PIA MIRANDA: 'The online bullying that impacted how I parent.'

Thanks to our brand partner, Smiggle

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.


The Australian not-for-profit organisation Dolly's Dream has been leading the way in changing the culture of bullying. The anti-bullying organisation was created by Kate and Tick Everett following the loss of their 14-year-old daughter Dolly to suicide, after ongoing bullying. Kate and Tick's goal is to prevent other families walking this road through education and direct support to young people and families. 

Smiggle has partnered with Dolly's Dream for this back to school year to encourage parents and kids to Choose Kindness

You can visit a Smiggle store and purchase a specially designed Kindness badge or keyring for just $2, with all proceeds going to Dolly's Dream anti-bullying programs. Funds raised go directly to fund Dolly's Dream telephone support line, workshops, Beacon Cyber Safety App and the Parent Hub.

As part of the Kindness campaign, kids can also visit their local Smiggle store and fill out a Kindness Pledge, naming someone they promise to be kind to and how.

Image: Supplied. 


Since the partnership launched in 2020, over half a million Aussie kids have taken a Kindness Pledge. It's a fact that makes Miranda hopeful for the future generation. 

As a Dolly's Dream ambassador, Miranda says that initiatives like this that can start a conversation and make a world of difference.

"It's all about early intervention to remind kids to look out for their friends and classmates. I think seeing the impact of bullying firsthand made me particularly passionate about making change," she notes.


Miranda has seen this tangible impact play out in her own social circles too.

"The other day I had a really good friend texting me about some bullying that had happened to her son. And it was nice to be able to go 'Hey, I'm actually an ambassador for this charity, here is some handy information.' Her son then called the helpline and said it was unbelievably helpful for him."

For parents who are feeling a little overwhelmed about speaking with their kids on this topic, you're not alone. Keeping an open and continuing dialogue is what Miranda says she finds easiest with her own kids. The Beacon App is also a great free resource, providing families with trustworthy, practical resources to help them navigate their kids’ technology use. 

"Following on from lockdowns, my kids had quite a lot of access to phones and social media, and since then I haven't been really able to take that away from them. I'm sure it's something a lot of parents with kids around this age can relate to," says Miranda.


"Although I wasn't prepared for my kids to be so connected online at this age, it's about managing it, having conversations about online etiquette and talking about the impacts of being bullied or bullying someone else online. We also have a no phones in the bedroom rule, as I think it's a little bit safer."

Another big tip from Miranda – aim not to partake in online pile-ons or set any bad examples when it comes to leaving mean comments online. As she notes, what we post online can follow us for a long time. 

She also plans to continue reminding her little ones that whenever they need help or want to talk – she is always there to give them a hug and provide guiding support.


"Something as simple as the choose kindness badge on their school bag, hat, collar, or pencil case can be a really good reminder to be kind throughout the year. It's about starting the new year well by lending a helping hand for those who are having a hard time and standing up for what's right," she explains. "We can all make this the year we stand against bullying."

So if there's one overarching lesson Miranda wants to teach her kids, it's this – choose kindness. 

"I think it's really good for us parents to be honest, as we're still learning. Trying to be better every day, and kinder – that's worth passing down."

Choose Kindness this back-to-school year by visiting a Smiggle store and purchasing a Choose Kindness badge or keyring for $2, with funds raised going directly to Dolly's Dream. 

The Dolly's Dream Support Line is a free and confidential bullying and mental health support line where no referral is needed and is open 24/7 to anyone who needs support. Anyone worried about a young person in their life can chat to a qualified counsellor on 0488 881 033. 

Feature Image: Instagram/@_piamiranda.

Smiggle has proudly partnered with anti-bullying charity Dolly’s Dream to help children look out for their friends and classmates this school year, and to give parents more tools and resources to combat the impacts of bullying. Smiggle is asking all of it’s fans to Choose Kindness this year by purchasing a specially crafted and collectible Choose Kindness badge. All proceeds are donated to Dolly’s Dream to help fund their telephone support line, anti-bullying workshops, Beacon Cyber Safety App and Parent Hub, all of which offer support and solutions for kids, parents, caregivers and communities to help stop bullying.