3. April 2019

Crown Princess Mary ‘likes’ positive friendships online

“I like to use ‘likes’, but I don’t ‘like’ everything …” HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark and 220 children from the after school club at Vibenshus School in Copenhagen sang along when Free of Bullying and children’s rap group HipSomHap presented a new song, Liker (meaning ‘Likes’ in Danish), about being a good friend on the internet.

Children venture online at a young age and many have access to smartphones, social media and online computer games as early as in Grade 2 or 3. But communicating in the virtual world can be tricky when you are a beginner, which is why children need guidance on how to be a good friend online.

This was the message that Free of Bullying and HipSomHap wanted to get across today when they presented Liker – a brand new song aimed at senior primary school children.

“The internet has become a natural part of children’s lives – and much like they need help to decipher the social rules in the school playground, they also need to learn how to be a good friend in online communities,”

said Director of The Mary Foundation Helle Østergaard.

“Many children experience others writing ugly things on social media and some may find themselves sharing pictures online which they come to regret when they are older. We need to help children think about their choices and be good friends in the online universe, even before they venture into it,” said Director, National Program, of Save the Children Denmark, Dorthe Ploug Hansen.

Liker is one of several new Free of Bullying tools being provided to help teachers strengthen children’s social skills and ability to develop positive friendships when they venture into the online world. The materials are aimed at the senior grades in primary school. In addition to introducing the children to the beats in the song, they also include good tips from HipSomHap on how to write their own songs.

The song was presented in collaboration with the after school club at Vibenshus School, which Crown Princess Mary also visited today. The school has been using Free of Bullying in their efforts to strengthen children’s friendships since 2014. Children and adults at the school all focus on practising the four values – tolerance, respect, care and courage. This also happens in the music studio, where the children have performed rap songs about bullying, and through the computer game Minecraft, which teachers use when working with the older children in developing friendships and behaviour online.

“Minecraft is a brilliant tool to work with online development and inclusive communities. The children notice each other as opposed to their differences and have fun together, while at the same time learning to work as a team and – through our focus on the Free of Bullying values – to make good decisions for themselves and their group,” explained the head of the after school club, Thomas Springer.

The Liker song and video are available on HipSomHap’s YouTube channel. The goal is that the cool beat and message about how children need to be supported in how to behave in the digital space will reach a large number of children and their parents.

Free of Bullying’s three top online tips for children: How to be a good friend online

  • Never send messages that could hurt someone’s feelings.
  • Only “Like” positive messages and posts.
  • Only take and send photos and videos of others if they say it is okay.

Free of Bullying’s three top online tips for parents of children who are new to the internet

  • Talk to your child about why Likes feel important and minimise the importance of the number of Likes.
  • Talk about the reasons why it is easier to misunderstand a message or a Like on screen than in real life.
  • Talk about what you can do to be a good friend online.

Source: Free of Bullying

You can find more good tips in the “Der er så meget forældre ikke forstår” (There’s so much parents don’t understand) material published by Medierådet for Børn og Unge (the Danish media council for children and young adults), CfPD and Save the Children Denmark (in Danish only).

Free of Bullying’s three top online tips for professionals in after school clubs and primary schools

  • Facilitate parents in agreeing on which apps the children are allowed to use. Remember that many apps have age restrictions.
  • Remind parents that they need to get involved in which apps their children download and talk to their children about the positive and negative aspects of the various apps.
  • Draw up rules for which apps can be used at the institution/school and talk to the children about how they can use them in a positive way.

Source: Free of Bullying in collaboration with the after school club at Vibenshus School

Free of Bullying

Free of Bullying is an educational tool for professionals working with children aged 0–9.

Free of Bullying is preventative and based on developing the antithesis to bullying: a strong children’s community.

The programme provides a framework for working with the children’s community and makes the children aware of why the four values – tolerance, respect, care and courage – are important, and how to emulate them.

Free of Bullying has been developed based on research that shows bullying is a group phenomenon that arises in children’s groups characterised by low tolerance.

The programme allows for a high degree of flexibility. This enables teachers to develop their own Free of Bullying activities – also in collaboration with the children – with an emphasis on fostering community spirit and the four values. Which is exactly what they have done at the Vibenshus after school club.

In 2018, Free of Bullying expanded its target group to include all pre-primary and primary school children. As a result, new materials have been developed for Grades 2 and 3, including a range of tools aimed at developing children’s digital skills and helping them to form positive communities online.

Free of Bullying:

  • launched in 2007 by The Mary Foundation and Save the Children Denmark;
  • has documented proof that it works;
  • requires that a minimum of two professionals from every institution/school have completed the basic training course;
  • has been developed for professionals in education and can be purchased by childcare facilities, schools and after school clubs;
  • is non-profit. The Mary Foundation and Save the Children Denmark do not make any profit from the sale of materials and courses;
  • is managed with funding from Ole Kirk’s Foundation; and
  • •s currently being implemented in approx. 50% of all preschools and 40% of all primary schools and after school clubs in Denmark.

For more information, visit freeofbullying.com

Authored by:

Simone Bodholt

Other news