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9 Easy Ways to Improve Your Child’s Creative Writing Skills

Improve Your Child’s Creative Writing Skills

Creative writing skills boost problem-solving, innovation, and resourcefulness. Helping our kids build these skills is important. Plus, it also gives them an outlet for all their creative ideas. How do you build those skills without making it seem like work?

Here are 9 ways to make creative writing skills fun:

1. Read Often

Books are the best precursor to writing. So get your kids reading! With repeated exposure to words, ideas, and styles, and in books, kids build the ability to mimic and adopt them.

Flood them with exposure to books and watch their skills rise. Yes, it will look a lot like what they’ve read at first. That’s ok! They’re just playing “dress up” with other people’s ideas. They’ll soon start writing like themselves.

Encourage your children to read more than one type of writing. If they gravitate toward non-fiction, maybe try historical fiction. If they only like superhero stories, introduce them to a story with a main character of a different gender or ethnicity.

2. Identify Ways to Practice

Just like anything, improving creative writing skills takes practice. Set your children up for success by making practice easy and fun.

You can piggy-back creative writing off of other imaginative play and encourage your child to write down episodes of the games he plays. Allow the free flow of ideas – the more creative the better!

Focus on this type of activity can be tricky for kids. It’s important to give kids a dedicated writing space. Fill it with fun paper or a kids’ journal, great pencils, and few distractions.

3. Encourage Your Child to Write

Children are often predisposed to wanting to write. Even before they can form letters correctly, many children will say they are “writing.”

Nurture this desire!

When children feel writing is powerful, and their writing matters, they will want to keep trying. However, they want to start writing is how they should write.

If your child struggles with the physical act of writing, consider helping with that part. You can use talk-to-text features in apps or even agree to be their “scribe.” Then they worry less about the act of writing and pay more attention to the ideas they are forming.

4. Use Writing Prompts

Does your kid express an interest in writing only to freeze when they actually try to write? Writing prompts could help your child overcome it.

Writing prompts can be found in many places. Look for interesting signs, funny pictures in advertisements, or even just asking “what if” questions. You could even play a song to inspire ideas and writing.

The idea is not to make them write about something, but to give them enough of an idea to push past the fear of getting started. Once kids get past the first few sentences and are “in” their story, their ideas will come to the surface.

5. Encourage Journaling

Journaling is a great way to encourage creative writing. It gives them a concrete way to see their “progress” writing.

A handful of kids’ journals often come preloaded with prompts and ideas, which helps kids get started. It also helps that journaling is usually a daily activity. By having smaller, but more frequent, writing sessions, it helps children develop a perspective on what writing can be.

Journaling also helps build emotional intelligence. By writing about their feelings, children work through their thoughts and emotions and are better able to recognize and accept them. It gives them the opportunity to talk about difficult things without embarrassment, advice, or recrimination.  

6. Use “Feeling” Words

Another benefit of building creative writing skills is children learn to use powerful words to draw in their readers.

You can encourage this development by helping them give their character’s feelings. When writers allow their characters to feel, they make them more relatable and interesting. But since the feelings of the characters don’t necessarily come to mind for kids, direct suggestion may help.

Help them get there by asking questions about the characters. Why was the hero doing that? What was she thinking? How was she feeling?

7. Practice Storytelling

The reason why many creative writers write is their love of story. To help your child build creative writing skills, foster that love.

The key is to focus on telling a great story, not the writing. Let your child’s imagination run free as he piece together details that can complete a tale.

You can build stories together, with each person telling a few lines of the story before passing it along to the next. Or you can “get stuck” telling your story and need their help figuring out what happens next.

Whatever twists and turns in the plot happen are magical because it shows your child is learning they are driving the story. They get to create.

8. Play Games

A robust vocabulary is another important creative writing skill. To help your child build their vocabulary, try playing word games.

Word games are great because they put the emphasis on the game, not the vocabulary learning. The competitive aspect increases their intrinsic motivation to learn the words. The games themselves are great family activities.

If your child isn’t competitive, there are plenty of team-oriented options. You could also try magnetic poetry, other game-like world builders, or even a cool journal for kids where they write down fun words they’ve heard.

9. Provide Inspiration

The best inspiration for kids to write comes from loving the work of other writers. When your child has a book or series they love, keep it going! Encouraging their love of reading – and their love of story – will help them internalize the way their favorite authors write.

Reading to your children helps too. Because you can read higher-level books while your child listens, it allows them to focus on the story. It also gives you a chance to have conversations about meaning, characters, and plot.

As children read, they build vocabulary and understanding of how good stories develop. They will eventually be able to incorporate these ideas into their creative writing.

Creative writing is sometimes seen as a hobby- something to enjoy, but not to be taken too seriously. But building creative writing skills positively impacts children because they learn to express themselves, they practice writing about emotions, and they practice making their writing compelling to their readers.

Whichever strategies you use to help your child improve their creative writing styles, make sure you keep it light-hearted. When it is fun, they’ll want to keep trying, and that’s where the growth happens.

Improve Your Child's Creative Writing Skills

About the Author:

Alexandra Eidens is the founder of Big Life Journal, an engaging resource to help kids develop a resilient growth mindset so they can face life’s challenges with confidence.

Creative writing skills boost problem-solving, innovation, and resourcefulness. Helping our kids build these skills is important. Plus, it also gives them an outlet for all their creative ideas. How do you build those skills without making it seem like work?

Here are 9 ways to make creative writing skills fun:

1. Read Often

Books are the best precursor to writing. So get your kids reading! With repeated exposure to words, ideas, and styles, and in books, kids build the ability to mimic and adopt them.

Flood them with exposure to books and watch their skills rise. Yes, it will look a lot like what they’ve read at first. That’s ok! They’re just playing “dress up” with other people’s ideas. They’ll soon start writing like themselves.

