As an anti-bullying week event we visited Sir Wilfrid Laurier public school in Hamilton on November 19, 2012 to present a parent/child presentation called ‘Stand up – Keep Your Kids’.
We had a great audience of receptive parents and children who were eager to learn more about bullying prevention. A group of enthusiastic children arrived early to practice role-plays, which they did with sincere conviction. Parent Council representative, Dayna Liddle, was one of the parents in charge of arranging and overseeing the event. Dayna is obviously adamant about bullying prevention.
We talked about a number of concepts which parents can use to help safeguard their children at home, school, and in their communities. Here is an overview of three strategies we discussed.
The energy a human being exudes often comes across as being positive or negative. It is important to ensure that our children are sending positive vibrations to the world, as in my opinion, this positive energy will also attract positive energy. As parents, it is important to encourage our children to walk with confidence and show confidence in the way they carry themselves. If we are constantly criticizing our children or finding fault with the way they do things, they will develop a low self-esteem that will begin to be apparent wherever they go. Instead, it is important to lift up our children, encourage them, look for the positive, and help them to understand that they are valued individuals who can make a decided difference with their friends or in their community. I strongly believe children who carry themselves in a positive manner, will be targeted less often in bullying situations.
As a parent myself, I understand that it is my job to direct my son if he makes a mistake or does not follow directions. I know I need to be firm and definite about my expectations, however, it is vital that I also help to build up his self-esteem on a continuous basis.
Be Aware of your Child’s Online activity:
When police officers do presentations about cyber bullying, one of the things they talk about is making sure that the computer is in a central place in your home. I also emphasize this very same idea. The computer should not be located at the back of your family room, the corner of your basement or in your child’s bedroom if it is connected to the Internet. Make sure the computer is in a central place like the kitchen or family room where everyone goes. As an adult we are all responsible for making sure we know exactly what our children are doing online. This includes games, research, online chatting, and social media websites such as Facebook or twitter.
Cell phones, video, and YouTube:
Many parents are concerned about their child’s safety, and rightly so. As an effort to keep our children safe many of us provide our children with cell phones. However cell phones usually have many capabilities including cameras and video cameras and GPS. These functions while being very useful can also complicate life and provide interesting tools for would be cyber bullies. If a fight breaks out at your child’s school, someone is likely to pull out a cell phone and start videotaping the event. We all know that it is popular to upload these kinds of videos to YouTube or similar sites. Videos such as this often get a high number of hits and it can be a real perk for a student who is trying to get attention. Also what many parents don’t realize is that YouTube will pay users who get a large number of hits on their site. This can also be incentive to upload videos such as I have described.
As a presenter and anti-bullying advocate, I appreciate the fact that this anti-bullying event was made possible by an Ontario government PRO grant. Thanks to everyone who helped organize and support this event at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Public School in Hamilton.
Bruce Langford, anti-bullying advocate and presenter www.standupnow.ca