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Category: Stuff for Your Brain

When Friends are Upset on Social Media

Friends on Social Media

Jill knows that Ringo — her fluffy spotted puppy — can understand her. Whenever she’s on her phone, Ringo sits politely at her feet and stares at her with round, brown eyes. Today, Jill read her social media posts to him. “Look,” she said, “Zazza is mad at Sam because he got into the school band and she didn’t”.

Jill continued. “Zazza said Sam got in because he gave the teacher a flower before auditions. They’re both my friends and I don’t know what to say.”

Ringo cocked his head and sniffed at the phone.

Jill sighed. “I know what you mean, Ringo. They’re both my friends. If I post something that makes Zazza feel good, it will make Sam mad. If I post something that makes Sam happy, Zazza will be upset. What should I do?”

Ringo flattened on the floor and covered his ears with his fuzzy white paws.

Jill crossed her arms.  “You really think I should just stay out of it?”

Ringo sat up and panted.

“You’re right. Zazza is hurt right now, but she does so much, she’ll forget about it in a few days. Maybe I should wait ‘til I see her in person and tell her I’m sorry she didn’t get on the band.”

Ringo’s tail started sweeping the floor.

“You like that idea? That way, Zazza will l know I care and I won’t make Sam mad. After all, he’s my friend, too.”

Ringo let his long tongue flop out of the side of his mouth. Then he gave a deep, strong, “Woof.”

Jill nodded. “You’re smart. If I post something on line, it will look like I’m taking sides between two people I like. If I talk to them in person, I’ll be a real friend instead of just someone who on comments online.”

Ringo panted happily. He liked people when they talked to each other in person. Being a dog, he knew that real friends share real time in the real world.

Online friends can’t throw sticks for you. They can’t sneak you a pizza crust when parents aren’t looking. Online friends can’t scratch your ears or take you for a walk. They can’t hug you or fill your water bowl. That’s why Ringo knows that what happens online is only part of being a friend. Being a real friend means being supportive in the real world and being kind in the real world.

Jill got off social media and phoned Sam. She congratulated him for getting on the band. Then she called Zazza and invited her over for pizza night.

That’s when Jill’s phone beeped. She looked at the message. “This is your Mom. Didn’t you forget something else in the real world?”

Jill smiled and tossed down her phone. “Hey, Mom,” she yelled into the kitchen. “Is it okay if Zazza comes over for pizza?”

Jill knows that Ringo — her fluffy spotted puppy — can understand her. Whenever she’s on her phone, Ringo sits politely at her feet and stares at her with round, brown eyes. Today, Jill read her social media posts to him. “Look,” she said, “Zazza is mad at Sam because he got into the school band and she didn’t”.

Jill continued. “Zazza said Sam got in because he gave the teacher a flower before auditions. They’re both my friends and I don’t know what to say.”

Ringo cocked his head and sniffed at the phone.

Jill sighed. “I know what you mean, Ringo. They’re both my friends. If I post something that makes Zazza feel good, it will make Sam mad. If I post something that makes Sam happy, Zazza will be upset. What should I do?”

Ringo flattened on the floor and covered his ears with his fuzzy white paws.

Jill crossed her arms.  “You really think I should just stay out of it?”

Ringo sat up and panted.

“You’re right. Zazza is hurt right now, but she does so much, she’ll forget about it in a few days. Maybe I should wait ‘til I see her in person and tell her I’m sorry she didn’t get on the band.”

Ringo’s tail started sweeping the floor.

“You like that idea? That way, Zazza will l know I care and I won’t make Sam mad. After all, he’s my friend, too.”

Ringo let his long tongue flop out of the side of his mouth. Then he gave a deep, strong, “Woof.”

Jill nodded. “You’re smart. If I post something on line, it will look like I’m taking sides between two people I like. If I talk to them in person, I’ll be a real friend instead of just someone who on comments online.”

Ringo panted happily. He liked people when they talked to each other in person. Being a dog, he knew that real friends share real time in the real world.

