16 Sep 2016
Back to School with Bullying Ends Here
This summer has flown by, and what a summer it has been for Bullying Ends Here! Just last week, I traveled to Amsterdam Netherlands to present the program to 400 law enforcement delegates from around the world. This also signaled the first time that the program had been presented outside of Canada’s borders. What a humbling experience to say the least. Given there were delegates from 25 different Countries, there were four translators available to translate all that I said into four languages. I have no idea how they kept up to me!
The feedback was tremendous and there are unofficial invitations now for Australia, France, New Zealand, the UK and US. Now I just have to find a way to make all of this work while still recognizing we have much work to do right here in Canada of course!
With that said, and with the new school year just a few weeks old, I thought it the best time to offer some tips to prepare your child for the upcoming school year.
Back to school can be a very difficult time for youth. The uncertainty of the new year, the high expectations set by parents, the challenges of knowing where they will fit in and of course, bullying.
This is the ideal time to sit down with your child and have real discussions about kindness, compassion and explaining how everyone is unique in their own way. Turn the TV off, set your phones aside and create a safe environment to speak in. Speak openly and honestly. Let them know the importance of reaching out and speaking up if they see something negative or if something happens to them. Reassure them that they can come to you anytime to talk. Educate your child on how our words can have serious consequences if they aren’t used appropriately.
Lastly, speak about how to use the internet responsibly, in particular social media. For the younger students, I always recommend that an adult do periodic checks to ensure everything is appropriate. I realize that some think that this might ‘infringe on privacy’, but the reality is that times are different now. Our kids are using the internet to attack and be attacked. There is very little social media safety taught in schools and what is said on the internet is there forever. This is the time to ensure the internet is being used properly. We teach kids to drive a car. We restrict the movies they can see or games they can play, yet we give them the key to the cyber world without any direction at all. We all play a role in keeping our kids safe.
As always, I am always here to email if you have any questions. The website also has dozens of resources available to help with any social media questions you might have.
I trust your summer has gone well and I look forward to coming/returning, to a community near you this school year.