A Must-See for Families: Katie O’Malley’s Anti-Bullying Video Kicks Community into Conversation

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Last week, Katie O’Malley participated in an idea-packed discussion forum around her pet project, stopping bullying, featuring several super knowledgeable (and fairly engaging, even on foggy YouTube) participants, Rosalind Wiseman, author of the New York Times bestseller, Queen Bees and Wannabes, Catherine Hyde, coordinator of Howard County’s PFLAG (Parents Friends Allies for the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community), and Nancy Gippert, project manager for the Family Online Safety Institute or FOSI, an international nonprofit dedicated to making the world safer for families. We commend Judge O’Malley’s diehard dedication to the important cause and we’re proud of our state for passing many anti-bullying laws, including one of the most-aggressive nationally… We recommend the video above, not only because the speakers are smart and it’s fun to watch the chat, but because the simple mission’s so forward-thinking and utterly relevant: to get everybody talking more openly about the topic of bullying, parents to kids, teachers to students, students to their fellow students. Highlights after the jump.

“When you’re bullied because of race, ethnicity or religion, you go home and your parents identify for the most part…but…very few [parents] can identify with the lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender [child] — most parents are straight…” explains Hyde in her introduction. “Twenty-five percent of kids who come out to their parents are kicked out of their homes… It’s very important we empower staff and administrators to intervene.”

Gippert straightaway pitches FOSI’s aplatformforgood.org, “a website for families, teachers and teens, helping to celebrate the many positive things we’re seeing in the online world… [The site’s] not just a light and fluffy experience…” Applying the Social Norms Theory (the idea that people often behave according to mistakenly perceived models of “mainstream or majority normal” behavior around them, the group aims to debunk the media’s notion that bullying is a common, mainstream activity, when it is actually aberrant, not at all the typical decision or gesture. “We can help those kids who are doing the right thing feel confident they are doing the right thing,” Gippert says.

Great specifics. Great cause. Check out the talk for more empowering knowledge.

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