Umar Jones, a 10-year-old takes a stand against bullying

Image: Adobe Stock

#SharingPositivity: Here’s how to unite against online bullying and harassment

The #SharingPositivity movement calls on South Africans to stand up against cyberbullying and online harassment.

Umar Jones, a 10-year-old takes a stand against bullying

Image: Adobe Stock

As we are moving towards Anti-Bullying Week, a global awareness drive that takes place from 16 to 20 November each year, the #SharingPositivity movement calls on South Africans to stop this online bullying and harassment.

According to the most recent Global Advisor Survey on cyberbullying, more than one-quarter of South African parents reported that their child experiences cyberbullying. 

TikTok and UNICEF SA will be raising awareness around these cyber issues and are calling on the online community to pledge support to stop such abuse and “Share Positivity”. 

#SharingPositivity: What you need to know

What is the #SharingPositivity movement

The campaign will be focused to reaffirm TikTok and UNICEF SA’s “commitment to offering a safe and positive online environment”. Local comedians will be joining the cause as well.

Local actress and comedian, Nina Hastie, along with other influential online creators will be a part of an edutainment video series “that will drive awareness about bullying and harassment”.

Online dangers

They will also help to educate users on what the community guidelines are, which safety features are available, and which moderation policies can be used to fight against online harassment and bullying.

According to UNICEF South Africa’s Child Protection Specialist Sinah Moruane, “online abuse and exploitation have a devastating impact on the mental, social and physical wellbeing of children and young people”.

“That’s why the #SharingPositivity campaign is so important. It aims to raise awareness of the dangers online and to provide clear guidance to youth on how to stay safe whilst still having fun, learning and connecting with peers”.

Sinah Moruane, UNICEF South Africa

What to do if you are bullied

It’s important to tell someone, no matter how hard it is, and even if the bullying took place online. Many people prefer to stay silent about bullying for fear of coming across as vulnerable or weak.

However, bullying won’t stop unless action is taken. Children who are bullied are encouraged to speak up and also reach out to someone they trust. The same advice also goes for adults who are the victim of bullying.

What to do if you witness bullying

Don’t look the other way and don’t ignore it; most importantly, don’t brush bullying aside if it happens online. Studies have shown that when bystanders interfere, bullying will stop within ten seconds 57% of the time.

That said, many people prefer to remain quiet, perhaps believing that one person cannot make a difference. Popular YouTube content creator, FouseyTube, drove the point home with a bullying experiment.

Watch: FouseyTube’s Bullying Experiment

Don’t be a bystander, not even online.

What to do if you are the bully

In most cases, bullies are being bullied by someone else, and inflicting the same pain another victim is how many people cope. Remember that people who are hurt, hurt others. It’s a vicious cycle.

If you are the bully, talk to a trusted adult about it. If you’ve been deeply hurt by someone that mattered to you, put the mask down and know that you, too, are loved.

How to take part in #SharingPositivity?

You can do get involved by creating a short video to show your support and share it online using the #SharePositivity hashtag. Alternatively, keep an eye out for content from the following creators:

sharing positivity

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