Category: Articles for Kids

The Back to School List just for Kids

Back to School List

Everywhere you look someone is telling you to get ready to go back to school. Stores are urging you to come get your supplies and new clothes. Parents are reminding you to get your bus passes and clean out your closet. Websites post lists for you to read through and check off before the first day of class.

This list is different.

This is the back to school list just for kids.

1) Did you do everything that you wanted to do this summer?

Think back to before summer break. Is there an activity you planned on doing? Is there a hobby you wanted to spend more time on? How about a friend you wanted to see during the holidays? Did you hope to arrange a treasure hunt or put new wheels on your skateboard?

Think hard—then act. There is still time to take care of that one great idea.

2) You’ve grown up a little over the summer—so should your personal space.

Take a minute and think about your room, your desk and even the posters on your wall. Go through your clothes and try them on. Jeans and shirts that don’t fit should go in a pile to give to your Mom or Dad. Do the same with your action figures, your posters, the cool stuff you have on your desk.

Looking through your personal space and seeing what “doesn’t fit anymore” will show you how much a life can change in a couple short months.

3) Now, do some house cleaning on your social media.

Many people–and that includes kids–are going through their settings. They are cutting out “friends” from the people they really know from actual flesh-and-blood life. Many recommend taking a good, long look at your social media privacy settings.

Make sure that when you post a personal detail, only real human beings that you know can see what you’ve written. A good rule of thumb is: Would you feel okay hanging alone in your room with this person? If the answer is, “Geez, I dunno,” then think hard about giving that person a look inside your life.

4) Relax.

School is a phase of life that takes you into the future. You’ll be going to classes that don’t seem to make sense and doing homework that doesn’t seem to have any purpose.

For some of you, people might be asking you about college or university and great future plans. The best thing for you to do before you walk into that big crowded building is to just relax. Do your best and the rest will come.


Parents learn how to prepare kids for their first day or school

How You Can Help Stop Cyberbullying

How You Can Help Stop Cyberbullying

Do you know what a bystander is?  It’s someone who watches an event taking place from the side lines.  They do not interact or take part in what is happening.  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. Yet, they don’t do anything to help stop it.

Are you a Cyberbully Bystander?

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.

Are you being bullied, whether on the playground or online?  We know it hurts.  Here are some things you can do when you are bullied.

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.


FamiSafe and Safe Search Kids have joined together to stop cyberbullying, as well as prevent it and help those who are victims. It’s a sad fact. Cyberbullying can can spread to anywhere the internet can reach, which is pretty much everywhere. So, we all need to work together.

You can do your part with The No Cyberbullying Challenge.  Simply make an anti-cyberbullying post with the hashtags: #FamiSafe #NoCyberbullying. Every little bit helps in preventing and stopping the internet being used for harm instead of good.

Do You See Images in the Clouds?

Pareidolia Images in the Clouds

Flat on the grass, face to the sky, you’ve probably gazed up and picked out shapes in the clouds: dogs, trees, ice cream cones and almost anything else. Or you’ve looked up at the moon and seen a face.

The ability to do this isn’t a sign that you’re seeing things; it tells you that your brain is performing a job that is not only normal, it may have helped keep early human beings alive.

The ability for the brain to see familiar shapes in random things is called pareidolia. No, the clouds aren’t really shaped like lions or two birds kissing. That’s simply your brain trying to make sense of shapes that have no sense.

People who study pareidolia have different ideas on why this is an important skill for our brains to perform.

One theory goes back to when humans lived in the wild. With all the dangers that can lurk in forests and jungles, the ability to spot danger—or safety—can be the difference between life and death. A human who can more quickly spot a predator can get a heads start on running away.

Another theory is found in the eyes of babies. With all the new shapes in the world, babies are instinctively drawn to faces. They will stare at a face for longer and more intently than any other thing in their new lives.

Some researchers say that babies can recognize familiar faces just weeks after being born.

Pareidolia is part of this learning process, because the brain, experts think, looks for faces. It looks for faces in stains on a wall, in clouds, in leaves –in almost anything.

