Bullying and cyberbullying are words that many people are simply tired of hearing. Unless you have been a victim of this torture, and I know that word sounds harsh, you may think that people who have been victims should suck it up.
I won't bore you with the sticks and stones cliché; we all know it. Words hurt. They can stay with you for a lifetime. It's easy to tell victims to ignore their bullies, but any of us who have experienced this type of abuse know that it's much easier said than done. When you are constantly told that you're fat or ugly or that you should kill yourself, how can you not be affected?
As someone who has lived through both abuse online and offline bullish behavior from individuals, it is something that no one should have to endure -- especially young people.
Years ago, it was called being teased. Today, we have the epidemic of bullying.
It has escalated with the use of technology. From cell phones to social media, keystrokes can become cyber-bullets, which can be lethal to the target's mental health. I know -- I lived it.
My message has always been clear, it starts at the top. It starts at home.
What type of role model are you for your children?
We have witnessed parents acting badly on social media, adults acting like children and even people we should respect or expect to be our children's role models acting without concern for others, either online or off. Our society as a whole is not reflective of how we expect our kids to behave.
When parents are using Facebook as a venting machine, sports figures are treating teammates disrespectfully, moms are gossiping with cruel intent, dads are arguing with coaches as well as politicians and news networks are spewing a nonstop stream of poisonous words, what message does this send to our youth?
Take a moment to listen to these kids today:
Video courtesy of Kids In the House.
This video is both a reminder and a warning that if we do nothing, we risk endangering our children. Of course it's important to teach our kids to stand up for themselves, but we also need to show them what it means to have simple human decency and to be considerate of others. If your child is a bully, look at your own behavior and think about where your child learned their cruelty from. It's past the time for adults in our society to grow up, think before they act, and start being the kind of role models we actually want our kids to look up to.
• Keep in mind that your kids are always watching you.
• You are the most influential person in your child's life. Parents matter.
• Bullying isn't only about youth; no one is immune, but we need to know better.
• Before you speak or use your keystrokes, remember that kindness matters.
• Creating a caring teen online, starts with offline parenting
• Spread the word, #ENDBULLYING, it starts with us.