JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In honor of National Bullying Prevention month, a local program is hosting several safety events, drawing attention to bullying and other types of child abuse.
About 100 people showed up at the University of North Florida Saturday to listen to several speakers give advice on how to not only talk to your kids about bullying, but also how to prevent it.
Lynn Layton works with the Monique Burr Foundation's Child Safety Matters Program, which focuses on ways to prevent bullying and abuse.
“So many times, we don't have those conversations with our kids,” Layton said. “They need to know standing up for that victim, or befriending that person, is part of your culture as a family, and it is something you stand for and you can make a difference.”
It's a conversation some people have difficulty with, but Richard Guerry, from Camp iRock, said the reality is that children need to know about bullying, especially in a world of technology.
"Our goal is basically to change behavior,” Guerry said. “Our goal is to change the way people think of technology, and help them use it to their advantage and show them the world can be beautiful.”
Much of the focus at the event was on social media and how it can become a breeding ground for bullies. Part of that is because kids don't understand the consequences of their actions.
“We've passed out some of the most powerful tools on the planet to everyone, but forgot to give a uniform guideline to people on how to use it,” Guerry said. “Think about giving a book of matches to people, but not teaching fire safety.”
Monique Burr Foundation offers programs at no cost to kids in kindergarten through grade six in schools throughout Florida.
There will be another child safety event at UNF Wednesday at 11:30 a.m.