Editor’s note: The following clip discusses mature themes and includes some NSFW language
“I blocked them.”
That simple sentence was music to my ears. My daughter was explaining how she put a stop to some subtle bullying that she was the victim of while playing a popular online game.
It wasn’t anything too bad, just some kid being obnoxious and bugging her. But it was enough for her to know it was wrong.
What sucks is that she is already experiencing this — the beginnings of cyberbullying — at the tender age of eight, but what rules is that she is able to recognize it and put a stop to it.
Cyberbullying has become part of our children’s culture. As much as I hate writing that, it’s true.
When we were kids, the only tools that bullies had were words and fists. But today they have so many more weapons in their arsenal, virtual objects that leave longer-lasting scars, such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Kids in the House recently produced an incredibly moving and poignant video, #EndBullying, about the effects of cyberbullying on our kids. You can watch it above.
Would I let my 8-year-old watch it? Not yet. Honestly, the content is too mature and the pain is too raw. But will I tell her what I learned from watching it? Yes. Hells yes.
In the two-and-a-half-minute clip, teens and tweens share their own experiences with online abuse, the insults and cruel comments, all delivered with a brutal honesty that will send shivers up any parent’s spine.
“They made me feel just like what they said, that I was worthless and I had no reason to live,” one girl confessed. Another teenager spoke of how she would cut herself thinking that one day she would have enough courage to slit her wrists.
These are heartbreaking, completely and utterly devastating stories from kids who have been hurt by their peers.
One frame in the video states aptly that “words kill.” An estimated 4,400 young people take their own lives each year, and though obviously all are not due to bullying, it’s safe to assume that it is a contributing factor in many of these deaths.
This #EndBullying video should be required viewing for the teen and tween set. It speaks directly and bluntly to those who have been bullied and will, hopefully, make those who have engaged in their own form of bullying realize just how much damage they can cause.
Perhaps most poignant in the video, for me, is the hope that this culture of bullying can be stopped.
We must empower our kids. Don’t let them become victims. We have to start having this conversation with them now, years before they have their own social media footprint, not later.
We want them to step into the world with the confidence, knowledge, and tools to deal with the bad stuff that might come.
While my own daughter isn’t old enough to watch the clip, she is fully aware of online bullying. It’s a topic that is hard to avoid and something that should never be ignored.
She has yet to know the depths of devastation it can cause, and I hope she never does. But if she is confronted with it, I want her to come to me, go to her teachers, empower herself to take a stand — and not let the bullies win.
Let’s all come together to #EndBullying. Are you with me?More On