Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Help Fight Bullying with Shaw’s #PinkShirtPromise Campaign #PinkyPromise

I'm sure it's much the same in your home as in mine - our kids are spending more time online than ever before, and are starting at an earlier age.  And it's not just playing games. Homework projects require online research, and our kids communicate with each other through messaging apps and social media. There's a lot of positive about our kids' use of the Internet, but there's a lot of scary stuff too, from encountering content for which they're just not ready, to cyber-bullying, to child luring. It's critical that we as parents keep up-to-date with how our kids are using the Internet, what they're doing online, and with whom they are interacting.

Although we do allow Boo to use the computer without our immediate supervision, we have parental controls in place that block a variety of unsavoury sites, and we get reports on his online activities. He is also aware that I might arrive in his room at any moment, and the monitor must be visible from the door. He knows that he is never to give out his name, age or address to anyone online. And we have frank discussions about the dangers of luring, people pretending to be someone they are not, and "bad people" who might try to take advantage of him. Social media is not an issue with him as of yet. I imagine things might get more complicated as he moves into the teen years, although I hope our solid foundation of open communication will help us through, whether it's online discoveries or nasty bullies we're dealing with.

Bullying is a horrible thing in any case, but today's kids have it a lot harder than we did. I only had to deal with my bully while we were at school. 6 or 7 hours a day for 5 days a week, 9 months of the year. But today the bullying follows kids home. It lurks on Facebook, Snapchat, and various other social channels. It creeps into their phones, into their bedrooms, and it never leaves them alone. The effects can be devastating, or even life-threatening.

Starting today, and running through Pink Shirt Day on February 24, Shaw Communications is asking Canadians to work toward ending bullying by sharing their personal anti-bullying pledges on social media using the hashtag #PinkShirtPromise. Participants can also post a photo of their pinky or a photo of themselves making a pinky promise with a friend or family member using #PinkyPromise, and then nominate three friends to do the same to promote accountability and maintain commitment to the promise.

Here's how it works:

1. Take a photo of your pinky and/or a photo of you and a friend making a pinky promise.
2. Post your #PinkyPromise as the caption of your photo along with the hashtag #PinkShirtPromise.
3. Nominate three friends to do the same on your social media network.


1. Share your #PinkShirtPromise on social media.
2. Nominate three friends to do the same on your social media platform.

Simple, right?

Not only will you be raising awareness about the problem of bullying and the importance of Pink Shirt Day, but everyone who participates in the campaign will be entered for a chance to win an ET Canada Experience, including flights for two to Toronto, two nights hotel accommodation, and a $1,500 dollar shopping spree at a participating shopping centre. You can visit www.shaw.ca/pinkshirtpromise to learn more.

“Bullying is destructive, emotionally damaging, and, in some cases, deadly, and no child should have to suffer from its harmful and negative effects,” said Brad Shaw, Chief Executive Officer, Shaw Communications Inc. “Shaw’s #PinkShirtPromise campaign is a powerful initiative that gives us the ability to work closely with our partners to create safer environments for children and youth –whether at school, at home, or online.”

This campaign is launching today, February 9, 2016, in recognition of Safer Internet Day, an international initiative focused on reducing cyber-bullying and promoting responsible Internet use. In Canada this initiative is supported by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and encourages people to raise awareness about the importance of online safety by tweeting and posting using the hashtags #SID2016 and #Up2Us. Have you seen these popping up? Raising awareness and providing access to resources are both goals of the Centre, and online conversations today and in the coming weeks will work toward achieving these goals.

"The Canadian Centre for Child Protection plays an active part in supporting youth in crisis who have been affected by a sexual picture or video shared online, often in tandem with cyber-bullying. We share Shaw’s #PinkShirtPromise campaign goals in encouraging youth to stand up for someone who is being mistreated or bullied both online and offline.” Lianna McDonald, Executive Director, Canadian Centre for Child Protection
Will you join us in making your own #PinkShirtPromise or #PinkyPromise? I'm going to get Boo involved and use this as another opportunity to talk to him about bullying, and to reinforce the rules we have in place for safe Internet usage.

Many moons ago, on his way to school for Pink Shirt Day.
He made me go buy him a pink shirt for the occasion.

Through the Shaw Kids Investment Program (SKIP), #PinkShirtPromise brings together the expertise, knowledge, and resources of community partners from across the country. Key SKIP partners include Youthlink Calgary, Canadian Centre for Child Protection, Kids Help Phone, MediaSmarts, Companies Committed to Kids, and Rock Solid Foundation.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Shaw Communications. I am proud to be supporting their #PinkShirtPromise campaign, and all opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.

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