Encourage your children to read more than one type of writing. If they gravitate toward non-fiction, maybe try historical fiction. If they only like superhero stories, introduce them to a story with a main character of a different gender or ethnicity.

2. Identify Ways to Practice

Just like anything, improving creative writing skills takes practice. Set your children up for success by making practice easy and fun.

You can piggy-back creative writing off of other imaginative play and encourage your child to write down episodes of the games he plays. Allow the free flow of ideas – the more creative the better!

Focus on this type of activity can be tricky for kids. It’s important to give kids a dedicated writing space. Fill it with fun paper or a kids’ journal, great pencils, and few distractions.

3. Encourage Your Child to Write

Children are often predisposed to wanting to write. Even before they can form letters correctly, many children will say they are “writing.”

Nurture this desire!

When children feel writing is powerful, and their writing matters, they will want to keep trying. However, they want to start writing is how they should write.

If your child struggles with the physical act of writing, consider helping with that part. You can use talk-to-text features in apps or even agree to be their “scribe.” Then they worry less about the act of writing and pay more attention to the ideas they are forming.

4. Use Writing Prompts

Does your kid express an interest in writing only to freeze when they actually try to write? Writing prompts could help your child overcome it.

Writing prompts can be found in many places. Look for interesting signs, funny pictures in advertisements, or even just asking “what if” questions. You could even play a song to inspire ideas and writing.

The idea is not to make them write about something, but to give them enough of an idea to push past the fear of getting started. Once kids get past the first few sentences and are “in” their story, their ideas will come to the surface.

5. Encourage Journaling

Journaling is a great way to encourage creative writing. It gives them a concrete way to see their “progress” writing.

A handful of kids’ journals often come preloaded with prompts and ideas, which helps kids get started. It also helps that journaling is usually a daily activity. By having smaller, but more frequent, writing sessions, it helps children develop a perspective on what writing can be.

Journaling also helps build emotional intelligence. By writing about their feelings, children work through their thoughts and emotions and are better able to recognize and accept them. It gives them the opportunity to talk about difficult things without embarrassment, advice, or recrimination.  

6. Use “Feeling” Words

Another benefit of building creative writing skills is children learn to use powerful words to draw in their readers.

You can encourage this development by helping them give their character’s feelings. When writers allow their characters to feel, they make them more relatable and interesting. But since the feelings of the characters don’t necessarily come to mind for kids, direct suggestion may help.

Help them get there by asking questions about the characters. Why was the hero doing that? What was she thinking? How was she feeling?

7. Practice Storytelling

The reason why many creative writers write is their love of story. To help your child build creative writing skills, foster that love.

The key is to focus on telling a great story, not the writing. Let your child’s imagination run free as he piece together details that can complete a tale.

You can build stories together, with each person telling a few lines of the story before passing it along to the next. Or you can “get stuck” telling your story and need their help figuring out what happens next.

Whatever twists and turns in the plot happen are magical because it shows your child is learning they are driving the story. They get to create.

8. Play Games

A robust vocabulary is another important creative writing skill. To help your child build their vocabulary, try playing word games.

Word games are great because they put the emphasis on the game, not the vocabulary learning. The competitive aspect increases their intrinsic motivation to learn the words. The games themselves are great family activities.

If your child isn’t competitive, there are plenty of team-oriented options. You could also try magnetic poetry, other game-like world builders, or even a cool journal for kids where they write down fun words they’ve heard.

9. Provide Inspiration

The best inspiration for kids to write comes from loving the work of other writers. When your child has a book or series they love, keep it going! Encouraging their love of reading – and their love of story – will help them internalize the way their favorite authors write.

Reading to your children helps too. Because you can read higher-level books while your child listens, it allows them to focus on the story. It also gives you a chance to have conversations about meaning, characters, and plot.

As children read, they build vocabulary and understanding of how good stories develop. They will eventually be able to incorporate these ideas into their creative writing.

Creative writing is sometimes seen as a hobby- something to enjoy, but not to be taken too seriously. But building creative writing skills positively impacts children because they learn to express themselves, they practice writing about emotions, and they practice making their writing compelling to their readers.

Whichever strategies you use to help your child improve their creative writing styles, make sure you keep it light-hearted. When it is fun, they’ll want to keep trying, and that’s where the growth happens.

Improve Your Child's Creative Writing Skills

About the Author:

Alexandra Eidens is the founder of Big Life Journal, an engaging resource to help kids develop a resilient growth mindset so they can face life’s challenges with confidence.

How to Foster Empathy for Bullying Prevention

Empathy for Bullying Prevention

Regrettably, bullying is very common among children. However, that doesn’t make it normal, and parents shouldn’t rely on their children to “grow out of it” as they mature. Why? Because growing out of it is a quick fix, while fostering empathy in your child is a long-term solution.

Emotions, kindness, comforting words, hugs, and feeling others’ pain are all traits associated with empathy. When your child is empathetic, bullying is entirely out of the equation. But the question is how to foster empathy for bullying prevention. Below are a few ideas.

How to Instill Empathy in Children

When your child is authentically empathetic, they’re guided by their empathy in all their actions. They’re able to put themselves in others’ shoes, relate to their feelings, and help others feel better. Here are some ways to teach your little one to be empathetic.

Fulfill Their Needs

Even among grownups, we usually say that when someone bullies us, they feel bad about themselves or are jealous. By that very same token, if your child doesn’t receive the love they need from you, they won’t be able to treat others with love either.

Loving your children extends to include making them feel enough, and that’s the keyword. Avoid comparisons with classmates who receive better grades, sports mates who continuously win the gold medal, and similar situations. This very often triggers bullying behavior.

