Acceptance – PinkShirt Day February 27, 2013

ACCEPTANCE!

Coming up this week, onpinkshirtday February 27, 2013, is Anti-bullying day, where we can all take a stand,  show our support and Acceptance for everyone in our schools, community, neighbourhood and life! This day is about ACCEPTANCE, and to be who we are, without fear of being judged, bullied, picked on, or excluded.  No one should be bullied by anyone, and they should be accepted as they are, as our Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects us, here in Canada.

15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

Back in 2007, in Nova Scotia, a Grade 9 boy wore a pink shirt to school one day.  He was ridiculed, harassed, called names, and bullied by other students at the school.  They called him a homosexual, and they made his life very difficult and completely unfair.  This sparked a response from other students in the school, who rallied around this boy, all coming to school the next day wearing Pink Shirts in solidarity.  It does not matter what race, gender, sexual orientation, how you look, talk, or act is, it matters who you are, and who you Accept in your life!  We should Accept everyone as they are, and to demonstrate this Acceptance and inclusion, many schools in Vancouver, BC, gathered together recently to create a Flash Mob to show the emotion and power of a large group of passionate people working together to promote Acceptance!

This video highlights that when we all come together, we can make massive changes in the way we treat each other.  We can Accept people as they are, and treat them with respect, caring, and friendship.  We don’t need to judge or put others down to make ourselves feel better.  We can commit to making others feel better by sharing stories of good people, helping others, caring for each other and to include people in our communities, groups and classes.

This lesson and movement is especially important online!  Using social media allows us to connect with ever wider groups and communities online.  It allows us to reach out, and to share with the whole world if we want to.  We need  to claim this online space to make sure it is safe and Accepting as well!  We need to commit to making our online tools and communities more friendly, accepting and free of bullying.  We need to demonstrate positive interactions, telling people nice things, ignoring mean people and mean things online.  Call out bullying when you see it.  Don’t stand by, letting the bully ruin someone else’s life.  Stand up where and when you see any bullying and fight it with caring, positive and friendly advice.  IF we ALL do our PART, bullying could be stopped forever!

Finally, I recommend you watch a very powerful Poem, To This Day Project – by Shane Koyczan a poem about the impacts and struggles that everyone who’s ever been bullied can go through.  This powerful story will tell you why it is so much more hurtful and harmful than you can ever imagine.

So, this year, on this day, Feb 27th, 2013, PLEASE COMMIT to changing the way you interact with everyone in your life, online or not.  Tell people nice things.  Include people in what you’re doing.  Call out bullying and reach a hand out to those you see getting bullied.  Put on your Pink Shirt and begin ACCEPTING everyone in your life for who they are.  It’s the right thing to do!

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SafeBook – How to be Safe on Facebook Infographic

How do you stay safe on Facebook, and other Social Media sites?  This is an essential question that many are asking, hoping to avoid cyber-bullying, identity theft and loss of privacy.  Yesterday, I found this excellent infographic that simply explains some of the key attitudes and behaviours that everyone should use when setting up and interacting on Facebook.  The infographic was designed by Fuzion, a marketing and PR design company that wanted to help educate students on how to use Facebook safely and easily.

Safebook%20-%20online%20guidelines

The Fuzion team have provided this excellent infographic that clearly outlines the best practices and usage of a social media tools like Facebook, with insightful advice, helpful settings, and excellent strategies for dealing with bullies!  They also have some strong advice for parents and teachers, and how they can be involved to help make Facebook and Social Media safer and friendlier for everyone.  There specific advice for parents is:

We owe it to our kids to show them how to:

  • Set up their personal accounts properly

  • Maintain their privacy settings

  • Connect with “friends” safely

  • Think about what they post

  • Post appropriately

  • Spot and deal with inappropriate behaviour

  • “Unfriend” and Block certain users

  • Report Bullying

If you would like to use this poster in your classroom, and to share with your students, parents and wider community, please, visit this page here, as they have a larger PDF version you can print out.  Thanks Fuzion for this wonderful tool that can help educate and make Facebook Safebook!

Making sure you #care when you #share

Recently, on twitter, many BC educators were discussing how to effectivily use Social Media to encourage students, teachers, parents, and everyone else to show more empathy and caring when networking, connecting, sharing and discussing online.  Too often, social media allows others to be mean, or to be inappropriate, to cut others down, rather than building them up.

It started as a conversation between Chris Wejr (@ChrisWejr) and Carolyn Durley (@okmbio) and quickly others jumped in to add their thoughts and ideas and a new hashtag idea came from Michelle Hiebert (@MauiMickey) to start using #CARE  as a hashtag when tweeting to others to show that you #care when you #share.

#care when you #share

By using #care when you tweet (or even facebook) you can demonstrate that you are encouraging positive, empathetic usage of Social Media.  You are committing to demonstrating friendly, positive interactions online where there are no put-downs or bullying, or mean-spirited debate.  You are committing to making the online social media space as friendly and welcoming as you can.  When we all take a little time to interject some posititivity, some friendliness, some caring and some empathy, it helps spread the good vibes and helps everyone feel that they belong.

So please, take a little time to tweet or share something nice about someone special to you, or even a newly connected member of your social network.  Let them know that you #care and that before you #share anything online, you think about its impacts and if it will help those around you!  If we all commit to #care when we #share, the world can become a lot nicer for everyone!

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