Pia Miranda is no stranger to dealing with online trolling.
The Australian actor and author has a profile, and with that can come a flurry of opinions from complete strangers. But oftentimes, those opinions morph into something far more impactful online – it becomes bullying.
"I've had situations where people have come at me on social media or made comments about my friends online. I've gone down the rabbit hole of thinking, 'Who are these people that are saying really violently terrible things?'" Miranda reflects with Mamamia.
"In one instance, I looked up the profile of a woman who had been bullying me online and found her profile picture was of her two kids with the caption 'Spreading all love, all the time'. It made me think about how these parents are going to teach their children to be better if they're not setting a good example?"
Whether it's an unnecessarily mean comment left on her social media, or a violent and "bizarrely aggressive" message sent to her DMs, Miranda has encountered it all. She says it's impacted the way she parents her own two kids, Lily and James, who are both under 14.
"We really need to change our culture, and put the onus on the bully changing their behaviour. It's a lot easier to be kind – we all have the capacity to start afresh."
Bullying isn't an isolated experience for just Miranda. It's something so many of us have endured. The experts say that one in four Australian students in grades four to nine report being bullied in person every few weeks.
As school holidays are drawing to a close, and the start of the school year arrives, it's an ideal time for families to be having these important conversations about kindness in the schoolyard.