Everywhere I look, I see more news about Yik Yak. After further investigation, I have changed my mind about the dangers of Yik Yak. Yesterday, I asked one of my students in our anti-bullying groups about it. What was the student’s reaction to this app? To my surprise she answered, "Yik Yak is just another app!" She is right, but the news is covered with stories and warnings about this app. Psychologist, book authors, bloggers, and parents are sharing their concerns. Yik Yak seems like a scary new app that might destroy our children. However, when you ask the students themselves, they could care less about it.
This makes me wonder if we often lack in social media savvy and dump all our thoughts on eliminating an app. This statement is debatable. I would say that knowledge is power, but hunting down Yik Yak won't solve the problem. If students start drama, conflict, or bully online, they are also doing it face-to-face. Yik Yak is just another medium. Did parents look at Whisper lately? That app is similar, but for some reason did not get all the press that Yik Yak is getting. So instead of obsessing over apps, why don't we focus on what we can do. Below are some strategies we share with parents to help reduce the drama, conflict, relational aggression, and bullying.
- Develop a Student Bully Prevention School Council – A PTA, LSC, or PTO might have more power in starting these councils. Having a student council develop procedures reduces bullying in schools and at home. This council can also be responsible for teaching adults about current apps and social media sites.
- Be a Role Model – Modeling the behavior is the best way to teach. In one of my parent presentations, I had a parent whisper and text the ENTIRE time I talked. Would that parent be upset if her/his kid did the same behavior? As adults, we need to think about our actions and what our kids are seeing. If you text at the table or while your spouse is talking, do you expect your kids to not do the same when you talk to them?
- Clubs and Activities – Clubs and activities can give your child other opportunities to develop skills in the activities they like to do. This also develops your child’s emotional intelligence and social skills. More time interacting, less time online surfing!
- Parental Involvement – Get involved in your child's school or ask teachers what you can do to be more active. Teachers would love more engagement and it is a way to spot the problem sooner if bullying, drama, or conflict occurs.
- Build a Culture of Acceptance – Creating an open culture of acceptance in your home can help your child with empathy, understanding, and embracing differences. If you are constantly judging “Susie's mom”, your kids will also judge their peers.
- Assess the Environment – Understanding how or where bullying may take place can help you understand how to protect your children.
- Be Consistent – Consistency is key! Whatever strategies you decide to use- just be consistent. If your approach is not maintained, it can create confusion or doubt.
These are some of our strategies to add into your parent toolbox.
Until Next Time...
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