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Are you a Cyberbystander?

Cyberbystander - online bullies

People talk a lot about cyberbullies and their victims. One part of this social ill that people rarely talk about is how bystanders effect the situation. Some researchers call them “cyberbystanders.” Cyberbystanders are those who watch cyberbullying while it happens.

They are the other people in chat rooms or on social media apps who can read the posts that the bully posts to the victim.

Cyberbystanders can be middle-school kids, college students or even business associates. These people will watch the exchange and have a chance to speak up. But do they?

Many studies have been done to see exactly what happens to cyberbystanders. A university study found that only one out of ten cyberbystanders will take a stand during the exchange. The action these people take is usually limited to posting support for the victim or posting comments that the bully should back off.

Most of the time, though, cyberbystanders do nothing. The studies seem to show that cyberbystanders didn’t want to get the middle of a situation that was none of their business. They didn’t seem to make the connection that they were on a public site—making everything that happened there public.

Some of the cyberbystanders who did nothing during the bullying did take action afterwards. They sent comments to moderators or to the site’s security officers. Moderators and site security can remove offending posts and even ban bullies from the site.

Companies are taking cyberbullying more seriously these days and will often respond to comments within hours. This can help prevent further bullying, but still doesn’t make a difference to the victim of the bullying that’s already happened.

Cyberbystanders online act much like real-life bystanders. When an accident happens on the street, if there are lots of people watching, then people are less likely to help. In other words, the more witnesses there are, the fewer people will help.

That is the same online. If lots of people are watching the posts and tweets, the less likely someone will step in and defend the victim or criticize the bully. If only a couple people are reading the posts—or witness the accident—the more likely they are to step in and help. On the other hand, the more people that are following an ugly exchange online, the more brutal the bully will be. It seems that bullies like an audience.

Social scientists are still trying to understand the difference cyberbystanders make to online communication. What you can do is remember that you are probably a cyberbystander. Talk with your teachers, friends or family about what you should do when you see bullying happen online. Don’t be one of the nine out of ten who does nothing.

People talk a lot about cyberbullies and their victims. One part of this social ill that people rarely talk about is how bystanders effect the situation. Some researchers call them “cyberbystanders.” Cyberbystanders are those who watch cyberbullying while it happens.

They are the other people in chat rooms or on social media apps who can read the posts that the bully posts to the victim.

Cyberbystanders can be middle-school kids, college students or even business associates. These people will watch the exchange and have a chance to speak up. But do they?

Many studies have been done to see exactly what happens to cyberbystanders. A university study found that only one out of ten cyberbystanders will take a stand during the exchange. The action these people take is usually limited to posting support for the victim or posting comments that the bully should back off.

Most of the time, though, cyberbystanders do nothing. The studies seem to show that cyberbystanders didn’t want to get the middle of a situation that was none of their business. They didn’t seem to make the connection that they were on a public site—making everything that happened there public.

Some of the cyberbystanders who did nothing during the bullying did take action afterwards. They sent comments to moderators or to the site’s security officers. Moderators and site security can remove offending posts and even ban bullies from the site.

Companies are taking cyberbullying more seriously these days and will often respond to comments within hours. This can help prevent further bullying, but still doesn’t make a difference to the victim of the bullying that’s already happened.

Cyberbystanders online act much like real-life bystanders. When an accident happens on the street, if there are lots of people watching, then people are less likely to help. In other words, the more witnesses there are, the fewer people will help.

That is the same online. If lots of people are watching the posts and tweets, the less likely someone will step in and defend the victim or criticize the bully. If only a couple people are reading the posts—or witness the accident—the more likely they are to step in and help. On the other hand, the more people that are following an ugly exchange online, the more brutal the bully will be. It seems that bullies like an audience.

Social scientists are still trying to understand the difference cyberbystanders make to online communication. What you can do is remember that you are probably a cyberbystander. Talk with your teachers, friends or family about what you should do when you see bullying happen online. Don’t be one of the nine out of ten who does nothing.

Facebook Privacy Settings: Like Signs on Your Door!

Facebook Privacy Settings

New technology is incredibly exciting and fun. It’s amazing when you think that what you type on your computer in your room can be seen all around the world by anybody with a computer.
But should it be seen by anyone with a computer?

Should the kid who’s been insulting you at the park know that you go there every Saturday morning to play basketball?

Should the girl who calls you ugly get to see the new dress you bought?

Probably not.

That’s why in this exciting time in human history, you need to think about your life as a valuable gift. You should think about that before every story you post.

One easy way to make sure your life is shared only with those who like or love you is to use your social media privacy settings.

Like most people, you probably have a Facebook page. You probably know how to post, edit posts, change your profile picture and message friends.

But do you know how to block strangers from looking you up on Facebook? If someone has started insulting you online, do you know how to block that person from posting on your page?

You can even block that person from sending you a private message or looking up your email address.

Another smart setting is to only accept friend requests from friends of friends. This helps limit who sees your profile.

