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Category: Social Media Safety

Anti-Bullying Day! Helping to Stop Bullies All Year!

Anti-Bullying Day

Anti-Bullying Day is a day when the world joins together to stand up against bullying in our schools, on the playground, and online on social media. It’s recognized at different times of the year depending on what country you live in. These are special days that bring awareness and focus to help stop bullying, as well as standing up for those who are currently being bullied.

Parents, teachers and kids of all ages can all work together to ensure no one is ever bullied. Kids can do their part by being a friend to those who are victims of bullying and including them in activities with their group of friends. Even the simple act of sitting with someone in the lunchroom can go a long way to help them feel like they are not alone.

The Origins of Anti-Bullying Day

The idea of Anti-Bullying Day began in Canada in 2007. It’s also called Pink Shirt Day in Canada and takes place on the last Wednesday of February. It began when people came to the defense of a boy who was bullied simply because he wore a pink shirt to school. This is why there is also another day called International Day of Pink, which is held the first week of April.

Countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, France and New Zealand will honor “International STAND UP to Bullying Day” on February 28th or 29th. Schools may call the day by different names, but the goal is always the same; to stop bullying and help those who are currently being bullied.

The United nations declared every May 4th as International Anti-Bullying Day. Regardless of when any country commemorates this important day, it’s vital for all of us to speak out against bullying. It’s a reminder to stand along side those who are bullied – regardless of their age, race or gender.

Bullying has been around since there have been schools, or when any group of friends throughout history have gathered together to play. It only takes one person who feels the need to ‘get their kicks’ out of picking on someone in the group. The invention of the Internet has rapidly spread the problem. Bullies now have the ability reach their victims at home through social media. This is called Cyber Bullying. On the Internet, the effects of bullying can cause even more hurt and damage and do it much more quickly.

Things You Can Do to Stop Bullying

No matter where bullying takes place, it’s important for kids to also stand up against cyberbullying. If you know of someone who is being bullied, tell let your parents, a teacher or school counselor. There are also other things you can personally do to help. As mentioned, sometimes helping means just being a friend to someone who doesn’t have one.

On social media you can stand up for someone by speaking out against harmful comments about another person. It may be by making simple comment in defense of someone. If you see one of your friend connections taking part in bullying, you may want to talk to them about what they are doing. Ending your social media connection with a person who is bullying you or others is also be a very healthy thing to do.

If you being bullying, the first step is to tell an adult you trust. They can guide you in what you can do to help it stop. Sometimes bullying can happen within friendships. If you have a friend who are being cruel to you, this is called a toxic friendship and a toxic relationship. Distance yourself from them. They are not a true friend who cares about you.

You’ve probably heard the term used for people who are watching something happen but are not part of the action. They are called bystanders. If you were walking down the street and an old lady drops her groceries, and you do nothing to help her, you may be called a bystander in a negative way.

The same can be said for bullying. Of course, you always have to make sure you are safe when you help someone, but whether you see injustice against another person in the school yard or on social media, you have to decide. Will you be a bystander who does nothing, or someone who will step in to help? The same can be said for cyber bullying on social media.

How Will You Make a Difference on Anti-Bullying Day?

So, whether your school asks teachers and students to wear pink on your own Anti-Bullying Day or not, it’s important to remember that everyone can make a difference. Remember, a large group of people saying NO to bullying is made up of individuals. If everyone said they can’t make a difference just because they are only one person, many great causes around the world would lose their power. That’s often be referred to as “The Power of One”.

Do you see someone who needs a friend?

Do know of someone who is being bullied?

Maybe you are the one who being bullied.

Talk to someone about how you can stand up for yourself in a safe way, or do something else to prevent it from happening again. Don’t be afraid to block or hide someone from view on social media. You may even decide that a particular social media platform is not for you and delete your account altogether. Talk to your parents about this if you need help.

It’s also ok to have compassion for the bully. They are human too. Why do they do what they do? Which brings us to our final comments on the subject of bullying.

A Final Word for Bullies.

Are you a person who is bullying someone else?

You may wonder why it makes you feel better to be hurtful to others. Perhaps you are involved in other destructive behavior. Maybe you are being bullied or hurt by an adult. Teachers and school counselors are there for you too. Talk to them.

Anti-Bullying Day is a day when the world joins together to stand up against bullying in our schools, on the playground, and online on social media. It’s recognized at different times of the year depending on what country you live in. These are special days that bring awareness and focus to help stop bullying, as well as standing up for those who are currently being bullied.