Online friends can’t throw sticks for you. They can’t sneak you a pizza crust when parents aren’t looking. Online friends can’t scratch your ears or take you for a walk. They can’t hug you or fill your water bowl. That’s why Ringo knows that what happens online is only part of being a friend. Being a real friend means being supportive in the real world and being kind in the real world.

Jill got off social media and phoned Sam. She congratulated him for getting on the band. Then she called Zazza and invited her over for pizza night.

That’s when Jill’s phone beeped. She looked at the message. “This is your Mom. Didn’t you forget something else in the real world?”

Jill smiled and tossed down her phone. “Hey, Mom,” she yelled into the kitchen. “Is it okay if Zazza comes over for pizza?”

A Letter from Your Computer

Kids Computer Safety

Dear Human. Thank you for taking the time to listen to me. After all, we spend a lot of time together. Together, we explore the big, wide world. We play, we learn and we visit with friends. But I need to be honest with you. There are some things you do that make me feel bad.

I don’t like it when you click on bad and ugly pictures.

They make me uncomfortable and sometimes when you look at ugly pictures, I get hurt. The people who post that gross stuff also stick viruses in the picture. By clicking on those pictures, you can accidentally download a virus which could make me sick.

If I get infected, I’d have to go to the computer doctor to get fixed. While I’m being repaired, you won’t have me to play with. I’d miss you. Please, watch out for gross pictures and websites with creepy names.

I know you want to watch that new movie that just came out, but think before you click. Streaming and downloading sites are filled with all sorts of malware. When you steam a movie or download that show, you could also be downloading spyware or phishing software.

Some stranger far away can then look inside of me and take your pictures and emails and videos. Then can even break me so bad that I can’t play with you anymore. Please, take care of me. Don’t stream or download unless your parents have a subscription with a business they can trust.

Also, I don’t like it when you use me to hurt others.

It might seem like fun to you or a way to show friends how clever you are, but those mean words sting. I’m your friend, not some goon you use to push people around. Please, be nice when you use me. Be polite. Remember, computers are supposed to better the life of humans, not bully people around.

I’m your friend. I’m your study buddy. I’m on your gaming team. I’m the tool that can take you all the way around the world while you sit safe in your home. Let’s share the world together. Think before you click.

Yours truly,
Your Computer.

P.S.  My friends—your cell phone and play station—wanted me to remind you that they feel the same way that I do.

Dear Human. Thank you for taking the time to listen to me. After all, we spend a lot of time together. Together, we explore the big, wide world. We play, we learn and we visit with friends. But I need to be honest with you. There are some things you do that make me feel bad.

I don’t like it when you click on bad and ugly pictures.

They make me uncomfortable and sometimes when you look at ugly pictures, I get hurt. The people who post that gross stuff also stick viruses in the picture. By clicking on those pictures, you can accidentally download a virus which could make me sick.

If I get infected, I’d have to go to the computer doctor to get fixed. While I’m being repaired, you won’t have me to play with. I’d miss you. Please, watch out for gross pictures and websites with creepy names.

I know you want to watch that new movie that just came out, but think before you click. Streaming and downloading sites are filled with all sorts of malware. When you steam a movie or download that show, you could also be downloading spyware or phishing software.

Some stranger far away can then look inside of me and take your pictures and emails and videos. Then can even break me so bad that I can’t play with you anymore. Please, take care of me. Don’t stream or download unless your parents have a subscription with a business they can trust.

Also, I don’t like it when you use me to hurt others.

It might seem like fun to you or a way to show friends how clever you are, but those mean words sting. I’m your friend, not some goon you use to push people around. Please, be nice when you use me. Be polite. Remember, computers are supposed to better the life of humans, not bully people around.

I’m your friend. I’m your study buddy. I’m on your gaming team. I’m the tool that can take you all the way around the world while you sit safe in your home. Let’s share the world together. Think before you click.

Yours truly,
Your Computer.

P.S.  My friends—your cell phone and play station—wanted me to remind you that they feel the same way that I do.

Why Do People Post Fake News?

The world is buzzing with false media. Trolls are being investigated by police in the U.S., New Zealand, South Africa, Germany, Canada—in fact pretty much any country that has social media platforms. Britain has seen a wide variety of “missing kids” posts that receive lots of re-tweets and posts but turn out to be false.

