Posts Tagged ‘ Girls ’

Campaign Teaches Girl-to-Girl Kindness

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Girls sitting togetherWhen I think back on my elementary and middle school years, I have a lot of fond memories of female friendship, from camping as a Brownie Scout to watching movie marathons at sleepovers. But there are also several instances that, to this day, make my cheeks burn in shame: not befriending a girl my first grade class had ostracized, using the (then) newfound power of the internet to mock a classmate, and hurling words at my sister that I knew would hurt the most. While in a literal sense, I knew better than to do those things, I didn’t fully comprehend the pain I caused, and similarly, I don’t think girls that gave me grief understood the power of their words and actions either.

The Kind Campaign hopes to bring some awareness to this issue of “girl-on-girl crime,” the name-calling, rumor-starting, and threat-making behavior girls these days have to deal with. The campaign is a nonprofit movement with a documentary and school assembly program that  has a simple but powerful goal: encourage girls to be kinder to each other.

The initiative was launched in 2009 by Lauren Paul (wife of Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul) and Molly Thompson, Pepperdine University film grads who were both victims of girl-on-girl bullying. Since the program’s inception, the women have visited over 450 schools to screen the documentary and spread the KIND message, and this year, they are offering their program to Title 1 schools for free.

What’s interesting to me about the Kind Campaign is that it doesn’t condemn “mean girls.” The campaign site has a forum where girls share stories of painful experiences, apologize for hurting others, and pledge to end female bullying. The feature gives all girls, who have likely played both the role of aggressor and victim at some point, an opportunity to realize they’re not alone and to repent for an experience that has caused a guilty conscience.

Parents can share the campaign’s message with their kids by introducing them to the campaign website’s forum and Kind Cards (online messages of thanks to others). To spread the message to your local community, you can host a screening of the Finding Kind documentary, request a program visit to your child’s school, and encourage the formation of girls’ Kind Clubs.

Back to School: Dealing With Meanness and Bullying
Back to School: Dealing With Meanness and Bullying
Back to School: Dealing With Meanness and Bullying

Image: Girls sitting together (Shutterstock)

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Google Can’t Confirm Your Child’s Beauty and Intelligence

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

It’s not too surprising that the comments section of a New York Times opinion piece entitled “Google, Tell Me. Is My Son a Genius?” served as the arena for a recent battle of the sexes.

The article explored the results of an informal study of parents’ Google searches, concluding that questions involving intelligence are more likely to be asked in regard to boys (“Is my son gifted?”), while questions relating to appearance are more likely to be asked in regard to girls (“Is my daughter beautiful?”).

Mother on Tablet Computer

It’s discouraging to note that even in 2014, our culture places a woman’s highest importance on her body, and that even in 2014, we are not yet able to resist a good old-fashioned, uh, peepeeing contest when it comes to comparing offspring.

But the article, and its responses, neglects to address a much bigger overarching problem: Why are parents consulting an Internet search engine to substantiate their children’s value?

Say Google confirms your hunch that your son is intellectually gifted, but he doesn’t make the cut for his elementary school’s gifted program. Will you confront his principal? “But the Internet said so.”

And what if Google’s search results suggest that your daughter isn’t as pretty as you think she is? Will you then consult with your little girl? “Sweetheart, I was doubting your societal attractiveness, so I turned to Google for help. We’re going to have to do something about your hair.”

These examples hyperbolize reactions, not actions. We do this. We type our human thoughts and feelings and concerns into a search bar, and we expect human results. But we’re mistaken. Google is a machine that analyzes our words as data, numbers. Children are people, not numbers, so let’s not allow Google to analyze them.

Teach your children that what the Internet says is not what goes. Show them that they need to prove their worth to no one but themselves. Instill your sons and your daughters with the confidence to know that they are talented and gorgeous and wonderful and loved, no matter their gender, and no matter what Google says. Besides, do you really want to explain your search history?

Click here for a family internet use contract, and follow these tips to limit your child’s screen time, and your own.

Digital Devices and Children
Digital Devices and Children
Digital Devices and Children

Image: Mother on tablet computer via Shutterstock

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