Encourage Your Child to Speak Up

Kids often have trouble conveying their feelings, especially when they don’t understand exactly how they feel. Always encourage your little one to share their feelings in the best way they can –– be it through art, speaking, a song, or other. Then, you can help them name their feelings.

When they’re connected with their emotions, they’re able to pick up on situations where others feel the same way they did, and they’ll understand how that felt like. If your child doesn’t let out their feelings, it may result in violence, bullying, and tantrums.

Lead by Example

Children are the best copycats. Showing them what empathy looks like is one of the best ways to instill empathy in their behavior. For example, visit your neighbor who lives alone and take them with you. Then, when you’re back, tell them that the neighbor had been feeling lonely and you wanted to give her some company and cook her a good meal.

When you take action and explain it, your child builds up a life guide of situations and behaviors that they use when they need to. You don’t even have to make huge actions; they can be as small as explaining why an actor was crying in a particular movie scene. Also, make sure to hear what your child thinks of the reactions they’re perceiving.

By doing so, not only does your child eliminate bullying from their dictionary, but they’re also better equipped to identify it and stand up to such behavior if it ever happens to them.

Explain to Children How Their Words and Behaviors Impact Others

Sometimes, children simply don’t understand the repercussions of their behaviors. They don’t mean any harm, but their mind doesn’t grasp the impact of their actions. Therefore, always make a habit of talking to your child about what happens to the other person due to their behavior.

Make sure to tackle issues such as spreading rumors, gossiping, being violent, calling others names, leaving some people out, and more. That way, they’ll learn to think before taking action, and they’ll consider how the other person will feel.

It’s also best if your child’s school works on preventing bullying by using a program that promotes an overall positive school climate using age-appropriate lessons. Make sure to check the school’s efforts in that area.

Final Words

Being empathetic is a cornerstone of leading a healthy life. For the longest time, people thought that empathy is equivalent to being nice, but actually, empathy is the bigger umbrella encompassing high levels of emotional intelligence that children can employ to make compassionate decisions and relate to others.

We hope that you now have an idea of how to foster empathy for bullying prevention, and at the end of the day, we all share the same vision of putting a stop to bullying!

Regrettably, bullying is very common among children. However, that doesn’t make it normal, and parents shouldn’t rely on their children to “grow out of it” as they mature. Why? Because growing out of it is a quick fix, while fostering empathy in your child is a long-term solution.

Emotions, kindness, comforting words, hugs, and feeling others’ pain are all traits associated with empathy. When your child is empathetic, bullying is entirely out of the equation. But the question is how to foster empathy for bullying prevention. Below are a few ideas.

How to Instill Empathy in Children

When your child is authentically empathetic, they’re guided by their empathy in all their actions. They’re able to put themselves in others’ shoes, relate to their feelings, and help others feel better. Here are some ways to teach your little one to be empathetic.

Fulfill Their Needs

Even among grownups, we usually say that when someone bullies us, they feel bad about themselves or are jealous. By that very same token, if your child doesn’t receive the love they need from you, they won’t be able to treat others with love either.

Loving your children extends to include making them feel enough, and that’s the keyword. Avoid comparisons with classmates who receive better grades, sports mates who continuously win the gold medal, and similar situations. This very often triggers bullying behavior.

Encourage Your Child to Speak Up

Kids often have trouble conveying their feelings, especially when they don’t understand exactly how they feel. Always encourage your little one to share their feelings in the best way they can –– be it through art, speaking, a song, or other. Then, you can help them name their feelings.

When they’re connected with their emotions, they’re able to pick up on situations where others feel the same way they did, and they’ll understand how that felt like. If your child doesn’t let out their feelings, it may result in violence, bullying, and tantrums.

Lead by Example

Children are the best copycats. Showing them what empathy looks like is one of the best ways to instill empathy in their behavior. For example, visit your neighbor who lives alone and take them with you. Then, when you’re back, tell them that the neighbor had been feeling lonely and you wanted to give her some company and cook her a good meal.

When you take action and explain it, your child builds up a life guide of situations and behaviors that they use when they need to. You don’t even have to make huge actions; they can be as small as explaining why an actor was crying in a particular movie scene. Also, make sure to hear what your child thinks of the reactions they’re perceiving.

By doing so, not only does your child eliminate bullying from their dictionary, but they’re also better equipped to identify it and stand up to such behavior if it ever happens to them.

Explain to Children How Their Words and Behaviors Impact Others

Sometimes, children simply don’t understand the repercussions of their behaviors. They don’t mean any harm, but their mind doesn’t grasp the impact of their actions. Therefore, always make a habit of talking to your child about what happens to the other person due to their behavior.

Make sure to tackle issues such as spreading rumors, gossiping, being violent, calling others names, leaving some people out, and more. That way, they’ll learn to think before taking action, and they’ll consider how the other person will feel.

It’s also best if your child’s school works on preventing bullying by using a program that promotes an overall positive school climate using age-appropriate lessons. Make sure to check the school’s efforts in that area.

Final Words

Being empathetic is a cornerstone of leading a healthy life. For the longest time, people thought that empathy is equivalent to being nice, but actually, empathy is the bigger umbrella encompassing high levels of emotional intelligence that children can employ to make compassionate decisions and relate to others.

We hope that you now have an idea of how to foster empathy for bullying prevention, and at the end of the day, we all share the same vision of putting a stop to bullying!

How to Report a Phishing Email

Report Email Phishing

Hopefully when you received a phishing email regarding one of your online accounts you didn’t click the link and try to login. This is how hackers attempt to gain access to your account without you knowing. If you did login, immediately close your browser. Then, re-open it and go to the proper sign page through your browser and change your password.