Parents, teachers and kids of all ages can all work together to ensure no one is ever bullied. Kids can do their part by being a friend to those who are victims of bullying and including them in activities with their group of friends. Even the simple act of sitting with someone in the lunchroom can go a long way to help them feel like they are not alone.

The Origins of Anti-Bullying Day

The idea of Anti-Bullying Day began in Canada in 2007. It’s also called Pink Shirt Day in Canada and takes place on the last Wednesday of February. It began when people came to the defense of a boy who was bullied simply because he wore a pink shirt to school. This is why there is also another day called International Day of Pink, which is held the first week of April.

Countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, France and New Zealand will honor “International STAND UP to Bullying Day” on February 28th or 29th. Schools may call the day by different names, but the goal is always the same; to stop bullying and help those who are currently being bullied.

The United nations declared every May 4th as International Anti-Bullying Day. Regardless of when any country commemorates this important day, it’s vital for all of us to speak out against bullying. It’s a reminder to stand along side those who are bullied – regardless of their age, race or gender.

Bullying has been around since there have been schools, or when any group of friends throughout history have gathered together to play. It only takes one person who feels the need to ‘get their kicks’ out of picking on someone in the group. The invention of the Internet has rapidly spread the problem. Bullies now have the ability reach their victims at home through social media. This is called Cyber Bullying. On the Internet, the effects of bullying can cause even more hurt and damage and do it much more quickly.

Things You Can Do to Stop Bullying

No matter where bullying takes place, it’s important for kids to also stand up against cyberbullying. If you know of someone who is being bullied, tell let your parents, a teacher or school counselor. There are also other things you can personally do to help. As mentioned, sometimes helping means just being a friend to someone who doesn’t have one.

On social media you can stand up for someone by speaking out against harmful comments about another person. It may be by making simple comment in defense of someone. If you see one of your friend connections taking part in bullying, you may want to talk to them about what they are doing. Ending your social media connection with a person who is bullying you or others is also be a very healthy thing to do.

If you being bullying, the first step is to tell an adult you trust. They can guide you in what you can do to help it stop. Sometimes bullying can happen within friendships. If you have a friend who are being cruel to you, this is called a toxic friendship and a toxic relationship. Distance yourself from them. They are not a true friend who cares about you.

You’ve probably heard the term used for people who are watching something happen but are not part of the action. They are called bystanders. If you were walking down the street and an old lady drops her groceries, and you do nothing to help her, you may be called a bystander in a negative way.

The same can be said for bullying. Of course, you always have to make sure you are safe when you help someone, but whether you see injustice against another person in the school yard or on social media, you have to decide. Will you be a bystander who does nothing, or someone who will step in to help? The same can be said for cyber bullying on social media.

How Will You Make a Difference on Anti-Bullying Day?

So, whether your school asks teachers and students to wear pink on your own Anti-Bullying Day or not, it’s important to remember that everyone can make a difference. Remember, a large group of people saying NO to bullying is made up of individuals. If everyone said they can’t make a difference just because they are only one person, many great causes around the world would lose their power. That’s often be referred to as “The Power of One”.

Do you see someone who needs a friend?

Do know of someone who is being bullied?

Maybe you are the one who being bullied.

Talk to someone about how you can stand up for yourself in a safe way, or do something else to prevent it from happening again. Don’t be afraid to block or hide someone from view on social media. You may even decide that a particular social media platform is not for you and delete your account altogether. Talk to your parents about this if you need help.

It’s also ok to have compassion for the bully. They are human too. Why do they do what they do? Which brings us to our final comments on the subject of bullying.

A Final Word for Bullies.

Are you a person who is bullying someone else?

You may wonder why it makes you feel better to be hurtful to others. Perhaps you are involved in other destructive behavior. Maybe you are being bullied or hurt by an adult. Teachers and school counselors are there for you too. Talk to them.

Breaking Down Cyberbullying and Its Prevention

Cyberbullying Prevention

Before the world went online, children worried about being bullied at school, on the playground, or in the park. However, today’s bullies have access to mobile phones, computers, gaming consoles, and other technology. This has led to the rise of cyberbullying, and this type of digital abuse can have far-reaching, devastating consequences.

Let’s take a closer look at it and how to prevent it from happening.

Tactics Of Cyberbullies

People who haven’t experienced cyberbullying might think it begins and ends with mean comments on the victim’s Facebook profile or nasty text messages. Those are a couple of tactics used by cyberbullies, but there are many more.

