Building from Bullying: Your Voice Matters (a #1000Speak post)
Since January, I’ve had an astonishing, whirlwind ride, and somehow ended up in the middle of the 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion movement. Our inaugural effort was FABULOUS and got SO many people talking, and writing, about compassion. We decided we wanted to do MORE than just the one-off event, and came up with a plan. But we wanted topics, because there are so many areas of life which really NEED compassion spoken into them. Quite out of the blue, my dear friend Hasty Words came to me explaining project she was embarking upon through March, about bullying. I rapidly acknowledged its potential, and it was decided that #1000Speak would follow her lead, focussing on ‘Building from Bullying’ for our March 20th linkup. Because Hasty’s right – it’s a very prevalent, incredibly complex issue, which always bears frank dialogue. So we took on her idea, because it’s such a good one. But let her explain herself, and why this is so important to her… -Lizzi
Recently, I witnessed a case of cyberbullying that disturbed me greatly. The normal constructs society has built to deal with bully behavior do not work. With kids as young as third grade getting online it is imperative that parents, school admins, and law enforcement work hard to get caught up. If you think young kids aren’t yet capable of being online bullies you would be wrong.
I was wrong… I saw it… and it scared me.
I wanted to do something about it and yet I was extremely limited. I do have a voice though… we all do. I want my daughter to know she has a very powerful voice and so I decided to host numerous voices on my blog. I wanted her to see the power we are all capable of, so I did three things.
First, I opened up my blog for the month of March so those who needed a place to be heard could speak. Information is powerful and although many of the stories I hosted HERE are heartbreaking they all serve a valuable purpose – to teach us.
The second thing I decided to do was share my own voice and I can think of no better place to do that than here on the SisterWives. Currently, all I can think about is cyber-bulling and how out of control it is. I have spent so much time trying to find ways to help my daughter navigate the future.
My daughter is ten and I have already seen enough to make me want to stick her inside a plastic bubble the rest of her life. Raising a little human is damn hard and it is even harder when you realize you can’t protect them.
Trying to raise a bullet-proof little girl who is also kind and compassionate is NOT easy but throw social media into the mix and you no longer need bullet-proof kids – you need blast-proof kids. Social media is like dynamite and our kids have little matchstick fingers.
There are so many lessons a kid needs to learn before they should be allowed on social media. I am going to list just a few that are important in my opinion.
Unlike most of her friends, my daughter does not have a phone but she does have an Instagram account. It was the easiest thing to monitor and I believed it was a good way to introduce her to social media. I am already having anxiety attacks because I think she is the one teaching me.
Never did I think I would need to be teaching my fifth-grade daughter how to avoid and protect herself from online strangers/predators. I am very active on social media and have had enough run-ins with predators that I know to be scared. Lock your account, never accept someone you don’t ACTUALLY know is real, and never use your real name.
I have gone so far as to tell my daughter she has to ask permission to follow an account or to allow someone to follow her. You know all those cute Instagram sites that have a cute puppy (etc) every day? The last thing you want is for the cute puppy person to DM your child…
I told my daughter I get to see everything. If I want to see her private messages then I get to see them. It isn’t about me being nosey but about me keeping her safe. So far she has been very willingly to give me her device. I don’t just say hand it over; it’s more like let’s talk about what is going on with your social media and we look at it together.
I promise not to spy when she isn’t around and she promises not to ever delete anything. We discuss it all together and we do it often so it doesn’t seem like I am picking on her. It has become a natural habit for us.
Some parents find it an invasion of privacy to monitor their child’s communications online. This is why I disagree: nothing done online is private and it is important your child understands this. DM’s are not the same as a personal person to person communication. Once it is typed it is public. It can be copied and shared in an instant.
To be honest this is the lesson I am most worried about. It is easy for me, a 40-something adult to forget that my communication isn’t sacred online.
The last and most exciting thing I did was reach out to my friends involved in #1000speak. The group, made up of people of all nationalities who focus on compassion, has grown into a chorus of voices intent on inspiring the world. They have agreed to make BUILDING FROM BULLYING their topic for March 20th. If you haven’t heard of #1000 speak please join us. If you need a place to post a story then visit HERE. You can also join the other bloggers on FB HERE.
EVEN WHEN YOU AREN’T SURE ANYONE IS LISTENING
YOUR VOICE MATTERS