This month we’re delighted to have Prevent Child Abuse America as our guest blogger. In honor of National Bullying Prevention Month we’ve invited them to discuss Unity Day, a day for all Americans to show their support for all of the children who are bullied every year.
Wednesday, October 19 is Unity Day, a day for all Americans to unite around the ideals of kindness, acceptance and inclusion to stand up for bullying prevention. Sponsored by the PACER Center, Unity Day is a chance to visibly show your support for the estimated 13 million children who are bullied every year.
It’s easy to participate! The number one way to show your support on Unity Day is by wearing orange. Whether it’s as simple as a bracelet or as all-out as an entire outfit, wearing orange on Unity Day is a visual symbol that you support efforts to end bullying. There are also badges you can use on your social media profiles to show your support. But while wearing orange is a great way to show support, there are other actions that you can take – on Unity Day and beyond! – to help prevent bullying in your neighborhood or school.
Tips to Help Prevent Bullying and Peer Abuse for Parents and Students
The number one way for a parent to prevent and stop bullying is communication. Only by knowing what is actually going on in your child’s life can you make a difference. If you’re a parent or caregiver, make sure you’re asking your child the right questions. Instead of a question like “how was your day,” consider asking questions that encourage a longer conversation. Questions like “What was the best thing that happened today?” and “On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your day? Why?” can help give parents and caregivers more insight into what is actually going on with the children you care for.
If your child does disclose that they are bullied, make sure they understand that it is not their fault and that they did the right thing by telling you. Learn the facts and be sure to speak with school administration so they can monitor the situation and prevent future incidents.
If you are a student who wants to be an ally or a parent of a student, the best way to help prevent or stop bullying is by showing kindness and inclusion to fellow students and by choosing to be an “upstander” instead of a bystander in bullying situations. A great way to do this is with the new app SitWithUs.
Designed by 16-year-old Natalie Hampton, the idea behind the app is simple: if you don’t have someone to sit with at lunch, SitWithUs will help that lonely student find a place to eat, and instead of sitting alone, it gives them the chance to find and connect with new friends.
This app is a perfect example of the ideals behind Unity Day, and helps prevent bullying in one of the most common areas for bullying to occur – the lunchroom. While currently only available for iPhone, we thought the app was such a great idea that, alongside our bullying prevention partner Chartwells K12, we are funding the development of the app for Android, giving more parents and students access and increasing opportunities to exhibit the kindness and inclusion that helps prevent bullying situations.
For more ideas on what you can do to prevent bullying, check out our website or visit the PACER Center for more information on Unity Day. We hope you’ll join us on Wednesday and stand up for bullying prevention!