Building a Kindness Movement

To stop bullying, a new social media campaign asks us to start with kindness

By Leah Shafer, on October 14, 2015 11:02 AM
Building a Kindness Movement: To stop bullying, a new social media campaign asks us to start with kindness #hgse #usableknowledge @harvarded

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. This year, in addition to trying to “stomp out” or “fight” bullying, why not also try for something more positive: Why not start with kindness?

#StartWithKindness is a bullying-prevention social media campaign launched by Making Caring Common (MCC), a project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The campaign is asking teachers, parents, mentors, and young people across the country to pledge to act with kindness for the month of October and beyond. By starting with kindness, organizers say, we lay a foundation of respect and shared responsibility, building strong communities where bullying is less likely to take root. 

#startwithkindness: a bullying-prevention social media campaignThere are plenty of ways for kids, parents, and teachers to get involved — and plenty of organizations and people who already have.

  • Every day, Making Caring Common is posting a new daily kindness challenge on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. The challenges are simple tasks, such as “Give something away for free (compliments and hugs count!)” and “Learn something new about someone.”
  • Follow the campaign and share your acts of kindness on social media with #StartWithKindness
  • Create your own acts of kindness. Tell and show MCC what kindness looks like with your own #StartWithKindness posts.
  • Change your social media profile photo to show your support.
  • Follow #StartWithKindness campaign partners on social media. City Year and Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) are just two of the organizations that have partnered with MCC to make #StartWithKindness a success.

To read more about the value of empathy, follow MCC’s Tumblr blog for stories by educators and nonprofit leaders about impactful kind acts. The stories offer first-hand perspectives on how to nurture caring communities and compassionate young people.

So far, as part of the campaign, Facing History and Ourselves has used #StartWithKindness to remind students to stand up to inequality in their everyday lives. GenerationOn has described how middle school students in Miami collected more than 1,000 books, decorated them with kind words, and then donated the books to children in low-income areas. Educational psychologist Michele Borba has written about how parents can help turn small acts of kindness into a lifetime habit for their children.

Let us know in comments and on social media: How will you #StartWithKindness?

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