3 MORE THINGS you can do to stop bullying
‘Many of the families we feature on our network are different on the surface – whether they are little people or are raising a transgender teen – and have been bullied because of it,’ says Nancy Daniels, president of TLC TV network. Jen Arnold, star of The Little Couple, says, ‘We want people to know they are not alone and they do not have to tolerate being picked on.’ Here are three wise words of advice to help protect yourself – use them and feel empowered.
HAVE THE TALK EARLY ‘Lots of parents don’t understand that even really young kids encounter online negativity,’ says Lauren Coaxum, 22, who, with her younger sister, started Think Before You Type in 2012 ( www. thinkbeforeyoutypeinc.org). ‘Maybe they’re watching a harmless YouTube video on your phone, then they scroll down, and now they’re witnessing someone being cyberbullied. You want to be the one to introduce the topic and tell them it’s wrong and what to do before they stumble upon it.’ ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILD’S SCHOOL TO USE THIS APP STOP!T, an app that lets students report bullying anonymously, is now being rolled out in South Africa, after enormous success in the US, Canada, Singapore and Australia. Once a school has subscribed to the app, children are able to download it, allowing for two-way anonymous communication between a learner and an administrator. ‘We are extremely proud to be able to bring a much-needed solution to SA’s schools,’ says Warren Hickinbotham of Blankpage Publishing. DO WHAT YOU KNOW IS RIGHT
In 2003, John Halligan’s 13-year-old son, who’d been bullied for years, took his own life. Halligan says too many parents ignore the rules around minimum age for joining social-media sites. For Facebook and Instagram it’s 13, ‘but there are 10-year-olds on them who aren’t mature enough to use them responsibly,’ says Halligan. No matter how much your kid begs, ‘don’t give in because everybody else is [giving in]. It sends the message that it’s okay to lie online.’