These are the most common ways in which bullies attack people online:

  • Posting hateful, nasty comments about someone’s body, ethnicity, gender, religion, race, socio-economic background, or other characteristics online
  • Posting embarrassing or hurtful comments about them online
  • Posting or sending them threats of violence
  • Posting comments or sending messages telling them to kill themselves
  • Posting humiliating or mean photos or videos of or directed at the victim
  • Creating a nasty fake profile, blog, or webpage about someone
  • Creating fake profiles to gain personal information about the victim and then posting or sharing that information
  • Creating fake profiles to spread false information about the victim
  • Doxing victims by posting personal information such as their full name, contact details, home address, credit card number, social security, and more

As you can see from these tactics, cyberbullies use electronic devices such as mobile phones to harass, mock, or threaten people intentionally and repeatedly. Victims will agree that the effects can be as hurtful and damaging as face-to-face bullying on the playground, office environment, or anywhere else.

Cyberbullying – The Characteristics

Cyberbullying differs from bullying that happens in person, and the tactics that cyberbullies use have certain characteristics.

These are a few of those characteristics:

Anonymity – Cyberbullying often is anonymous. Bullies hide behind fake profiles, which makes it more challenging to put a stop to them. Not knowing who is behind the abusive behavior can also make it more terrifying for victims.

Difficult to detect – It’s easier for parents to detect physical bullying. For example, mom or dad would notice if Johnny or Bailey came home from school with a black eye or a ripped shirt. It’s far more difficult to detect that a child is receiving threats online if they don’t say anything about it to their parents.

Cyberbullying is ongoing – The persistence of this type of harassment is a major factor. Rather than being limited to school hours, bullies can use their phones or other devices to attack or harass victims at any time of the day or night.

Attacks can be permanent – If others share posts made by cyberbullies, or if online content goes undeleted, their attacks can be permanent. Some social media platforms may delete abusive content if reported, but it can be impossible to track everything shared. Once something has been posted online, it’s difficult to delete it completely.

Cyberbullying can be far-reaching – Due to the nature of the internet and social media platforms, cyberbullying has a much bigger audience than bullying that happens face-to-face. Nasty posts made about someone online can reach thousands of people around the world in a few minutes.

Cyberbullying Has Serious Effects

According to UNICEF, victims of cyberbullying often feel as though there is no escape. Whether they are at home, school, or anywhere else, they know that the bully can strike at any moment. The constant threat of attack can have serious consequences.

Cyberbullying can cause stress-related physical problems such as tension headaches, stomach aches or stomach upsets, and sleep loss. It can also have an emotional impact by making the victims feel ashamed about the things they enjoy. And it can cause mental anguish by making victims feel angry, embarrassed, stupid, or upset.

Some victims of cyberbullying have been made to feel so ashamed, embarrassed, and upset that they’ve never spoken out. Of course, the bullying did not stop. It got so bad that the victims took their own lives in some situations because they could not deal with it any longer.

Parents and children need to understand that, as terrible as cyberbullying can be, it’s not the end of the road for the victim. They can regain their peace of mind and confidence again. This takes time and possibly counseling, but recovery is possible.

Cyberbullying Prevention Tips For Young People

Arguments between people happen from time to time, and they’re normal. However, if someone is repeatedly nasty to you for no fault of your own, it’s bullying. Don’t blame yourself for it, because no one deserves to be bullied.

Save the evidence of bullying. Whether the cyberbully sends text messages, posts on Facebook, or leaves nasty comments on Instagram, save the messages, download the videos, or take screenshots of the posts. Evidence may help authorities take action if you have to proceed with a bullying lawsuit to end the harassment.

Do not retaliate. Your upset or angry response may add fuel to the fire. If bullies know they’re getting to you, they’re likely to continue. If you know the bully’s identity, don’t retaliate in vengeance because that will turn you into a bully too. Instead, save the evidence and seek help.

Tell someone you trust. Even if it seems difficult or embarrassing, telling a parent, relative, friend, or teacher what’s happening can be one of the best things you can do for yourself.

Cyberbullying Prevention Tips For Parents

Follow or befriend your child on social media. This way, you can keep an eye on what they’re doing and what others are saying in response to them.

Educate your child. Tell them about not accepting friend requests from strangers, and warn against posting personal information and compromising photos online.

Be proactive. If you see cyberbullying taking place, report the posts – even if your child is not the victim.

Cyberbullying is one of the downsides of the digital age. Victims need all the support they can get, while bullies need to learn that good people will not accept their vile behavior.

Meta Title: A Look At Cyberbullying And Prevention Tips | Safe Search Kids

Meta Description: Cyberbullying is a horrible reality of the digital age. Take a closer look at its tactics and characteristics, and at tips that can help prevent it.

