For as much as I’m concerned about how my boys do in school and for as often as they’re at some sort of sports practice or game, what I’ve long said is most important to me is that I’m raising kind children. Kindness will last well beyond what grades you got or how many points you scored in a game.
Because kindness is that important to me, I was really eager to read Galit Breen’s Kindness Wins: A Simple, No-Nonsense Guide to Teaching Our Kids to Be Kind Online.
We’ve all seen it- people who say things online that they wouldn’t if they were face-to-face with the person they’re talking about. It happens, even with us supposed grown-ups. Put that same capability in the hands of kids and it quickly escalates.
Cyberbullying wasn’t something we had to worry about as kids. Bullying in school was bad enough and I can tell you right now that if during the terrible second half of my eighth grade year, I hadn’t been able to escape my bullies at the end of the school day, if their words could follow me home via the social media that’s available to our kids now, I don’t know how I ever would have survived it.
But our kids…. they’re in this all-new completely-connected world where it’s not just about what you say to someone’s face at school or write in a note that you folded up to look like a football, but what you say (and what others say) all over social media.
And even for those of us who use social media every day and even for those of us who work in this space, we are still learning what to teach our kids about it. They can use the same social media platforms we do but look at them and interact with them and view them in totally different ways than we ever would.
Kindness Wins describes 10 habits to directly teach your kids about how to be kind online, knowing that our kids are just kids and all can and will make mistakes. Galit Breen’s helpful pointers on what to discuss with our kids provides a practical guide for any parent. Her “Kindness Wins Contract” is one that clearly states expectations for online behavior in a way that’s simple for kids to understand.
Kindness Wins is on sale today and I’d highly recommend it to any parent whose child is on social media or will soon be.
I was provided with a free advanced copy of Kindness Wins, but I was the one who wanted to write about it because I think this is such an important topic.