National Bullying Prevention Month: Be An Awesome Upstander Against Bullies

 My 10-year-old checks out the Awesome Upstander! game app on my Android phone. The app is available for just 99 cents and is a great way to open up the dialogue about bullying with your kids.

I’ll never forget the first time I witnessed my little girl get bullied. It broke my heart.

My older daughter, Miss C, was 5 years old and we were heading to our car after a fun afternoon at a neighborhood playground. A mom was pulling out of the driveway when her daughter, who looked to be about 5 or 6 as well, shouted meanly out her open car window toward my daughter …”Baby!” To this day I will never forget how that one small world hurt my daughter’s feelings.

Let’s face it, kids can be cruel. There are many things for kids to look forward to about school, but bullying is not one of them. What if we taught our kids to stand up to bullying and not stand silently by? It would be, in a word, awesome.

What if a fun game app was developed to help teach young kids to stand up to bullies? Even more awesome!

I had the opportunity to review Awesome Upstander!, the first ever anti-bullying game app, with my girls on my Android phone as well as on our iPad (and it’s available for download on iPhone, too, of course!)

The game is fun and engaging and takes kids through several levels. Awesome Upstander! opens with giving players’ the option of choosing their character and the game begins in the school cafeteria. Both my girls, ages 7 and 10, enjoyed playing it AND there’s a burping sound effect so it has that touch of gross factor that kids love. (Come on parents…you know what I’m talkin’ about!) During October, which is National Bullying Prevention Month, 50% of all sales of the Awesome Upstander! app will be donated to anti-bullying partner organizations Kind Campaign and Truth Locker.

Here’s a pretty frightening statistic — each day 160,000 kids are bullied at school. What if parents encouraged their kids to stand up to bullying? It could start a pretty awesome change for good.

The Awesome Upstander! website features great resources for parents and provides tips for opening up the conversation about bullying (and there are also helpful tips for teachers):

  • When talking to your kids about their day, be specific. Instead of asking “How was your day?” ask “Who did you play with, and what did you do the playground?” Your child’s explanation may lead to more details and anecdotes about their social life and about bullying.
  • Let kids play: Don’t over-schedule your child, especially if they are 5-12 years old. Kids need time for free play since this is how they work out their emotional issues. It is especially important to balance work and play during this crucial time when they are transitioning from the summer to school.
  • Reassure your child that he or she can talk to you. It’s important to teach children “to tell” when something happens that might be harmful. Often adults tell kids not to tattle tale, yet this may keep some children from reporting important information. Communicate with your child that telling on a bully is not tattling.

Bullying isn’t just isolated to kids, though. I love this post by blogger Julie Marsh and her thoughts about television news reporter Jennifer Livingston being criticized for being overweight on air by a viewer. Julie writes, ” I applaud Livingston for her poise and composure, as well as the message she delivered extremely effectively: What we as parents do and say is internalized and repeated by our children.”

Want to hear what other bloggers are saying about this app? Visit the Awesome Upstander! community microsite.

What conversations have you had with your kids about bullying? Have your kids ever been bullied? Elementary school is a great time to get the dialogue going. Remember, our words are a powerful compass that guide how our kids will deal with, and treat, others. Teach kindness, compassion, and empathy.

Disclosure: I am working with Awesome Upstander! to help spread the word about the game as a consultant. As always, all opinions expressed on my blog are all my own.

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