We all get phishing attempts via email but we can do more than just educate ourselves on how to prevent being tricked. Before you delete the phishing email report it to the proper website that the phishing email is trying to access. These same companies have cyber security people that you can forward the email to.  Simultaneously you can report all phishing attempts to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at reportphishing@apwg.org

When concerned about possible virus infection of your computer perform a malware scan. To clarify, most phishing attempts are not created to infect and take over your computer.  Rather, the goal of phishing is to learn your account login details so they can steal your personal information.

Below are some of the more common companies that identity thieves try to mimic. These are just examples and there are many others.  If you don’t see the contact information below for the company you are looking for, simply Google it safely at the top of our website. For example, if the phishing attempt is in regards to PayPal, Google “Report PayPal Phishing”.  Often, you will find an email address posted that you can forward the phishing email to.

Top Phishing Email Examples

In addition to forwarding phishing emails to appropriate companies and to the Anti-Phishing Working Group, you can also report the phishing link to Google but be careful. Don’t open the link in a browser, simple right click the link and select copy hyperlink. Cut and paste that link into the Google submission form and submit. Then, delete the phishing email. 

Here are a few examples of the top companies whose account holders are the top targets.  These companies want you to forward phishing emails to them so they can prevent future fishing attacks.

PayPal

PayPal is a top target of phishing because it gives thieves direct access to your money. If if you don’t currently have funds in your PayPal account, people with access can make payments out of a bank account or credit card that you have linked to. Report PayPal phishing attempts to spoof@paypal.com which can also be accessed on their PayPal suspicious activity.

If you have clicked a bad link or are worried about whether your account has been compromised change your password immediately. Learn more about how PayPal deals with account fraud.

DocuSign

Often, phishing links for DocuSign will go to Google Docs.  This may appear legitimate because it is using the Google domain but really it is someone with a Google account hosting a bad doc to gain your personal information.  Be proactive and report suspicious emails to DocuSign’s security team at spam@docusign.com. If you feel the security of your account is at risk, contact DocuSign customer support.

Below are some tips to help spot the difference between real and spoof DocuSign emails: 

All URLs to view or sign DocuSign documents will contain “docusign.net/” and will always start with https.  All legitimate DocuSign envelopes include a unique security code at the bottom of notification emails. If you do not see this code, don’t click on any links or open any attachments within the email.

For the latest DocuSign security and system performance information, visit the DocuSign Trust Center

Netflix

Because Netflix is such a popular streaming service these days, it’s one of the more popular targets for phishing. Netflix states that they will never ask you to click a link to enter personal information about your account. Even if you are not sure the email you receive is a phishing attempt, report it to Netflix by forwarding the email to phishing@netflix.com. If you want to check your account to see if something is wrong with your billing, for example, go to Netflix.com directly or via a bookmark you’ve already saved to log into your account.

Here is a classic phishing email that Netflix would never send to you.

Dear user, We’re having some trouble with your current billing information. We’ll try again, but in the meantime you may want to update your payment details.

Most phishing emails feature proper links to the company at the bottom of the email, such as the Netflix support page or contact page. This is to trick you into thinking it’s legit. However, the link in the middle of the email goes to a different website.

Banks and Credit Card Companies

You may only have one bank account and one credit card. So when you receive an email from a bank that you don’t have an account with, it’s easy to ignore. You may even be thinking, why would they send this to me? Well, cyberthieves use spam internet servers to sent the phishing email to millions of people because they know at a percentage of those on the list will have an account with a particular bank.

This is why you will sometimes get an email that looks like it’s from your bank. Don’t worry, the scam artist probably doesn’t know you have an account with a certain bank. You are simply one of millions of people on a list.

Chase is one of the top banks that phishing emails try to mimic.  But really, there are too many banks and credit card companies to list, so it’s wise to be wary of any email from your bank.  Any information you need to know about your bank account will be within your account, so just go to your regular bookmark in your browser to login or to go Google and search for your bank.  You never have to worry if you always go directly to your bank to see if there are any important notifications for you.  Or just call you bank. 

To report a phishing email to your specific bank, search for your financial institution on Google by typing in your bank name followed by the keywords ‘report phishing email’.

Apple

Apple is a big one.  Your user name and password gives phishing attempts access to your iCloud account where all of your files are stored, including your contacts and pictures.  If you see any email that looks suspicious report it to Apple by forwarding the email to reportphishing@apple.com.  Apple will never ask you to verify your identity using your password.  They also recommend to protect your Apple ID by using two-factor authentication.  This security measure is available with many online accounts where a code is sent to you via text or email to complete your login.  This means that even if hackers gain access to your user name and password and try to log in, you will get a notification, but unless they have access to your phone, they can’t gain access.

Courier Companies and Shipping Outlets

Couriers include companies like Fed Ex, UPS, DHL Express, Purolator, and USPS.  Shipping may also come from online stores who use couriers, such as Amazon and Target.  The email may say something line “We are having trouble delivering your shipment!”  If you are expecting a shipment, you will immediately be concerned.  If you are not expecting a shipment you may wonder why you are receiving a product when you didn’t order anything. This is probably a phishing email, but even if it isn’t look closely at the email.  It’s always best not click any links and simply go to your account directly through your browser.  If you don’t have an account with a specific store, such as Walmart, then you know it is more than likely a phishing email.  Report it to the company concerned then delete the email.

Amazon

Many people have an Amazon account.  You may get an email from Amazon asking for your to login to correct a problem.  This is more than likely phishing.  Do not login using the link in the mail. Go directly to your Amazon account from your browser to see if there are any issues.  Amazon also uses couriers and the same safety rules apply.  Amazon usually notifies online shoppers that a real shipment has been delivered to their door, but they will never put a link in that email and ask you to check on your shipment.  Forward all suspicious emails to Amazon at stop-spoofing@amazon.com

Facebook

Facebook is one of the largest website in the world with over 2.7 billion active users.  They have taken great strides to protect against phishing and promote that they take seriously all phishing reports when you forward the email to phish@fb.com.   They have also set up security tools to prevent outsiders from signing into your account.  Like many online accounts they recommend and offer ‘two factor authentication’.  They will also email you of suspicious login attempts when you set up to receive unrecognized login notifications.