In many famous instances, people have seen the faces of familiar people in food, like the almost infamous example of the image of Mother Theresa found on a cinnamon roll. Abraham Lincoln and George Washington have both been spotted in chicken nuggets. Kate Middleton’s face was seen on a jelly bean. These are all examples of pareidolia, seeing something –or someone—familiar in a totally unrelated object.

Counsellors sometimes use pareidolia to get insight into the minds of clients. This is done using a Rorschach Test.

This test uses totally random ink blotches. Psychologist believe that when clients look at the blotches, the thoughts on their mind will be revealed in what the client says they see in the blotches. If that theory is correct, then perhaps clouds are nature’s Rorschach test.

Next time you are staring at wall paper or embers in a fire or clouds in the sky and suddenly see a face, remember: There is nothing wrong with you. Your brain is doing one of the many extraordinary tasks it is wired to do: use pareidolia to help make sense of the world.

Writing an Argumentative Essay: A Middle School Guide to Writing

Writing an Argumentative Essay

An argument, who hasn’t been in one? We argue on the school playground, argue with a best friend, argue whose best friend is better. We’ve all either been in an argument or tried our hardest to avoid one, but what happens when you have to write about one? Did anyone groan at that question?

Have no fear! This article is here with quick and effective tips that will help you write a great argumentative essay, no matter what you’re arguing.

Tip #1: Pick a side, any side

It can’t be an argumentative essay if you don’t know what you’re arguing for or against. The simplest way to start an argument is to know what side you’re arguing for and to stick to the side until the very end. Sometimes the simplest statements of “I think. . .” or “I believe. . .” are a great way to start thinking about what side of the argument you’re on.

Here are some questions: Should schools push back their start time? Should healthy lunch meals be served to every student? Do you like the color black or blue?

Tip # 2: But Why?

Because I felt like it! If only that could be a valid reason for everything you have to explain (it’s not). But it’s not that complicated either. You picked a side of the argument, but you have to have reasons explaining why that side. The magic number to remember here is three. Any good argument needs to have at least three reasons that support your claim, and you get them by asking why.

  • Why did you pick the color blue—? Give three reasons.
  • Why should school days start later? Give three reasons.
  • Why this School?  Give three reasons.

Remember, your argument is only as strong as your reasons. The sentence that has the chosen argument and three reasons to support the argument is what we call a thesis statement. That is if you want to sound all fancy and impress everyone around you!

Tip # 3: Find A Partner

A key to any good argument is finding good, strong evidence. In other words, find people who know what they are talking about, have been published properly, and now have come to your rescue. It’s an important element in your argumentative essay to have evidence that supports what you’re arguing for. The support could come in many forms: quotes, expert opinions, graphs, charts, or any form of data.

For instance, if you argue that school should serve healthy lunch for reason a, b, and c, then you need to find people that will support those reasons. The magic number here is two. Two pieces of strong evidence to support each reason. (When did an argumentative essay become a test in knowing how to add?)

Tip #4: Know Your Opponents

It’s just as important to know the other side of the argument as well as knowing yours. Wait. . . Why?!

You must address the other side of the argument in your essay, so that you can counterargue it.  The whole mission of the argumentative essay is to make a strong case for your side, and nothing makes a stronger argument than knowing what the other side is thinking. It’s called being prepared with the counterclaim, and having a strong rebuttal to prove your argument is stronger. This takes more good research.

The key here is to be prepared to defend your side till the very end. And yes, all this work is happening through writing. Let’s not forget that while playing mind chess!

Tip # 5: Take A Bow

Here’s the grand finale, time to put it all together. You’ve done all the hard work of thinking of good reasons to support your argumentative essay and then of finding strong evidence to support those reasons. Now is not the time to confuse your readers! Simply leave them with a thought about your side of the argument. Keep it short, neat, and clean!

These are the five basic rules to keep in your back pocket when writing an argumentative essay. Remember, writing is a process, so always be open to feedback and revisions. Happy writing!

Article provided by VSA Future; offering virtual classes for your child.