It seemed technology was ever present in bullying, and we were using technology to deliver this message, so technology seemed an appropriate topic to end on.

It’s often hard to even keep up with technology. The terminology even changes frequently… Internet safety, cyber safety, tech safety, digital safety. Kids’ lives include so much technology such as the Internet, cell phones, gaming sites and consoles and more. Sadly, for most adults, our children are far better educated about technology than we are. It feels as though we almost have to become an IT expert to know how to keep up with up with it all. Or we could find and befriend an IT expert or Apple Genius. Either way, adults need to become educated and empowered because the other people who are as educated as our children are the predators.

But looking at this another way, the other benefit we see to adults becoming educated and empowered regarding digital abuse and digital safety is how society would then be able to turn around and use technology for great things, to change the tide and go against predators and offenders. What a great day that would be. Kids could make prevention PSAs and videos and adults could come together to support children. Schools and communities could stand together and make prevention videos and use them as teaching tools; the media could actually present stories of hope, helping one another and reaching out for good causes rather just the doom and gloom we usually see.

One recent example of using technology to do good, a video from a news anchor in Wisconsin that has gone viral. In it, she replies to a viewer’s email she received about her weight, challenging him and also using the opportunity to support others who don’t feel good about themselves and who are being bullied. It’s a great example of technology being used for a great cause. It’s time to see more examples of both adults and children using technology to support others and spread good messages rather than people using technology to do bad or hurtful things. It’s time we all work together to use technology for good. It’s time we all write our own story about how we can get involved and do better. Thank you for joining us for our bullying series, we hope it was educational and helpful.

A final note – October is National Bullying Prevention month and we challenge you to get involved. Here is a calendar with  ideas listed each day (both large and small) of things you can do to stop and prevent bullying. We challenge you to pick at least one thing a week and do it – even better if you do several a week – to help stop and prevent bullying in your own school or community! Come back and tell us what you did, or post on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you.

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