Did you know that February 11-17, 2018 is Random Acts of Kindness Week?
This article shares information about PREVNet’s #SpreadKindness campaign. As a key TELUS WISE partner, together, we are working hard to help Canadians rise above cyberbullying and spread kindness online.
The PREVNet #SpreadKindness campaign informs youth on how to develop and maintain healthy relationships. The campaign was designed to help youth engage in positive, prosocial behaviours in all their interactions. The six initiatives within the campaign share the common goal of spreading information about what is acceptable behaviour on – and offline – what to do if you’ve experienced cyberbullying, as well as how to be an active, supportive bystander if you witness someone else being bullied online. Cyberbullying can be a big problem for youth today with more than 40% of youth having experienced it.
The #SpreadKindness campaign was developed by youth, for youth, and is based on scientific evidence. PREVNet researchers provided youth with scientific knowledge about cyberbullying and how it could be effectively addressed. The youth reviewed the science, identified key ideas that would resonate most with young people, and then developed creative ways to mobilize that knowledge in youth-friendly ways. The campaign launched in the fall of 2017, and we are excited to see it start to make a difference!
One of the main components of our campaign was the dissemination of #SpreadKindness bracelets, reminding youth to treat others with kindness while raising awareness about the campaign. Since the launch, we have distributed nearly 9,000 bracelets across Canada! We also launched five other initiatives, including an Instagram page (@SpreadKindness), two video campaigns, a Facebook filter, and an online quiz.
Our hashtag, #SpreadKindness, is active on Facebook and Instagram, and we encourage youth and their families to share their own ideas stories, images, and posts on social media about how to prevent bullying and ways to treat others with kindness. You can also use the Facebook filter by swiping right to use Facebook’s new image capture feature, post to the @spreadkindness Instagram page, or make your own posts and simply use the #SpreadKindness hashtag to be part of the spread kindness team!
Youth and their families are encouraged to share random acts of kindness this week and beyond, and actively spread kindness in their lives and the lives of others. Here are some tips for parents:
- Remember that you are role models for the youth in your lives. Simply modelling respectful and kind behavior, especially in times of conflict, is a great way to be a good influence! Check out our video on the power parents have to be a hero to their kids: https://youtu.be/7FhpjrI1YC4.
- Parents can also have important conversations with youth about how they behave online. A lot of times we have a sense of anonymity when we’re online, and this can lead some people to behave in ways that they never would in the physical world. It’s important for you to remind youth that even though it’s online, behaving in a cruel way to others hurts. Check out our quiz on what is healthy or unhealthy behavior for more information: bit.ly/HR_QUIZ.
- Finally, do your best to keep the lines of communication open with the youth in your lives about what to do if they see inappropriate behavior online. If youth see something online that they think is wrong, they should feel comfortable going to the adults in their lives to get support.
Check out our projects at http://www.prevnet.ca/spreadkindness for more ideas! Helping youth become better advocates for treating others with respect in the real word and online is a great way to #spreadkindness!