Additional Targeted Companies of Phishing Emails

If you have scrolled down to this bottom of this email looking for a company that is not listed above, below are are few safe links or email addresses to report a phishing attempt to that company. Reporting phishing is important so that collectively, we can work to shut down the hackers and scammers who are trying to steal personal information from millions of account holders around the world.

A Quick Review of What to Do When you Receive a Suspected Phishing email.

  • Don’t click any link to login to your account.  Go directly to your account via your browser bookmark or by searching for it on Google.  If you don’t have an account related to the email, it’s probably a phishing attempt and you have nothing to worry about.
  • Before deleting the phishing email, forward the email to the company the identity thieves are pretending to be.
  • Report the phishing link to Google but be careful how you copy the link to paste it on Google’s reporting page. Never click the link.  Instead, right click on the link to copy the hyperlink. Then delete the email.
  • When you forward a phishing email to any company, cc the email to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at reportphishing@apwg.org

Here are additional emails not written about above that you can report phishing emails to:

  • eBay: spoof@ebay.com
  • Chase:   phishing@chase.com
  • Microsoft:  phish@office365.microsoft.com
  • Comcast:  abuse@comcast.net
  • WhatsApp:   Learn more about WhatsApp security issues.

Report Phishing Email to Gmail

This image below shows you how to report amy phishing attempt that is sent to your Gmail. To access this, you need to be signed into the web version of your gmail account. Reporting these emails will help reduce phishing and spam emails to your Gmail, but you should also report emails to the company being spoofed.

To report phishing to Gmail follow the steps below.  1) On an open email, select the drop down menu on the top right. 2) Select Report Phishing.Report Email Phishing to Gmail

About Google Account Security:  Since Google accounts only have one login to multiple website, including YouTube and the multiple apps within Google for Education, consider setting up Two Factor Authentication to protect your account.

Additional Resources

Make sure your computer is not infected with Malware because you clicked a phishing email, scan your computer and protect against future attacks.

Learn more about Phishing and the new ways hackers use to steal peoples personal information.  Read about Smishing (Text) and Vishing (Phone) Scams.

Hopefully when you received a phishing email regarding one of your online accounts you didn’t click the link and try to login. This is how hackers attempt to gain access to your account without you knowing. If you did login, immediately close your browser. Then, re-open it and go to the proper sign page through your browser and change your password.

We all get phishing attempts via email but we can do more than just educate ourselves on how to prevent being tricked. Before you delete the phishing email report it to the proper website that the phishing email is trying to access. These same companies have cyber security people that you can forward the email to.  Simultaneously you can report all phishing attempts to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at reportphishing@apwg.org

When concerned about possible virus infection of your computer perform a malware scan. To clarify, most phishing attempts are not created to infect and take over your computer.  Rather, the goal of phishing is to learn your account login details so they can steal your personal information.

Below are some of the more common companies that identity thieves try to mimic. These are just examples and there are many others.  If you don’t see the contact information below for the company you are looking for, simply Google it safely at the top of our website. For example, if the phishing attempt is in regards to PayPal, Google “Report PayPal Phishing”.  Often, you will find an email address posted that you can forward the phishing email to.

Top Phishing Email Examples

In addition to forwarding phishing emails to appropriate companies and to the Anti-Phishing Working Group, you can also report the phishing link to Google but be careful. Don’t open the link in a browser, simple right click the link and select copy hyperlink. Cut and paste that link into the Google submission form and submit. Then, delete the phishing email. 

Here are a few examples of the top companies whose account holders are the top targets.  These companies want you to forward phishing emails to them so they can prevent future fishing attacks.

PayPal

PayPal is a top target of phishing because it gives thieves direct access to your money. If if you don’t currently have funds in your PayPal account, people with access can make payments out of a bank account or credit card that you have linked to. Report PayPal phishing attempts to spoof@paypal.com which can also be accessed on their PayPal suspicious activity.

If you have clicked a bad link or are worried about whether your account has been compromised change your password immediately. Learn more about how PayPal deals with account fraud.

DocuSign

Often, phishing links for DocuSign will go to Google Docs.  This may appear legitimate because it is using the Google domain but really it is someone with a Google account hosting a bad doc to gain your personal information.  Be proactive and report suspicious emails to DocuSign’s security team at spam@docusign.com. If you feel the security of your account is at risk, contact DocuSign customer support.

Below are some tips to help spot the difference between real and spoof DocuSign emails: 

All URLs to view or sign DocuSign documents will contain “docusign.net/” and will always start with https.  All legitimate DocuSign envelopes include a unique security code at the bottom of notification emails. If you do not see this code, don’t click on any links or open any attachments within the email.

For the latest DocuSign security and system performance information, visit the DocuSign Trust Center

Netflix

Because Netflix is such a popular streaming service these days, it’s one of the more popular targets for phishing. Netflix states that they will never ask you to click a link to enter personal information about your account. Even if you are not sure the email you receive is a phishing attempt, report it to Netflix by forwarding the email to phishing@netflix.com. If you want to check your account to see if something is wrong with your billing, for example, go to Netflix.com directly or via a bookmark you’ve already saved to log into your account.

Here is a classic phishing email that Netflix would never send to you.

Dear user, We’re having some trouble with your current billing information. We’ll try again, but in the meantime you may want to update your payment details.

Most phishing emails feature proper links to the company at the bottom of the email, such as the Netflix support page or contact page. This is to trick you into thinking it’s legit. However, the link in the middle of the email goes to a different website.

