Assessing ‘real life’ bullying can be fraught with problems – including the potential to rehash issues that have been resolved - we've all been there!

Using popular movies gives us a neutral way to explore and analyse bullying dynamics, while exploring the many ways we can be an ‘Upstander’ – another word for supporting and be there for others. Watching a movie or any TV show together and noticing scenes that involve bullying (and/or standing up for others), is a great way to talk about it.

It can be good to familiarise ourselves with what being an Upstander is and means. In the classroom version of this activity, we use this worksheet and you may want to also, as a guide.

You may want to check in with your child:

Ask: Who can be an Upstander?

The answer is anyone – because an Upstander doesn’t have to be big and brave, or to show courage all the time. We can all choose to be brave in moments, even if we’re worried or nervous.

Then you'll need to get a movie sorted!

You may have one in mind that has some bullying scenes included. If so, feel free to use it! Tamariki are way more likely to engage in this activity if the movie is popular and relatable or funny.

We love Toy Story 3 and any from the Harry Potter series if this helps!

Once the movie, and this might be the next day, talk about one of the bullying scenes from the movie and see if you can rewrite this to be an Upstander scene instead.

You might also want to re-play a few of the scenes and talk about:

  • Is this bullying?
  • How do we think the character felt?
  • Sometimes we don’t notice bullying because it might seem funny at the time – a running joke – and we choose to not do anything. Is this okay?
  • What Upstanding Actions could we use here?

Upstanding is inside us all, but we may feel more comfortable with some techniques rather than others. The important thing is to do something.

Head to our Parenting Guide for more tips to support your kids with bullying.

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