Trish, What can I do for Bullying Prevention Month?
Hi there, and thank you so much for this fantastic question! As I’m sure you can guess, October – Bullying Prevention Month – is one of my favorite times of the year because it’s an incredible opportunity to shine a light on an issue I (and I know so many of you!) care so deeply about and to take action towards stopping harassment and promoting positivity and respect. And that really is what National Bullying Prevention Month is: a time in the US (and around the world) to talk about, confront, and work towards ending bullying in all forms, including cyberbullying.
In my opinion, the most important actions or moments that come out of Bullying Prevention Month are not the ones splashed across social media or the ones that involve celebrities; they’re the ones that involve each and every one you. In your classrooms, in your communities, even in your home, you have so much power to shift the dialogue on bullying, to promote respect and inclusivity, and to build better relationships for our society and world. But, as this week’s question gets at, it can be a little tricky trying to figure out where to start. Sure, you might think, I want to do something for Bullying Prevention Month. But what can I actually do?
It’s a totally valid question – and one that I’ll be answering in this post! This week, I’ve put together a brief list of tips and suggestions (along with related resources – including several past Ask Trish articles!) of small things you can do this month that are genuinely so important and impactful. Whether you do 1 or all 4 of the things on this list, thank you so much in advance for recognizing and supporting this month/what it stands for. And consider a 6) keeping these actions and this awareness going every month, because stopping bullying never becomes less important.
With that, here’s the brief list:
Educate yourself. Maybe you know what cyberbullying is, but do you know how prevalent it is and who it disproportionately affects? Do you know the most common myths about cyberbullying – and why they can be so harmful? And do you know how to take on specific types of cyberbullying, including harassment that can be especially scary, like revenge porn? If not, you’re in luck, because Ask Trish has articles on all of those topics, linked above. Educating yourself not only ensures that you can make smarter and safer decisions online, but also means that you can educate and/or help your friends and family. Knowledge truly is power when it comes to preventing and tackling cyberbullying, so don’t overlook this suggestion!
Spread some positivity – send someone you haven’t been in touch with lately a kind message. This doesn’t have to be an elaborate or fancy message; just a simple, “How are you? I was thinking of you and hope you’re doing well! Know that I always have your back and am there for you” can mean so much to a recipient. And if you’re anything like me and my friends, you’ll find that not only will the recipient appreciate your message, you’ll feel good about yourself too.
Be an upstander. When you see bullying or cyberbullying in action, do something about it – be an Upstander, not a bystander. As I mentioned in my post last year on being an Upstander, doing the right thing doesn’t need to be confrontational. Whether it’s simply reminding someone about the consequences of their actions or explaining how bullying and cyberbullying makes others feel – and why it’s not okay, using your position to advocate for kindness, not hate, can go a long way. And when in doubt, find friends to stand up with you – there’s power in numbers.
Take the time to check in with someone who’s struggling. Too often, we ask each other “How are you?” but don’t really make space for answers other than “I’m good.” The honest truth is, sometimes we’re not good. It can be hard to express or talk about, though, especially as a victim of bullying or cyberbullying. So this month, try to be extra aware of how your friends and family are feeling – and intentional about checking in with them and supporting them. Not only can you provide some comfort, if the person you’re chatting with needs more help, you can help them in the process to seek therapy or other resources – something I’m sure they’ll really appreciate.
I hope this week’s post offered some helpful tips and suggestions on how you can take action this Bullying Prevention Month – and every month. Whether it’s learning about common cyberbullying myths or being an Upstander at your school/in your community, you can and will make a tremendous impact. Next week, we’ll take on another topic – potentially, a topic on your mind! Before I sign off, I want to encourage you to share your Internet-related musings or thoughts – whether similar to this post or completely different – here. Don’t forget: anything is on the table, so don’t hesitate to share whatever it is you’re wondering about. I can’t wait to hear from you and hopefully over some valuable advice.
Last last thing: if you can, give Ask Trish some love (likes, shares, comments) on social media! With your support, we can #hypeup this incredible community.
Thank you all so much! Until next week,