The stress, panic and damage such posts cause to families and individuals can even be handled as a criminal matter. Why do people post false news?

Think about yourself. Suppose that you see two friends walking down the street. One girl–say, Linda–suddenly waves to a car that swerves over to let her in before swerving and speeding away. Later you hear that Linda didn’t show up at an after-school group. Nor has she posted anything on social media for hours. You start texting with a friend and after a few minutes you start to think Linda may have been kidnapped. You upload a post describing the last time you saw Linda and for a headline you type: Was Linda Kidnapped?

The headline is so striking, everyone clicks on it to read about Linda. Everybody who knows Linda shares the story and likes your post. You’ve never had so many hits on your page.

Studies have shown that likes and shares are the main reasons people post false or misleading news—they enjoy seeing the numbers climb higher than they’ve ever had before.

Meanwhile, Linda’s parents are freaking out. They try to call Linda and find her cell isn’t on. Only later, after frantic calls to the police who start a search and show up at your home to interview you, does Linda call home—she’d been at a swimming hole with her cousin and for three hours and didn’t have cell service.

This little story isn’t that far-fetched. People of all ages—not just kids—post stories not because they are true, but because the grim details get likes and shares. Major news sources do it because when more people click on their stories they can charge more for advertising. People do it to get more attention on social media.

How does this matter to you? Think about this: In some situations, people have been jailed for posting fake news. Some have been jailed simply for sharing fake news.  Worst of all, people have had to struggle through heart-ache and pain because someone posted fake information about their homes being burnt, about loved ones missing and killed.

More personally, if you are caught posting fake news, you will never be viewed as a real source ever again. People will read what you say and down-vote it. If you’ve been linked to false news, people will not believe what you post.

In these days of false news, multi-million dollar news outlets, from newspapers to globally-televised broadcast stations to top-rated website, all suffer when they report stories that fudge or play with facts. Don’t let that happen to you.

The world is buzzing with false media. Trolls are being investigated by police in the U.S., New Zealand, South Africa, Germany, Canada—in fact pretty much any country that has social media platforms. Britain has seen a wide variety of “missing kids” posts that receive lots of re-tweets and posts but turn out to be false.

The stress, panic and damage such posts cause to families and individuals can even be handled as a criminal matter. Why do people post false news?

Think about yourself. Suppose that you see two friends walking down the street. One girl–say, Linda–suddenly waves to a car that swerves over to let her in before swerving and speeding away. Later you hear that Linda didn’t show up at an after-school group. Nor has she posted anything on social media for hours. You start texting with a friend and after a few minutes you start to think Linda may have been kidnapped. You upload a post describing the last time you saw Linda and for a headline you type: Was Linda Kidnapped?

The headline is so striking, everyone clicks on it to read about Linda. Everybody who knows Linda shares the story and likes your post. You’ve never had so many hits on your page.

Studies have shown that likes and shares are the main reasons people post false or misleading news—they enjoy seeing the numbers climb higher than they’ve ever had before.

Meanwhile, Linda’s parents are freaking out. They try to call Linda and find her cell isn’t on. Only later, after frantic calls to the police who start a search and show up at your home to interview you, does Linda call home—she’d been at a swimming hole with her cousin and for three hours and didn’t have cell service.

This little story isn’t that far-fetched. People of all ages—not just kids—post stories not because they are true, but because the grim details get likes and shares. Major news sources do it because when more people click on their stories they can charge more for advertising. People do it to get more attention on social media.

How does this matter to you? Think about this: In some situations, people have been jailed for posting fake news. Some have been jailed simply for sharing fake news.  Worst of all, people have had to struggle through heart-ache and pain because someone posted fake information about their homes being burnt, about loved ones missing and killed.

More personally, if you are caught posting fake news, you will never be viewed as a real source ever again. People will read what you say and down-vote it. If you’ve been linked to false news, people will not believe what you post.

In these days of false news, multi-million dollar news outlets, from newspapers to globally-televised broadcast stations to top-rated website, all suffer when they report stories that fudge or play with facts. Don’t let that happen to you.

The Back to School List just for Kids

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 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.

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 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.

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