It’s Up to U! By Jeremy Kalbstein – Empowering Children to be Upstanders

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I was a happy letter.

I would do art with A and play on the monkey bars with M. But most of the time, I would play alone. One night, N posted an embarrassing image online. I logged out and went to bed not feeling so happy.

Sometimes things happen online that are difficult for young people to cope with.

It’s Up to U! encourages young people to be upstanders and make the online experience a positive one for those around them.

This is the synopsis for our E-Learning Coordinator, Jeremy Kalbstein’s latest book which speak about online safety, the effects of cyberbullying and the merit of being an upstander.

 

So, What is Cyberbullying?
Children are increasingly connecting online, they are playing games, chatting to friends, using social media or using it as a learning tool. They are also entering this digital world much younger than ever before. This means the risk of cyberbullying taking place could also escalate. Cyberbullying is using technology to hurt someone intentionally and is usually repeated behaviour. It can have the same effect as verbal or physical bullying even though the bully is hiding behind a screen, in turn this can often make it easier for them to act in this particular way. 

According to Kids Helpline, cyberbullying can include: 

  • Sending/sharing nasty, hurtful or abusive messages or emails 
  • Humiliating others by posting/sharing embarrassing videos or images 
  • Spreading rumours or lies online 
  • Setting up fake online profiles 
  • Excluding others online 
  • Repeated harassment and threatening messages (cyberstalking) 

Children who are being bullied can find ways to protect themselves, whether it is telling the bully it’s not okay, blocking them or reporting them. Although this is the ideal approach that we would hope for a child to take, it is also an unlikely one. For someone who is the target of bullying, it is normal for their confidence to drop making it less likely for them to speak up. It is a lot more difficult for a victim to get out of the situation, so this where ‘It’s Up to U’ stand up for them.

Be an Upstander, NOT a Bystander
An onlooker or bystander is someone who witnesses the bullying or cyberbullying in action, they either join in, laugh at it or ignore it completely. A bystander is most commonly someone who stands by and watches… and who does and says nothing. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. It is sending a message to the bully that their behaviour is acceptable. Instead of being a bystander, try to help and support the person being bullied… be an upstander and stand up to the cruelty.  

 

It’s Up to U!
Last week our Principal, Mark Robertson had a chance to speak with Jeremy Kalbstein about his upcoming book ‘It’s Up to U!’ which captures the importance of upstanding through a clever play on words and vibrant colourful illustrations.  

This story talks about how being in an upstander takes: 

  • Courage 
  • Action 
  • Compassion 
  • Leadership 

Someone becomes an upstander by: 

  • Telling the bully to stop 
  • Getting others to stand up to the bully with them 
  • Helping the victim 
  • Reporting on them/Telling an adult 

‘It’s Up to U’ encourages children and teens to make positive online experiences for everyone and empowers onlookers to speak up. By being courageous and creating a global community of upstanders, we can take a step towards preventing bullying in the future.  

You can watch the interview below, and find out more about why Jeremy chose to write ‘It’s Up to U”, what the purpose the book is and  how it can play a vital role in supporting children to be responsible digital citizens. You will also hear about what Jeremy has planned next for his writing.

It’s Up to U will be available September 1st, yet you can pre-order now through the following websites: 

Angus & Robertson

Amazon

Booktopia

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