Banks and Credit Card Companies

You may only have one bank account and one credit card. So when you receive an email from a bank that you don’t have an account with, it’s easy to ignore. You may even be thinking, why would they send this to me? Well, cyberthieves use spam internet servers to sent the phishing email to millions of people because they know at a percentage of those on the list will have an account with a particular bank.

This is why you will sometimes get an email that looks like it’s from your bank. Don’t worry, the scam artist probably doesn’t know you have an account with a certain bank. You are simply one of millions of people on a list.

Chase is one of the top banks that phishing emails try to mimic.  But really, there are too many banks and credit card companies to list, so it’s wise to be wary of any email from your bank.  Any information you need to know about your bank account will be within your account, so just go to your regular bookmark in your browser to login or to go Google and search for your bank.  You never have to worry if you always go directly to your bank to see if there are any important notifications for you.  Or just call you bank. 

To report a phishing email to your specific bank, search for your financial institution on Google by typing in your bank name followed by the keywords ‘report phishing email’.

Apple

Apple is a big one.  Your user name and password gives phishing attempts access to your iCloud account where all of your files are stored, including your contacts and pictures.  If you see any email that looks suspicious report it to Apple by forwarding the email to reportphishing@apple.com.  Apple will never ask you to verify your identity using your password.  They also recommend to protect your Apple ID by using two-factor authentication.  This security measure is available with many online accounts where a code is sent to you via text or email to complete your login.  This means that even if hackers gain access to your user name and password and try to log in, you will get a notification, but unless they have access to your phone, they can’t gain access.

Courier Companies and Shipping Outlets

Couriers include companies like Fed Ex, UPS, DHL Express, Purolator, and USPS.  Shipping may also come from online stores who use couriers, such as Amazon and Target.  The email may say something line “We are having trouble delivering your shipment!”  If you are expecting a shipment, you will immediately be concerned.  If you are not expecting a shipment you may wonder why you are receiving a product when you didn’t order anything. This is probably a phishing email, but even if it isn’t look closely at the email.  It’s always best not click any links and simply go to your account directly through your browser.  If you don’t have an account with a specific store, such as Walmart, then you know it is more than likely a phishing email.  Report it to the company concerned then delete the email.

Amazon

Many people have an Amazon account.  You may get an email from Amazon asking for your to login to correct a problem.  This is more than likely phishing.  Do not login using the link in the mail. Go directly to your Amazon account from your browser to see if there are any issues.  Amazon also uses couriers and the same safety rules apply.  Amazon usually notifies online shoppers that a real shipment has been delivered to their door, but they will never put a link in that email and ask you to check on your shipment.  Forward all suspicious emails to Amazon at stop-spoofing@amazon.com

Facebook

Facebook is one of the largest website in the world with over 2.7 billion active users.  They have taken great strides to protect against phishing and promote that they take seriously all phishing reports when you forward the email to phish@fb.com.   They have also set up security tools to prevent outsiders from signing into your account.  Like many online accounts they recommend and offer ‘two factor authentication’.  They will also email you of suspicious login attempts when you set up to receive unrecognized login notifications.

Additional Targeted Companies of Phishing Emails

If you have scrolled down to this bottom of this email looking for a company that is not listed above, below are are few safe links or email addresses to report a phishing attempt to that company. Reporting phishing is important so that collectively, we can work to shut down the hackers and scammers who are trying to steal personal information from millions of account holders around the world.

A Quick Review of What to Do When you Receive a Suspected Phishing email.

  • Don’t click any link to login to your account.  Go directly to your account via your browser bookmark or by searching for it on Google.  If you don’t have an account related to the email, it’s probably a phishing attempt and you have nothing to worry about.
  • Before deleting the phishing email, forward the email to the company the identity thieves are pretending to be.
  • Report the phishing link to Google but be careful how you copy the link to paste it on Google’s reporting page. Never click the link.  Instead, right click on the link to copy the hyperlink. Then delete the email.
  • When you forward a phishing email to any company, cc the email to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at reportphishing@apwg.org

Here are additional emails not written about above that you can report phishing emails to:

  • eBay: spoof@ebay.com
  • Chase:   phishing@chase.com
  • Microsoft:  phish@office365.microsoft.com
  • Comcast:  abuse@comcast.net
  • WhatsApp:   Learn more about WhatsApp security issues.

Report Phishing Email to Gmail

This image below shows you how to report amy phishing attempt that is sent to your Gmail. To access this, you need to be signed into the web version of your gmail account. Reporting these emails will help reduce phishing and spam emails to your Gmail, but you should also report emails to the company being spoofed.

To report phishing to Gmail follow the steps below.  1) On an open email, select the drop down menu on the top right. 2) Select Report Phishing.Report Email Phishing to Gmail

About Google Account Security:  Since Google accounts only have one login to multiple website, including YouTube and the multiple apps within Google for Education, consider setting up Two Factor Authentication to protect your account.

Additional Resources

Make sure your computer is not infected with Malware because you clicked a phishing email, scan your computer and protect against future attacks.

Learn more about Phishing and the new ways hackers use to steal peoples personal information.  Read about Smishing (Text) and Vishing (Phone) Scams.

G Suite for Education | Free for Schools

G Suite for Education Apps

G Suite for Education is a suite of tools that schools can use for free to allow educators and students to interact simply.   Whether school is in session, being held with online classes or a little of both, these G Suite tools consist of essential web based applications.  They allow teachers to plan and implement standard based lessons, manage grades and meet the needs of diverse learners.

A more simple way to explain how G Suite for Education works is that it’s a collection of apps just like you have on your phone. These apps however, are designed for use in educational environments. Some of these apps already exist for any organization needing to engage collectively online, but many with G Suite for Education have been specifically created for teachers and their classrooms. These Google tools will help you to engage students to interact with the content of any lesson presented, including back and forth communication other than just email or live online session.

