When we were growing up bullying used to happen face to face. It was mainly in the form of peer pressure bullying. It was done mostly to your face or behind your back verbally. Trust me I know firsthand as I not only was bullied by a classmate as a young kid, but I also witnessed bullying to others even after that happened to me. Unkind words have immense impact on anyone. Fortunately, I had a very kind teacher who gave me courage to fight back. She taught me to see why the bully was weak. Understanding his perspective and his reasons. You may have heard the saying, “Before you criticize or judge someone, walk a mile in their shoes.” This quote is all about empathy or kindness.
Kids nowadays still must deal with bullying in two folds - in real world and in a virtual environment. Technology has become a new and current avenue for bullying to occur. This type of bullying is known as cyberbullying.
Being bullied is never a fun experience be it online or offline. It hurts the same. Therefore, kindness has never been more needed than it is now. In parallel pandemic has not only opened a new and unknown world of interaction for us and for our children. We are all coming together in online space where the rules, manners and approach is new. But that does not mean the regular rule of interaction like decency, kindness and empathy is not applicable in here. In fact it is much important in online space than in real world. What Aesop said more than 2,000 years ago sums up the basic: “No act of kindness no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
Few easy rules that can keep kindness around and active
· To understand empathy, children can be told to imagine themselves in another person’s shoes with a narrative to help them understand impact of unkind words.
· Help them imagining an internet user as more than a username in reality: that there is a real person with real feelings on the other end of online interactions.
· Applying real world rules involving smiling, waving, eye contact, and welcoming gestures therefore makes all the difference. This will encourage children to both visualize the real people behind computer screens, and to critically consider the nature of their actions and words online.
· Always good resource helps. These days children like learning through gamification. Here Digiworld game can come into play as this is an interactive game that teaches through gamification. It is age appropriate and an interesting activity that can be played together.