Before the world went online, children worried about being bullied at school, on the playground, or in the park. However, today’s bullies have access to mobile phones, computers, gaming consoles, and other technology. This has led to the rise of cyberbullying, and this type of digital abuse can have far-reaching, devastating consequences.

Let’s take a closer look at it and how to prevent it from happening.

Tactics Of Cyberbullies

People who haven’t experienced cyberbullying might think it begins and ends with mean comments on the victim’s Facebook profile or nasty text messages. Those are a couple of tactics used by cyberbullies, but there are many more.

These are the most common ways in which bullies attack people online:

  • Posting hateful, nasty comments about someone’s body, ethnicity, gender, religion, race, socio-economic background, or other characteristics online
  • Posting embarrassing or hurtful comments about them online
  • Posting or sending them threats of violence
  • Posting comments or sending messages telling them to kill themselves
  • Posting humiliating or mean photos or videos of or directed at the victim
  • Creating a nasty fake profile, blog, or webpage about someone
  • Creating fake profiles to gain personal information about the victim and then posting or sharing that information
  • Creating fake profiles to spread false information about the victim
  • Doxing victims by posting personal information such as their full name, contact details, home address, credit card number, social security, and more

As you can see from these tactics, cyberbullies use electronic devices such as mobile phones to harass, mock, or threaten people intentionally and repeatedly. Victims will agree that the effects can be as hurtful and damaging as face-to-face bullying on the playground, office environment, or anywhere else.

Cyberbullying – The Characteristics

Cyberbullying differs from bullying that happens in person, and the tactics that cyberbullies use have certain characteristics.

These are a few of those characteristics:

Anonymity – Cyberbullying often is anonymous. Bullies hide behind fake profiles, which makes it more challenging to put a stop to them. Not knowing who is behind the abusive behavior can also make it more terrifying for victims.

Difficult to detect – It’s easier for parents to detect physical bullying. For example, mom or dad would notice if Johnny or Bailey came home from school with a black eye or a ripped shirt. It’s far more difficult to detect that a child is receiving threats online if they don’t say anything about it to their parents.

Cyberbullying is ongoing – The persistence of this type of harassment is a major factor. Rather than being limited to school hours, bullies can use their phones or other devices to attack or harass victims at any time of the day or night.

Attacks can be permanent – If others share posts made by cyberbullies, or if online content goes undeleted, their attacks can be permanent. Some social media platforms may delete abusive content if reported, but it can be impossible to track everything shared. Once something has been posted online, it’s difficult to delete it completely.

Cyberbullying can be far-reaching – Due to the nature of the internet and social media platforms, cyberbullying has a much bigger audience than bullying that happens face-to-face. Nasty posts made about someone online can reach thousands of people around the world in a few minutes.

Cyberbullying Has Serious Effects

According to UNICEF, victims of cyberbullying often feel as though there is no escape. Whether they are at home, school, or anywhere else, they know that the bully can strike at any moment. The constant threat of attack can have serious consequences.

Cyberbullying can cause stress-related physical problems such as tension headaches, stomach aches or stomach upsets, and sleep loss. It can also have an emotional impact by making the victims feel ashamed about the things they enjoy. And it can cause mental anguish by making victims feel angry, embarrassed, stupid, or upset.

Some victims of cyberbullying have been made to feel so ashamed, embarrassed, and upset that they’ve never spoken out. Of course, the bullying did not stop. It got so bad that the victims took their own lives in some situations because they could not deal with it any longer.

Parents and children need to understand that, as terrible as cyberbullying can be, it’s not the end of the road for the victim. They can regain their peace of mind and confidence again. This takes time and possibly counseling, but recovery is possible.

Cyberbullying Prevention Tips For Young People

Arguments between people happen from time to time, and they’re normal. However, if someone is repeatedly nasty to you for no fault of your own, it’s bullying. Don’t blame yourself for it, because no one deserves to be bullied.

Save the evidence of bullying. Whether the cyberbully sends text messages, posts on Facebook, or leaves nasty comments on Instagram, save the messages, download the videos, or take screenshots of the posts. Evidence may help authorities take action if you have to proceed with a bullying lawsuit to end the harassment.

Do not retaliate. Your upset or angry response may add fuel to the fire. If bullies know they’re getting to you, they’re likely to continue. If you know the bully’s identity, don’t retaliate in vengeance because that will turn you into a bully too. Instead, save the evidence and seek help.

Tell someone you trust. Even if it seems difficult or embarrassing, telling a parent, relative, friend, or teacher what’s happening can be one of the best things you can do for yourself.

Cyberbullying Prevention Tips For Parents

Follow or befriend your child on social media. This way, you can keep an eye on what they’re doing and what others are saying in response to them.

