Disclaimer – This International Stop Cyberbullying Day post was written in partnership with TELUS for their #EndBullying initiative. All thoughts and opinions expressed on this blog are honest and my own.
Growing up, I wanted to keep up with all the latest trends and be cool like my friends. I wanted to have the cool Hypercolor t-shirt, the acid wash jeans that we’d roll or pin at the bottom. I had to have the big hair, the perms, the crimped hair, the Sun-In hair, the mile high teased bangs (that you HAD TO use French Formula hairspray for), the Converse shoes, the jelly shoes, frosted pink lipstick, and blue eyeliner. If you didn’t have those, you weren’t fashionable. If you weren’t up to date with fashion, you weren’t cool.
TELUS asked me to find one of my most awkward childhood photos, and I found this!
I had super straight, shiny jet black hair. I begged to get my hair permed so I could get big hair! This photo was from grade 7. That was the year I got a retainer and eye glasses, though I don’t have a single photo of me wearing either! I must have taken them off for all my photos. Granted, I only needed glasses to see the chalkboard in class, so I likely didn’t wear them often.
I sometimes wonder if I would have gotten bullied if I had to wear glasses and braces all the time or if I didn’t wear the same kind of clothes everyone else wore. If I were a stand out kid, would I have been bullied?
I was never bullied as a kid, but knew some kids who were. It was devastating to see what bullying could do to a kid, and that was before the use of smartphones and social media. Now bullying is often taken online and not just in person.
A message to my #YoungerSelf would be to not be afraid to go against the grain and that it’s great to stand out and be your own person. Be kind. Be helpful. Make sure to do the right thing, no matter how hard that may be. Goofy perms, big hair, acid wash jeans, silly sweaters are trends. Being kind and doing the right thing by others is always in fashion.
Cyberbullying happens more than we may realize.
The teen years are often challenging to navigate. Many feel pressure coming from everywhere. Pressure to be a good student, have lots of friends, excel at sports, etc. Young people want to fit in and be part of a group of friends. Back when I was in high school, we faced similar challenges to what teens go through now, but we didn’t have smartphones or the internet, or social media.
Did you know cyberbullying affects one million Canadian kids every month?
I didn’t realize how high the statistics were.
I think of my own young child and though she is still too young to have her own social media accounts, in a few years, she will likely be on social media actively.
This video of Amanda Todd’s mom shared a message to parents that we should not be afraid of technology, and that it’s part of our life and it’s here to stay.
We need to have conversations about tech (games, apps, online safety) as a normal part of life. Trust and communication are so important.
We need a safer world online
I want to help create a positive and friendlier world online. I took the TELUS Wise Digital Pledge. For every pledge taken, TELUS will donate $1 to support #EndBullying programs across Canada.
I honestly believe that together, we can end bullying.
Will you take TELUS’ Digital Pledge to help create a positive, friendlier world online and put an end to cyberbullying?