Of course, there is a problem with this. You should talk with your friends about their settings. Better still, sit down with your friends (in real time, in real life) and play with the security settings. Show each other how the settings work and which ones you need to use.

When all of you keep control over who can see what you post online, all of you are safer.

All major social media sites have safety and privacy settings. One fast way to learn about them is to Google the social platform’s name and “how to set privacy.”

Remember, talk to your friends and family about their settings. When everyone you share with has the same secure settings, all of you is safer.

For decades, kids have stuck signs on their doors that read: “Keep Out” and “Please Knock” and “Trespassers will be yelled at.” Think about your social media settings as signs on your online door. Don’t let just anyone walk in.

New technology is incredibly exciting and fun. It’s amazing when you think that what you type on your computer in your room can be seen all around the world by anybody with a computer.
But should it be seen by anyone with a computer?

Should the kid who’s been insulting you at the park know that you go there every Saturday morning to play basketball?

Should the girl who calls you ugly get to see the new dress you bought?

Probably not.

That’s why in this exciting time in human history, you need to think about your life as a valuable gift. You should think about that before every story you post.

One easy way to make sure your life is shared only with those who like or love you is to use your social media privacy settings.

Like most people, you probably have a Facebook page. You probably know how to post, edit posts, change your profile picture and message friends.

But do you know how to block strangers from looking you up on Facebook? If someone has started insulting you online, do you know how to block that person from posting on your page?

You can even block that person from sending you a private message or looking up your email address.

Another smart setting is to only accept friend requests from friends of friends. This helps limit who sees your profile.

Of course, there is a problem with this. You should talk with your friends about their settings. Better still, sit down with your friends (in real time, in real life) and play with the security settings. Show each other how the settings work and which ones you need to use.

When all of you keep control over who can see what you post online, all of you are safer.

All major social media sites have safety and privacy settings. One fast way to learn about them is to Google the social platform’s name and “how to set privacy.”

Remember, talk to your friends and family about their settings. When everyone you share with has the same secure settings, all of you is safer.

For decades, kids have stuck signs on their doors that read: “Keep Out” and “Please Knock” and “Trespassers will be yelled at.” Think about your social media settings as signs on your online door. Don’t let just anyone walk in.

Got the Winter Blues? Maybe It’s SAD….

Have you been feeling down lately? Moody? You can’t seem to concentrate? Want to lay around all the time? You could be SAD. We’re not talking about having the blues; SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a medically-recognized condition.  The symptoms are similar to being depressed. People with SAD can’t concentrate, have less energy, are moody and can have problems sleeping.

Researchers think that SAD is caused by three main factors:

  • Biological clocks. Your body is used to seeing the sun for a certain time and being in the dark for a certain time. Winter means shorter day, which confuses your internal clock.
  • Serotonin levels. Serotonin is a mood booster that your body makes naturally. Sunlight helps your body make serotonin, so when cold weather keeps you inside and out of the sun, you could have very low serotonin levels. This could make you feel sad or tired and even more hungry.
  • Melatonin levels. Your body makes melatonin naturally, but when days get short, your body makes less. This makes it harder to sleep.

SAD is also believed to effect younger people more than older people. That’s why you need to be aware of SAD. When you see a friend is posting dark or depressing messages, maybe he or she is suffering from SAD.

If you are feel low and find that your mood is effecting your schoolwork or relationships, you should mention this to your parents. You could be suffering from SAD and need to see a medical doctor for help.

Most of the time, SAD is just a natural response to a long stretch of cold and dark days. In those cases, there are steps you can take to relieve symptoms.

The first and easiest thing you can do is get more sunlight. Bundle up and walk to school if you can. Or grab some friends for an outdoor game.

Being active is another way to treat SAD. Exercise increases serotonin levels, helping make up for the serotonin you lose during winter. This could be playing basketball in school or following an exercise video online. By getting your exercise outside when the sun is shining, you get twice the benefit.

Think about SAD when you check your social media. When you see a friend making posts that sound depressed or moody, pick up your phone and invite him or her out to do something fun.

You aren’t a doctor, but you can still help fight Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Have you been feeling down lately? Moody? You can’t seem to concentrate? Want to lay around all the time? You could be SAD. We’re not talking about having the blues; SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a medically-recognized condition.  The symptoms are similar to being depressed. People with SAD can’t concentrate, have less energy, are moody and can have problems sleeping.

Researchers think that SAD is caused by three main factors:

  • Biological clocks. Your body is used to seeing the sun for a certain time and being in the dark for a certain time. Winter means shorter day, which confuses your internal clock.
  • Serotonin levels. Serotonin is a mood booster that your body makes naturally. Sunlight helps your body make serotonin, so when cold weather keeps you inside and out of the sun, you could have very low serotonin levels. This could make you feel sad or tired and even more hungry.
  • Melatonin levels. Your body makes melatonin naturally, but when days get short, your body makes less. This makes it harder to sleep.