Educate your child. Tell them about not accepting friend requests from strangers, and warn against posting personal information and compromising photos online.

Be proactive. If you see cyberbullying taking place, report the posts – even if your child is not the victim.

Cyberbullying is one of the downsides of the digital age. Victims need all the support they can get, while bullies need to learn that good people will not accept their vile behavior.

Meta Title: A Look At Cyberbullying And Prevention Tips | Safe Search Kids

Meta Description: Cyberbullying is a horrible reality of the digital age. Take a closer look at its tactics and characteristics, and at tips that can help prevent it.

Social Media Safety Tips Are Not only for Kids

Kids sometimes feel insulted or frustrated when always warned by adults about the dangers of social media. They shouldn’t be. Just because someone has more life experience and education doesn’t mean they won’t make stupid mistakes on social media.

The Internet is full of frightening and sometimes laughable stories about adults who should know better getting in serious trouble over social media activity.

Young adults with high enough marks to apply for college will probably find that their social media history could prevent them from higher education. Admissions officers at universities and colleges commonly read a candidate’s Facebook page before deciding to accept his or her application.

Some goes as far as to search for candidate’s who have been tagged by friends to see pictures of that candidate’s behavior.

Rude and mean behavior isn’t all that recruiters look for; some potential students have lost athletic scholarships valuing in the hundreds of thousands of dollars because they posted pictures of injuries which scared off sports recruiters.

The scrutiny continues when adults apply for work. An on-line site published by Time Magazine reported that 93% of businesses check out an applicant’s tweets and posts before offering the person a job. Any behavior that reflects poorly on a company will tend to have a resume tossed to the side.

Even adult with good, solid jobs have to be careful on-line. People have lost their jobs because bosses saw posts critical to the business. Workers have been fired or reprimanded when bosses spotted posts that were made during work hours or found tweets where employees complained about their jobs in off-work hours.

Privacy settings don’t keep adults safe, either. Friends can like a post or re-tweet a few words that can easily be found by others.

You don’t even have to post words or pictures for social media to get into trouble.

In 2015, an Australian woman had a real-life dispute with a co-worker in her office. She later went home and unfriended the co-worker. A job-place tribunal found the woman guilty of cyberbullying—all because she hit the unfriend button.

Adults are absolutely correct when they lecture kids about being smart with social media. With more experience in dealing with life and the world, adults have a better grasp of dangers that lurk on-line. Yet all that experience and knowledge can’t prevent adults from getting into trouble with posts and tweets.

Regardless of age or education, anyone can get into trouble or be personally damaged by a simple slip on social media.

Kids sometimes feel insulted or frustrated when always warned by adults about the dangers of social media. They shouldn’t be. Just because someone has more life experience and education doesn’t mean they won’t make stupid mistakes on social media.

The Internet is full of frightening and sometimes laughable stories about adults who should know better getting in serious trouble over social media activity.

Young adults with high enough marks to apply for college will probably find that their social media history could prevent them from higher education. Admissions officers at universities and colleges commonly read a candidate’s Facebook page before deciding to accept his or her application.

Some goes as far as to search for candidate’s who have been tagged by friends to see pictures of that candidate’s behavior.

Rude and mean behavior isn’t all that recruiters look for; some potential students have lost athletic scholarships valuing in the hundreds of thousands of dollars because they posted pictures of injuries which scared off sports recruiters.

The scrutiny continues when adults apply for work. An on-line site published by Time Magazine reported that 93% of businesses check out an applicant’s tweets and posts before offering the person a job. Any behavior that reflects poorly on a company will tend to have a resume tossed to the side.

Even adult with good, solid jobs have to be careful on-line. People have lost their jobs because bosses saw posts critical to the business. Workers have been fired or reprimanded when bosses spotted posts that were made during work hours or found tweets where employees complained about their jobs in off-work hours.

Privacy settings don’t keep adults safe, either. Friends can like a post or re-tweet a few words that can easily be found by others.

You don’t even have to post words or pictures for social media to get into trouble.

In 2015, an Australian woman had a real-life dispute with a co-worker in her office. She later went home and unfriended the co-worker. A job-place tribunal found the woman guilty of cyberbullying—all because she hit the unfriend button.

Adults are absolutely correct when they lecture kids about being smart with social media. With more experience in dealing with life and the world, adults have a better grasp of dangers that lurk on-line. Yet all that experience and knowledge can’t prevent adults from getting into trouble with posts and tweets.

Regardless of age or education, anyone can get into trouble or be personally damaged by a simple slip on social media.

When Friends are Upset 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 online, 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 online, 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?”

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