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Category: Social Media Safety

Anti-Bullying Day! How You Can Help Stop Bullying Everyday of the 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 Ant-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. The 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 Ant-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. The 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.

You’ll Never Grow Out Of Trouble

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.

Social Media Safety! To Post or Not to Post

kids social media edicate

Wow! You learned how to do the front crawl, earned $63 dollars with your lemonade stand and your whole family spent a week at a resort all the way across the country. And every day of your summer break, as your thumb hovers over your phone, you need to ask yourself one question: Should I post this?

As you think about that great picture of your sister with cotton candy all over her face, remember one of the basic rules of social media posting: Do not post a picture of anybody without that person’s permission. That includes your sister. Remember, too, that while you might get a laugh at an embarrassing picture of your brother and his bar-b-que sauce accident, posting that picture could be something you regret for years to come.

Another thought to go over as your fingers find the post icon is this: How many pictures do I post? The answer: As few as possible.

When you send picture after picture after picture after picture, people start to get annoyed. It can also seem a little desperate to load your page with dozens of images from the same place. Better to choose two or three cool shots to post and save the rest to show your close friends when you get home.

When typing text on social media, less is also better. Shorter posts are more likely to be read and less likely to contain detailed, personal details that could be used to harm you or your family.

It’s also more fun to show pictures and describe details in person. Then you can make sure that you only share with friends that are close enough to meet face-to-face. You can see the looks on their faces when you tell them about that awesome midway ride.

Considering that you will have more free time to post on social media, this is a good time to double check your privacy settings. It’s also a good time to go through your “friends” and truly think about who you really—really—know. When you go through the list, you could find people that are complete strangers to you.

Summer is a time when you have more freedom to explore and enjoy the real world. So grab that opportunity. Put down your phone and truly experience your summer vacation. What you do this summer can change how you feel, think and what you do for the rest of your life.

Yes, it’s great to have pictures and share the experience with your “friends.” What’s more important is the way reality can shape who you are. Take it easy on the social media and discover that the most important “posts” are the ones that you carry in your head and your heart and share by how you live.

Wow! You learned how to do the front crawl, earned $63 dollars with your lemonade stand and your whole family spent a week at a resort all the way across the country. And every day of your summer break, as your thumb hovers over your phone, you need to ask yourself one question: Should I post this?

As you think about that great picture of your sister with cotton candy all over her face, remember one of the basic rules of social media posting: Do not post a picture of anybody without that person’s permission. That includes your sister. Remember, too, that while you might get a laugh at an embarrassing picture of your brother and his bar-b-que sauce accident, posting that picture could be something you regret for years to come.

Another thought to go over as your fingers find the post icon is this: How many pictures do I post? The answer: As few as possible.

When you send picture after picture after picture after picture, people start to get annoyed. It can also seem a little desperate to load your page with dozens of images from the same place. Better to choose two or three cool shots to post and save the rest to show your close friends when you get home.

When typing text on social media, less is also better. Shorter posts are more likely to be read and less likely to contain detailed, personal details that could be used to harm you or your family.

It’s also more fun to show pictures and describe details in person. Then you can make sure that you only share with friends that are close enough to meet face-to-face. You can see the looks on their faces when you tell them about that awesome midway ride.

Considering that you will have more free time to post on social media, this is a good time to double check your privacy settings. It’s also a good time to go through your “friends” and truly think about who you really—really—know. When you go through the list, you could find people that are complete strangers to you.

Summer is a time when you have more freedom to explore and enjoy the real world. So grab that opportunity. Put down your phone and truly experience your summer vacation. What you do this summer can change how you feel, think and what you do for the rest of your life.

Yes, it’s great to have pictures and share the experience with your “friends.” What’s more important is the way reality can shape who you are. Take it easy on the social media and discover that the most important “posts” are the ones that you carry in your head and your heart and share by how you live.

How to Raise Healthy Kids in a Digital Age

Raising Healthy Kids in a Digital World

Parenting has always been a challenge, and it’s only become more complex as children are born into and grow up in the digital age. We don’t understand all the effects of social media, online gaming, and other screen time activities on children, and we continue to receive conflicting information.

Sometimes the kids understand tech better than their parents. And how can parents monitor what their kids are doing in the digital world? There’s a lot to think about, but fundamental truths haven’t changed.

