At seven years old Cady has already had her first experience with bullying. It started when she was in preschool and continued into the after school and summer program when she was in kindergarten. It was constant teasing and ugliness with some back and forth manipulation thrown in for an extra kick of mean girl fun.
Cady you’re ugly.
We don’t want to be friends with you anymore.
If you bring a stuffed animal you can be in our club.
Oh no, we meant a stuffed cat and you have a dog. You can’t be friends with us.
Every single day it was something. I worked with Cady and gave her tips for how to deal with this type of behavior, but it was hard for her. Cady is a “why can’t we just all be friends” type of personality, whereas I’m a “screw you if you don’t want to be my friend” personality. After we exhausted every possibility of bettering this situation and realized the school could not (or would not) do anything, we moved to a new daycare.
Earlier this year the little girl that did the worst of the bullying was on our softball team. Cady and I were both dreading repeats of the behavior. Fortunately nothing happened, but we did get some insight into why her behavior was so nasty. She was treated that way at home. After one particularly nasty game Cady told me, “Mom I feel sorry for H, and now I know why she’s like that. Her grandparents are so mean to her. I feel sorry for her.” It was a good lesson for both of us.
One good thing that came out of this is that Cady can not stand to see someone else being bullied. Her kindergarten teacher told me, “Cady has no problem standing up for what she sees as wrong.” I love that about her, and I hope she always has that courage to stand up what she feels is right.
Recently I was asked to review the Awesome Upstander app for the iPad, iPhone, and Android market. Awesome Upstander is an app designed for elementary age children to teach them how to stand up to bullies in a safe and positive manner. Here is a little more information from the developer:
The game reinforces the concept of respecting and protecting others. Learning these skills during the elementary years will diminish the severity and frequency of bullying during the middle-school and high-school years when it is at its peak.
Awesome Upstander! empowers kids to take action by getting help from peers and adults. It combats the “code of silence,” which allows bullying and other bad behaviors to continue to occur because children have been conditioned “not to tell.”
I downloaded the app to my iPad, and after I had played with it to check it out, I handed it over to Cady. I thought the game was fun. The levels are challenging enough to keep it interesting, but simple enough that the younger kids can play, and the graphics were awesome. I asked Cady what she thought:
I thought the game was really fun. I like how it gives you tips on how to stand up to bullies.
Tips like what?
Like to ask your friends to help you or to call a grown up when you need help.
Do you think this would be a fun game to play all the time?
Oh yeah. Can I keep playing?
You can get more information about the app by visiting the website, which has resources for parents and teachers, or the community page. You can also follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. During October 50% of the proceeds from all app sales will be donated to their supporting partners who are working to put an end to bullying.
Every day 160,000 kids miss school because of the fear of being bullied. Let’s work together to see if we can improve that.
Disclosure: I was provided the app for free to review it, but was not compensated in any other way. All opinions in this post are my own. Or Cady’s.