The last few weeks I’ve seen an advert on TV about protecting our kids from cyber bullying and of course bullying is a regular topic at school, with many schools hosting an entire week of anti-bullying themed activities to teach children what bullying is and how to deal with it. I am grateful that so far this has not been an issue for any of my children and I really hope they never have to deal with it. I was bullied dreadfully throughout school and it was horrendous. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
One thing I have noticed since being a school mum stood in the playground though is the amount of nastiness that goes on amongst the adults. The nastiness from the adults is far worse than the kids and it does make me wonder how some parents think they can protect their children from bullying when they commit such acts themselves.
The website www.bullying.co.uk lists cyber bullying as spreading rumours and gossip, cyber stalking, tricking someone into saying something or sharing someones personal information, exclusion by intentionally leaving someone out of group chats, making nasty or humiliating comments in group chats or online, sharing information that is fake, damaging or untrue. I would be willing to bet that a fair few mums have done at least one of these things. We’ve all seen the charming ‘quotes’ people post all over Facebook. We’ve all wondered ‘is that aimed at me?’
It’s such a shame that we feel the need to rip each other apart, often publicly on social media, instead of sitting down as adults and sorting things out sensibly. How can we expect our children to reason with each other when there is a problem or someone is upset, when we are not setting that example? They overhear the bitching that goes on as you have coffee with the girls. They hear you slagging off that other mum that has perhaps disagreed with you over something. They see you all in the playground and the way you turn away to deliberately cut someone off. They learn from that. And they copy it. And thats what leads to bullying in the school playground. It’s actions like that which lead to people feeling so low they can’t see any other option but to take their own life. It may only be words or a bit of ‘harmless’ gossiping but it can cause the worst invisible scars which never truly heal. It can destroy peoples confidence and self-esteem. And it has to stop.
So please please do me a favour. In fact not me, but your kids. The next time you go to say something unkind about someone else, stop. Think. Think very very carefully. What are the potential effects of saying what you are about to say? How would it affect the person you are talking about or talking to? How would you feel if it was you? Who else will overhear what you are about to say? How will it affect them? Would we want our children to speak about another person like this or behave in this way?
Think about it. Just think.
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