As with any other aspect of life, raising healthy kids in the digital age calls for flexibility, creativity, openness, and leading by example. Create space for a digital presence in your child’s world proactively so you can shape it rather than it taking over. 

Aim for compromise

Screens are ubiquitous. Even if you don’t allow them at home, kids will be exposed to them at school or at friends’ and relatives’ homes. So strive for balance, rather than complete restriction. Decide when you’re ready to let your kid have their own smartphone or tablet, and have some conversations with them ahead of time about what they’ll use it for and how often. Some parents make a contract with their kids. If you do this, check in regularly to see what your child is doing and address any violations to your agreement in a timely manner. If you remember that it’s probably a matter of when, not if, they break one of the rules, you’ll be able to keep a calmer head when that time comes. 

Educate about cyberbullying

No one wants their kid to be bullied, online or off, and what’s more, no parent wants to find out their kid is bullying someone else. Before screens, the rules could be learned in social settings and at school. But with the relative lack of oversight and anonymity digital tools offer, it’s easier for kids (and adults, for that matter) to be mean to each other. Have a direct conversation with your children about what cyberbullying is and how to respond if it happens to them or they witness it. Hint: It’s better to respond and seek resolution in person than online. 

Use video chat

It’s no secret that sitting in front of a screen for hours on end isn’t the best for kids. But do we really know just what the effects of screen time on developing brains are, especially on young children? A review of various studies out there found that there are cognitive costs to too much screen time, but certain uses, such as video chatting with relatives, can be more helpful than harmful. Video chatting allows for a true conversation that includes nonverbal communication and can help support relationships with people who may not live nearby. 

Be a good role model

It’s not just our kids who need a healthy relationship with tech—we do too. The first thing to do if you want your kids to spend less time on screens is to set a good example by putting away your own devices more. Don’t want them to have phones at the dinner table? You better not either. And not only that, but talk with your kids about what you do on the computer and why. Engage them in conversations about the benefits and drawbacks of Instagram or online gaming. Be thoughtful in your own habits of picking up and putting down the phone. Even when you’re not discussing it with your children, they’ll notice what you do. 

Watch media as a family

Sharing media can certainly include movie night, but you might also consider viewing TED Talks or YouTube videos, or listening to podcasts with your kids. Kids use digital tools in their homework and to learn about the world, so encourage that behavior by consuming educational media with them. Here are a few TED Talk suggestions to get you started. By making this an activity you do together, you’ll contribute to family bonding. 

Maintain tech-free zones

Make sure you create time that doesn’t involve screens. The dinner table, an outing to the park, or the drive to/from school are all good options. This goes back to the idea of balance. When you allow kids time to connect with their friends online as well as take them out into nature, for example, they learn to appreciate the various ways they can interact with others. Rather than simply telling them to put down their devices, take them out and show them what the world has to offer.

Respect social media

Much of the concern about digital has to do with how much time kids spend on social media. And while there’s lots of grousing about the risks of social media, we sometimes overlook its benefits. Sites like Instagram and Twitter can help kids stay connected with friends and discover new interests. For LGBTQ kids or others with marginalized identities, digital platforms can offer a way (and sometimes the only way) to find community. Have conversations with your kids about what they’re doing on social media and make sure they understand that what they share online never really goes away. Keep track of who they’re connecting with, so you can find out early if a questionable stranger is interacting with your child. 

Keep the conversation going

Remember that contract mentioned earlier about tech use? Don’t treat it as a set-it-and-forget-it kind of thing, but something you discuss regularly—there’s a better chance of it working that way. In order to not let the digital world distract your child from the physical world, make it part of your regular conversations rather than just bringing it up when something might be going wrong.

Be curious about what your child does on the computer and why. Ask to see the pictures they’re looking at on Instagram. And discuss with your child why everything they see on the Internet isn’t always as it appears. Just as with advertising in the old days, curated online personalities can produce insecurity around not living up to impossible standards. Help your children understand that what they see online isn’t necessarily a reflection of reality.

By Morgen Henderson

Parenting has always been a challenge, and it’s only become more complex as children are born into and grow up in the digital age. We don’t understand all the effects of social media, online gaming, and other screen time activities on children, and we continue to receive conflicting information.