Three Reasons to Use G Suite in Your Classroom

  1. It’s completely free
  2. Easy Collaboration
  3. Use on any device with one log in.

Never before has G Suite been more essential with many students having to attend their classes online. G Suite tools exists to help you increase opportunities in your everyday work flow for critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity with your students. All of this happens while supporting the standards in learning objectives that you have.

G Suite for Education Apps

You may recognize many of these Google platforms because as mentioned, many of them are not only used for education. G Suite for Education simply groups them all in one place through your Google account, in addition to adding specific apps essential for the online classroom.

Core Services of G Suite for Education

G-Suite for Education

Whether conducting classes in school, online or both, here are the G Suite tools that will make it easier for your students to connect through their each individual Google accounts, just as teachers and administrators are.

Classroom: This is one of the most commonly used G Suite apps but many Google Classroom’s features may not be fully utilized. Even though the classroom is online, it is very secure as only those who are invited can join through a class code emailed to each individual student. Once a classroom is created teachers can can add various classes and sections as needed. Some key features of Google Classroom are:

  • Track classwork and submit assignments.
  • Check originality, feedback, and grades. Share resources and interact in the class stream or by email.
  • Parents and Guardians can get a regular email summary of student’s work.
  • Review announcements and activities.

Drive: Think of Google Drive as a flash drive that is stored on a different computer that you can access from anywhere and from any of your devices. This is the same for students. It’s the easy way to share lesson files or educational videos and everyone in your class will have the latest copies. Add and remove files at will or update documents without having to forward revised materials your students. Drive brings all of the G Suite tools together for easy access on the cloud by everyone in your class.  Inside Google Drive you can create docs, work sheets, slides and forms for various purposes.

Docs: Any document your would normally create, print off and hand our to your students can be created in Google Docs. These docs will be available instantly for your entire class to see. You can restrict these documents from being edited by students, or their may be circumstances when you want to allow editing, if not students then with other teachers or administrators you share documents with.

Sheets: Make your lessons come to life with colorful charts and graphs. Built-in formulas, pivot tables and conditional formatting options save time and simplify common spreadsheet tasks. Choose from a wide variety of budgets, schedules, and other pre-made spreadsheets — all designed to make your work that much better, and your life that much easier.

Slides: Google slides allow you to choose from a variety of presentation themes. There are hundreds of fonts, embedded video and animations as well. A wide array of pitches, portfolios and other pre-made presentations are also available.

Forms: Imagine the ability to create a pop quiz without having to print off copies and wait for students to attend your class? Google Forms is also a great place to get feedback from students. For example, lets say you want to create a place for students to leave questions or comments. Rather than sending out an email and getting overwhelmed with responses, you can create a form for them to list their name and comment or question. It’s also a great way for all students to see what their online classmates are thinking, just as if they were in a school classroom asking a question.

Sites: One of Google’s oldest platforms, Google Sites is easiest way for you to create a website for your classroom. Update it as regularly as you wish or simply use your class website to present year long resources, including links to safe websites for research. Many teachers provide a link to Safe Search Engines such as our Google safe search tools.

Assignments: This tool allows teachers to streamline the distribution of assignments to students, as well as analyze and grade all work. Google Assignments integrates into your LMS (Learning Management System after your school administrator has turned on the tool within your domain. Learn more about how it works at https://edu.google.com/intl/en_ca/assignments/

Meet: Here is where you set up your classrooms for distance learning. Just as all of Google for Education tools, it’s free for schools and gives you complete control to meet security and privately. You can block students from using classic Hangouts and Google Chat on their school-managed Chromebooks. You can block all students. Or, set different rules for students in certain groups.

Chrome: There are a lot of benefits to making Google chrome your default browser. First and foremost is the idea that Chrome works best with Google.  Since you’re using all of these Google tools you’re less likely to encounter any snags. Using Google Chrome also allows you to keep everything the same no matter what device you are using thanks for Chrome Sync.   

Gmail: Pretty straight forward here. Your Google email is connected to your Google account and has the same log in to any G Suite tool use, all while maintaining efficient communication between administrators, teachers, and students. Gmail is not required by students to be part of an online class, but they will need a Google account and an alternate email address to get class notifications.

Calendar: The easy way to schedule online classes. Students and parents are always kept “in the loop” and everyone can get reminders about upcoming activities. You can also create multiple calendars that everyone can use together. Use of this app by all participants means students don’t have to create their own calendars to keep track of their schedules.

Contacts: Busy teachers often have different groups they need to communicate with. With G Suite Contacts you can organize and merge your contacts, as well as create personal mailing lists. Quickly send messages to specific groups of people with a single click.

Keep:  The quick way to stay organized.  Create quick lists and add structured information and sub tasks.  Easily access your notes and lists on the web and your mobile devices.   G Suite administrator can control who uses Google Keep within your school. Users who have Keep turned on can use it to create, manage, and share notes within your school.

Admin: G Suite for Education within every school is controlled by an administrator. The Google Admin console is their access to manage all teachers and students using G Suite. There are plenty of free online tutorials to learn how to operate G Suite. Google also provides training for educators to become G Suite administrators to fully utilize the power of G Suite. G Suite courses are held online and are regularly scheduled to continued availability.

Integrate the collaborative power of Google into your LMS

G Suite for Education is a suite of tools that schools can use for free to allow educators and students to interact simply.   Whether school is in session, being held with online classes or a little of both, these G Suite tools consist of essential web based applications.  They allow teachers to plan and implement standard based lessons, manage grades and meet the needs of diverse learners.