SAD is also believed to effect younger people more than older people. That’s why you need to be aware of SAD. When you see a friend is posting dark or depressing messages, maybe he or she is suffering from SAD.

If you are feel low and find that your mood is effecting your schoolwork or relationships, you should mention this to your parents. You could be suffering from SAD and need to see a medical doctor for help.

Most of the time, SAD is just a natural response to a long stretch of cold and dark days. In those cases, there are steps you can take to relieve symptoms.

The first and easiest thing you can do is get more sunlight. Bundle up and walk to school if you can. Or grab some friends for an outdoor game.

Being active is another way to treat SAD. Exercise increases serotonin levels, helping make up for the serotonin you lose during winter. This could be playing basketball in school or following an exercise video online. By getting your exercise outside when the sun is shining, you get twice the benefit.

Think about SAD when you check your social media. When you see a friend making posts that sound depressed or moody, pick up your phone and invite him or her out to do something fun.

You aren’t a doctor, but you can still help fight Seasonal Affective Disorder.

The History of Valentine’s Day

The History of Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love and friendship and the joy of having other people in your life. It’s a day of flowers, candy and cards decorated with hearts. This special day’s origin, though, is not so rosy.

There are many theories on how Valentine’s Day began, but the most noted one begins in Rome in the year 268. Emperor Claudius II wanted a fierce team of young men to fight in his armies. He found that when young men are in love or sharing their lives with a wife and children, they tended to be more cautious.

To insure large numbers of soldiers for his armies, Claudius outlawed marriage for those young men.

Claudius may have outlawed love, but he could not stop it. Young men and women still fell in love and wanted to become couples in the eyes of the church. A brave—and obviously romantic—priest named Valentine thought the law was horribly unjust.

Putting his life in danger, Valentine continued performing marriage ceremonies, doing so in secret and hidden from the eyes of authorities.

Still, word of Valentine’s secret ceremonies made its way back to Claudius. The priest was found and put to death on, as some versions state, on February 14th. Centuries later, the Catholic Church made that kindly priest a saint, one of three saints named “Valentine.”

No one knows exactly when St. Valentine’s Day was first celebrated, but there is a poem in existence that is considered to be the first ever written Valentine’s Day card. It was sent from a prisoner in the Tower of London to his wife in the year 1415.

Today, greeting card companies estimate that over a billion cards of love and affection are sent each St. Valentine’s Day.

While Valentine is a Catholic Christian saint, his death and the tradition of love that he created is celebrated world-wide by people of all religions. People send cards, flowers and candy in counties many countries around the world.

Some countries have banned St. Valentine’s Day, but people in love show the courage of the doomed priest by celebrating the occasion. Repressive governments may confiscate all of the red roses available in the country. Still, no one can ever halt the flow of love and affection.

Today’s click-and-post culture is tossing aside many old traditions and rules. Still, the day set aside to celebrate love lives on.

Happy St. Valentine’s Day. Tell everyone in your heart how much they mean to you. And remember when you sign those cards how love and friendship lives on, even in the face of adversity.

Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love and friendship and the joy of having other people in your life. It’s a day of flowers, candy and cards decorated with hearts. This special day’s origin, though, is not so rosy.

There are many theories on how Valentine’s Day began, but the most noted one begins in Rome in the year 268. Emperor Claudius II wanted a fierce team of young men to fight in his armies. He found that when young men are in love or sharing their lives with a wife and children, they tended to be more cautious.

To insure large numbers of soldiers for his armies, Claudius outlawed marriage for those young men.

Claudius may have outlawed love, but he could not stop it. Young men and women still fell in love and wanted to become couples in the eyes of the church. A brave—and obviously romantic—priest named Valentine thought the law was horribly unjust.

Putting his life in danger, Valentine continued performing marriage ceremonies, doing so in secret and hidden from the eyes of authorities.

Still, word of Valentine’s secret ceremonies made its way back to Claudius. The priest was found and put to death on, as some versions state, on February 14th. Centuries later, the Catholic Church made that kindly priest a saint, one of three saints named “Valentine.”

No one knows exactly when St. Valentine’s Day was first celebrated, but there is a poem in existence that is considered to be the first ever written Valentine’s Day card. It was sent from a prisoner in the Tower of London to his wife in the year 1415.

Today, greeting card companies estimate that over a billion cards of love and affection are sent each St. Valentine’s Day.

While Valentine is a Catholic Christian saint, his death and the tradition of love that he created is celebrated world-wide by people of all religions. People send cards, flowers and candy in counties many countries around the world.

Some countries have banned St. Valentine’s Day, but people in love show the courage of the doomed priest by celebrating the occasion. Repressive governments may confiscate all of the red roses available in the country. Still, no one can ever halt the flow of love and affection.

Today’s click-and-post culture is tossing aside many old traditions and rules. Still, the day set aside to celebrate love lives on.

Happy St. Valentine’s Day. Tell everyone in your heart how much they mean to you. And remember when you sign those cards how love and friendship lives on, even in the face of adversity.

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