We are not the first to look at kindness and online giving as a possible solution to cyber bullying. But before we start digging deeper, lets start with the facts. Cyberbullying is a rapidly increasing problem with our kids and with adults. In 2020 we saw an increase in cyberbullying which means it is not going away.
We have a problem, and there are no easy answers to the issue. What we do know is that bullying back online is not the answer. If you push back online you will have more cyberbullying happen. So what can we do? How can we start to address this issue cyberbullying and online harassment. I am going to throw this out there, online giving.
So what if we tried this. Research shows that showing compassion, empathy, and kindness will help diffuse online harassment. Building these qualities for the harassed and the bullied also decreases the negative affects of the actions. But we need to build empathy, compassion, and wellbeing from the very beginning. Bullies bully as many have low self esteem, are bullied themselves, and a lack of wellbeing.
So how can we do this. How can we build a greater sense of compassion, empathy and greater wellbeing in our communities, schools and societies?
What we all can do is start decreasing the risk of bullying and harassment is start a habit of kindness and small acts of giving. When you look at the research on happiness, giving every day to others changes us. If we have the right emotional tools, we can understand that a cyber bully has their own wellbeing issues, that their bullying and harassment is a larger issue than us. If we all start learning about empathy, compassion and kindness at a younger age, we might stop soon to be bullies from falling into that path.
The 365give Challenge will start off a habit of every day giving. But can we do any online giving when cyber bullying is taking place? Here are some ways you can give online when cyberbullying is happening to someone you know.
No one should ever take on a bully, but you can support those who are being harassed. Taking on a bully is dangerous, and these actions should be reported to parents, the authorities, or an adult if you are younger. Our empathy, compassion and giving will be best served if given to the one who is experiencing the harassment.
Speak Up and Support The Bullied – With personal messages, or a phone call, talk to your friend who is being bullied. Let them know you saw what happened, and that it is not okay what happened.
Listen To Your Friend Who is Being Bullied – Listening to how someone feels, or the experience they are going through is one of the greatest gives you can complete. This empathetic action will help your friend think through how best to report the incident.
Share Links About Cyber Bullying On Social Media – Educate others about cyberbullying and online harassment. The more we post about this unacceptable behaviour, the more people may think twice before they decide to be hurtful to others.
Teach The Bullied How to Block Harassers From Their Online Accounts – Not all of us know the ins and outs of removing people from our online presence. Work with the bullied to block the harasser from their email, telephone, social media accounts.
Share Positive Online Messages – You can use social media for social good. Create change through example, positive online posting, and ways to share responsible social media use.
We are big supporters of Social Emotional Learning in Schools. When kids learn at an early age how they feel, why they feel a certain way, and how to recognize emotions like unhappiness, fear, sadness, loneliness and anger, they can deal with their emotions in more appropriate ways. Bullying, whether it be in person or online, comes from a dark place that the person bullying may not understand. Social Emotional Learning helps us to recognize that dark place and reach out for help. All of us need that at any age, and learning it early as kids will help us grow into adolescents and adults and a higher EQ.
When people have the ability to show compassion and empathy, they do find the world a bit easier to navigate. Adding the ability to recognize our emotions, both good and bad, will also help us to identify when we may need some help from others. Check out the benefits of giving when done every day at home as a family. Starting your giving ritual at home will help all family members.