A more simple way to explain how G Suite for Education works is that it’s a collection of apps just like you have on your phone. These apps however, are designed for use in educational environments. Some of these apps already exist for any organization needing to engage collectively online, but many with G Suite for Education have been specifically created for teachers and their classrooms. These Google tools will help you to engage students to interact with the content of any lesson presented, including back and forth communication other than just email or live online session.

Three Reasons to Use G Suite in Your Classroom

  1. It’s completely free
  2. Easy Collaboration
  3. Use on any device with one log in.

Never before has G Suite been more essential with many students having to attend their classes online. G Suite tools exists to help you increase opportunities in your everyday work flow for critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity with your students. All of this happens while supporting the standards in learning objectives that you have.

G Suite for Education Apps

You may recognize many of these Google platforms because as mentioned, many of them are not only used for education. G Suite for Education simply groups them all in one place through your Google account, in addition to adding specific apps essential for the online classroom.

Core Services of G Suite for Education

G-Suite for Education

Whether conducting classes in school, online or both, here are the G Suite tools that will make it easier for your students to connect through their each individual Google accounts, just as teachers and administrators are.

Classroom: This is one of the most commonly used G Suite apps but many Google Classroom’s features may not be fully utilized. Even though the classroom is online, it is very secure as only those who are invited can join through a class code emailed to each individual student. Once a classroom is created teachers can can add various classes and sections as needed. Some key features of Google Classroom are:

  • Track classwork and submit assignments.
  • Check originality, feedback, and grades. Share resources and interact in the class stream or by email.
  • Parents and Guardians can get a regular email summary of student’s work.
  • Review announcements and activities.

Drive: Think of Google Drive as a flash drive that is stored on a different computer that you can access from anywhere and from any of your devices. This is the same for students. It’s the easy way to share lesson files or educational videos and everyone in your class will have the latest copies. Add and remove files at will or update documents without having to forward revised materials your students. Drive brings all of the G Suite tools together for easy access on the cloud by everyone in your class.  Inside Google Drive you can create docs, work sheets, slides and forms for various purposes.

Docs: Any document your would normally create, print off and hand our to your students can be created in Google Docs. These docs will be available instantly for your entire class to see. You can restrict these documents from being edited by students, or their may be circumstances when you want to allow editing, if not students then with other teachers or administrators you share documents with.

Sheets: Make your lessons come to life with colorful charts and graphs. Built-in formulas, pivot tables and conditional formatting options save time and simplify common spreadsheet tasks. Choose from a wide variety of budgets, schedules, and other pre-made spreadsheets — all designed to make your work that much better, and your life that much easier.

Slides: Google slides allow you to choose from a variety of presentation themes. There are hundreds of fonts, embedded video and animations as well. A wide array of pitches, portfolios and other pre-made presentations are also available.

Forms: Imagine the ability to create a pop quiz without having to print off copies and wait for students to attend your class? Google Forms is also a great place to get feedback from students. For example, lets say you want to create a place for students to leave questions or comments. Rather than sending out an email and getting overwhelmed with responses, you can create a form for them to list their name and comment or question. It’s also a great way for all students to see what their online classmates are thinking, just as if they were in a school classroom asking a question.

Sites: One of Google’s oldest platforms, Google Sites is easiest way for you to create a website for your classroom. Update it as regularly as you wish or simply use your class website to present year long resources, including links to safe websites for research. Many teachers provide a link to Safe Search Engines such as our Google safe search tools.

Assignments: This tool allows teachers to streamline the distribution of assignments to students, as well as analyze and grade all work. Google Assignments integrates into your LMS (Learning Management System after your school administrator has turned on the tool within your domain. Learn more about how it works at https://edu.google.com/intl/en_ca/assignments/

Meet: Here is where you set up your classrooms for distance learning. Just as all of Google for Education tools, it’s free for schools and gives you complete control to meet security and privately. You can block students from using classic Hangouts and Google Chat on their school-managed Chromebooks. You can block all students. Or, set different rules for students in certain groups.

Chrome: There are a lot of benefits to making Google chrome your default browser. First and foremost is the idea that Chrome works best with Google.  Since you’re using all of these Google tools you’re less likely to encounter any snags. Using Google Chrome also allows you to keep everything the same no matter what device you are using thanks for Chrome Sync.   

Gmail: Pretty straight forward here. Your Google email is connected to your Google account and has the same log in to any G Suite tool use, all while maintaining efficient communication between administrators, teachers, and students. Gmail is not required by students to be part of an online class, but they will need a Google account and an alternate email address to get class notifications.

Calendar: The easy way to schedule online classes. Students and parents are always kept “in the loop” and everyone can get reminders about upcoming activities. You can also create multiple calendars that everyone can use together. Use of this app by all participants means students don’t have to create their own calendars to keep track of their schedules.

Contacts: Busy teachers often have different groups they need to communicate with. With G Suite Contacts you can organize and merge your contacts, as well as create personal mailing lists. Quickly send messages to specific groups of people with a single click.

Keep:  The quick way to stay organized.  Create quick lists and add structured information and sub tasks.  Easily access your notes and lists on the web and your mobile devices.   G Suite administrator can control who uses Google Keep within your school. Users who have Keep turned on can use it to create, manage, and share notes within your school.

Admin: G Suite for Education within every school is controlled by an administrator. The Google Admin console is their access to manage all teachers and students using G Suite. There are plenty of free online tutorials to learn how to operate G Suite. Google also provides training for educators to become G Suite administrators to fully utilize the power of G Suite. G Suite courses are held online and are regularly scheduled to continued availability.

Integrate the collaborative power of Google into your LMS


Direct Links to Our First Page Articles:
G Suite for Education (Free for Schools) | Improve Your Child’s Creative Writing Skills
Fostering Empathy for Bullying Prevention | How to Report a Phishing Email