Sometimes the kids understand tech better than their parents. And how can parents monitor what their kids are doing in the digital world? There’s a lot to think about, but fundamental truths haven’t changed.

As with any other aspect of life, raising healthy kids in the digital age calls for flexibility, creativity, openness, and leading by example. Create space for a digital presence in your child’s world proactively so you can shape it rather than it taking over. 

Aim for compromise

Screens are ubiquitous. Even if you don’t allow them at home, kids will be exposed to them at school or at friends’ and relatives’ homes. So strive for balance, rather than complete restriction. Decide when you’re ready to let your kid have their own smartphone or tablet, and have some conversations with them ahead of time about what they’ll use it for and how often. Some parents make a contract with their kids. If you do this, check in regularly to see what your child is doing and address any violations to your agreement in a timely manner. If you remember that it’s probably a matter of when, not if, they break one of the rules, you’ll be able to keep a calmer head when that time comes. 

Educate about cyberbullying

No one wants their kid to be bullied, online or off, and what’s more, no parent wants to find out their kid is bullying someone else. Before screens, the rules could be learned in social settings and at school. But with the relative lack of oversight and anonymity digital tools offer, it’s easier for kids (and adults, for that matter) to be mean to each other. Have a direct conversation with your children about what cyberbullying is and how to respond if it happens to them or they witness it. Hint: It’s better to respond and seek resolution in person than online. 

Use video chat

It’s no secret that sitting in front of a screen for hours on end isn’t the best for kids. But do we really know just what the effects of screen time on developing brains are, especially on young children? A review of various studies out there found that there are cognitive costs to too much screen time, but certain uses, such as video chatting with relatives, can be more helpful than harmful. Video chatting allows for a true conversation that includes nonverbal communication and can help support relationships with people who may not live nearby. 

Be a good role model

It’s not just our kids who need a healthy relationship with tech—we do too. The first thing to do if you want your kids to spend less time on screens is to set a good example by putting away your own devices more. Don’t want them to have phones at the dinner table? You better not either. And not only that, but talk with your kids about what you do on the computer and why. Engage them in conversations about the benefits and drawbacks of Instagram or online gaming. Be thoughtful in your own habits of picking up and putting down the phone. Even when you’re not discussing it with your children, they’ll notice what you do. 

Watch media as a family

Sharing media can certainly include movie night, but you might also consider viewing TED Talks or YouTube videos, or listening to podcasts with your kids. Kids use digital tools in their homework and to learn about the world, so encourage that behavior by consuming educational media with them. Here are a few TED Talk suggestions to get you started. By making this an activity you do together, you’ll contribute to family bonding. 

Maintain tech-free zones

Make sure you create time that doesn’t involve screens. The dinner table, an outing to the park, or the drive to/from school are all good options. This goes back to the idea of balance. When you allow kids time to connect with their friends online as well as take them out into nature, for example, they learn to appreciate the various ways they can interact with others. Rather than simply telling them to put down their devices, take them out and show them what the world has to offer.

Respect social media

Much of the concern about digital has to do with how much time kids spend on social media. And while there’s lots of grousing about the risks of social media, we sometimes overlook its benefits. Sites like Instagram and Twitter can help kids stay connected with friends and discover new interests. For LGBTQ kids or others with marginalized identities, digital platforms can offer a way (and sometimes the only way) to find community. Have conversations with your kids about what they’re doing on social media and make sure they understand that what they share online never really goes away. Keep track of who they’re connecting with, so you can find out early if a questionable stranger is interacting with your child. 

Keep the conversation going

Remember that contract mentioned earlier about tech use? Don’t treat it as a set-it-and-forget-it kind of thing, but something you discuss regularly—there’s a better chance of it working that way. In order to not let the digital world distract your child from the physical world, make it part of your regular conversations rather than just bringing it up when something might be going wrong.

Be curious about what your child does on the computer and why. Ask to see the pictures they’re looking at on Instagram. And discuss with your child why everything they see on the Internet isn’t always as it appears. Just as with advertising in the old days, curated online personalities can produce insecurity around not living up to impossible standards. Help your children understand that what they see online isn’t necessarily a reflection of reality.

By Morgen Henderson

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