"No one should have to feel insignificant" says Anjana Murali, one of generationOn's Kindness Ambassadors. "I believe that it only takes on person to make a positive difference in someone's life."
It can be so easy to make a positive difference, and yet bullying has a direct impact on kids and teens in the classroom and at home. The statistics are startling: 20% of US students, grades 9-12, have experienced bullying, 41% of students admit having witnessed bullying once a week or more, 49.8% of LGBT students admit having experienced cyberbullying and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear from bullying.
The effects of bullying reach far past what numbers can tell us. For all of those who report bullying, there are many more who never say anything.
That's why we're joining kids and teens around the country to take a stand. October is National Bullying Prevention Month and as our Rules of Kindness initiative continues, we're working with amazing young people to help stop bullying and promote kindness, empathy and inclusion.
One such young person is Jessica Brashear of Cave Creek, AZ. On September 16, Jessica met with 60 kids in an after school program at a local elementary school to discuss the definition of kindness and empathy. With her help, the kids were able to create their own rules and write out acts of kindness on notepads with "Being Kind Never Goes out of Style" printed on them. You can read more about Jessica's story here.
Involving kids in activities that talk about being kind and showing you care helps build a strong foundation of empathy. When they learn how to be a good friend, why bullying is wrong and how to stand up for others at a young age, they grow up knowing the importance of being kind. Kids and teens can also practice inclusion and develop new friendships to combat bullying and build a culture of caring in schools and communities.
"Teaching moral courage emboldens children to promote kindness, prosocial behaviors, and avoid bullying, prejudice, and racism" wrote Sheryl Chen, a generationOn Kindness Ambassador. "Not only will it reduce bullying for others, but it will also increase kids' self-esteem, energy, and well-being." In order to spread her message, Sheryl is teaching workshops on the importance of giving back, how to make volunteering a habit and being kind, especially during the holiday season; she is also hosting public events and showcases to entertain kids and families who attend events where she will be distributing toys received as part of the Joy Maker Challenge.
When bystanders intervene, bullying stops within 10 seconds 57% of the time. By standing up for others, kids and teens can help bullies see why bullying is wrong and help victims understand they're not alone.
It can be as simple as leaving an extra seat open at the table or being friendly to the new kid in school. Make one of your rules of kindness to stand up against bullying. Not only will it help make everyone feel included, it will also show them you care.
- Click here to sign up for our Rules of Kindness Campaign!
- Click here for lesson plans on bullying and tolerance from our partner, Learning to Give