Online bullying, like any form of abuse, has been a scourge for mankind for many years now. The only way to fight abuse is for people, especially young people, to come together and understand that everyone – online or in the real world – has the same human rights.
Microsoft has been a longstanding supporter of equality and diversity. Now, the Redmond giant has announced in a blog post that it has joined forces with NoBully, UNESCO, companies, non-profits, and educators, to create a global campaign against online bullying.
NoBully is a US based non-profit organization that trains schools how to activate student compassion to stop bullying and cyberbullying.
The non-punitive No Bully System® has created bully-free campuses for over 100,000 students. It began in San Francisco in 2003 and received non-profit status in 2009.
What you can do to help
In the announcement blog post, Microsoft reminds everyone that it has been combatting online bullying for more than a decade now. The company has conducted research about the issue in several countries and has also created tools and resources to help parents and trusted adults address bullying incidents.
Like mentioned above, the only way to fight bullying and cyberbullying is by understanding equality and accepting diversity. Microsoft provides everyone with a list of things they can do to help in the fight against online bullying:
- “Pay attention. From time to time, ask older kids to take you on a “tour” of what they're doing online. Model positive social behavior and watch for signs of online cruelty. For younger children, sit with them regularly as they play online.
- Encourage empathy. A powerful way to help combat online bullying is to encourage kids to put themselves in others' shoes:
- Help kids support each other by becoming “upstanders.” Encourage them to be kind, set a good example, block bullies, ask bullies to stop what they're doing and tell others immediately when they see bullying online. And adults, don't forget your role as back-up support.
- If a child is the target of online bullying, don't wait to see if the abuse will stop. Get the full story, acknowledge the pain and ask what you can do to help. Then, make the child's answers the basis of a plan to help address the problem.
- If you discover someone exhibiting bullying behaviors, acknowledge the problem (making it clear that it's not OK to bully), and try to understand what happened. If necessary, seek professional help.
- Promote kindness in children's learning and social circles, and again, model that positive behavior among your own friends and family.”
Support safe and civil online behavior
In addition, adults and parents should promote safe and civil online behavior. Microsoft reminds in its blog post the four basic tenets to live by:
- “Live the Golden Rule.
- Respect differences among those with whom you interact online.
- Pause before replying to something you don't agree with, and;
- Stand up for yourself and others.”
Microsoft launched its campaign for digital civility on Safer Internet Day 2017. You can visit the company's Digital Civility website and take the civility challenge by agreeing to live by the aforementioned tenets.
To learn more about the meeting that took place in London, check Microsoft's blog post.