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Category: Social Media Safety

Bullying First Aid

How to Stop Bullies

“You’re stupid, fat and ugly. In hockey that’s called a hat trick.” And the kids around the bully giggle. For a split-second you almost laugh. The insult is kind of funny. Or, it would be if it hadn’t been aimed at you. But the insult is aimed at you. And there you are, verbally slapped.

A mess of ideas run through your head. Run. Cry. Yell an insult back — but you’re flustered and the words stick in your head and mouth.

You need to be prepared to handle the situation at the moment that it happens. You need bullying first aid.

The first rule of bullying first aid is this:

IF YOU ARE ALONE OR AN UNCOMFORTABLE DISTANCE FROM A PUBLIC AREA, DO NOT LASH OUT OR BE INSULTING. SAY SOMETHING SOFT, LIKE “I’M SORRY YOU FEEL THAT WAY,” OR “I GUESS THAT’S YOUR OPINION.” THEN LEAVE. WALK CALMLY, BUT FIRMLY. DON’T TAKE A CHANCE OF BEING INVOLVED IN A PHYSICAL ASSAULT.

That said, if you are close enough to other people or have friends around you, you have options. The best option is a strategy that is both confusing to the bully and takes away all the power of his or her insult: Be nice. Be really, really nice.

Here are some ideas of what you can say:

  1. “That’s pretty funny. Do you have any more lines?”
  2. “You remind me of those comedy roasts. Have you thought of doing comedy?”
  3. “I wish I could stay and hear more, but I have to go. Thanks for the laugh, though.”

Being nice is a great way to show the bully that his or her words don’t have the desired effect. A bully wants you to be scared, cry or show weakness. When you show the bully that the words don’t work on you, he or she has lost.

But you must be careful.

If you see any sign that the bully is so frustrated with your niceness that violence could happen, go back to the first rule and softly excuse yourself.

The key to performing truly effective bullying first aid is to practice.

Enlist your best friend or even a parent or sibling to play the role of the bully. Have that person really get into the role (pretending that they are the villain in a movie). Try different responses.

And most definitely practice the number one rule: IF YOU THINK YOU COULD BE IN PHYSICAL DANGER, GIVE A SOFT RESPONSE AND LEAVE.

Additional Bullying Resources:

“You’re stupid, fat and ugly. In hockey that’s called a hat trick.” And the kids around the bully giggle. For a split-second you almost laugh. The insult is kind of funny. Or, it would be if it hadn’t been aimed at you. But the insult is aimed at you. And there you are, verbally slapped.

A mess of ideas run through your head. Run. Cry. Yell an insult back — but you’re flustered and the words stick in your head and mouth.

You need to be prepared to handle the situation at the moment that it happens. You need bullying first aid.

The first rule of bullying first aid is this:

IF YOU ARE ALONE OR AN UNCOMFORTABLE DISTANCE FROM A PUBLIC AREA, DO NOT LASH OUT OR BE INSULTING. SAY SOMETHING SOFT, LIKE “I’M SORRY YOU FEEL THAT WAY,” OR “I GUESS THAT’S YOUR OPINION.” THEN LEAVE. WALK CALMLY, BUT FIRMLY. DON’T TAKE A CHANCE OF BEING INVOLVED IN A PHYSICAL ASSAULT.

That said, if you are close enough to other people or have friends around you, you have options. The best option is a strategy that is both confusing to the bully and takes away all the power of his or her insult: Be nice. Be really, really nice.

Here are some ideas of what you can say:

  1. “That’s pretty funny. Do you have any more lines?”
  2. “You remind me of those comedy roasts. Have you thought of doing comedy?”
  3. “I wish I could stay and hear more, but I have to go. Thanks for the laugh, though.”

Being nice is a great way to show the bully that his or her words don’t have the desired effect. A bully wants you to be scared, cry or show weakness. When you show the bully that the words don’t work on you, he or she has lost.

But you must be careful.

If you see any sign that the bully is so frustrated with your niceness that violence could happen, go back to the first rule and softly excuse yourself.

The key to performing truly effective bullying first aid is to practice.

Enlist your best friend or even a parent or sibling to play the role of the bully. Have that person really get into the role (pretending that they are the villain in a movie). Try different responses.

And most definitely practice the number one rule: IF YOU THINK YOU COULD BE IN PHYSICAL DANGER, GIVE A SOFT RESPONSE AND LEAVE.

Additional Bullying Resources:

Social Media Manners

For many, the idea of “good manners” conjures up images of someone wagging a finger at you. Etiquette is simply being thoughtful of others. Good manners on social media means taking a moment to think before you hit that post icon.

It means looking at what you do online as if you are someone else and realizing how your actions and words look to others.

Manners are not about being fake or sucking up. Manners are about adding to the online world without shutting people down and cutting off communication.

It also is about protecting YOU.

While media manners are always evolving as online behavior and options arise, these are basic guidelines to help you and your followers get along and benefit from the amazing methods of communications available today:

  • Never post a picture of someone else without permission. Not only is this rude, it is spreading another person’s image or personal information (for example, that they were at a party in your backyard on a certain date). Always get permission and if the person says no, respect his or her decision.
  • Further to the first rule – NEVER tag a person without their consent.
  • Never post when you are angry. To do so makes you look stupid or thoughtless. It also can inflict damage on people because your view may not take into consideration of the circumstances from that person’s point of view. When another person’s actions bother you, the better response is to talk to that person face-to-face or in a private message. You will probably find that you and the person who made you angry are not as different or as conflicted as you think.

Ever heard of the 24 hour rule? While it may make you feel better to write down your initial feelings when you are angry, don’t post your thoughts until you sleep on it. Take some time to cool off. This way, you won’t communicate something in the heat of the moment that you will regret later.

  • If you change your relationship status, let any other involved person know first. You and Rahim or Rachel are on the outs. But before you make a post in front of the whole world, contact Rahim or Rachel and explain your thoughts. Who knows? You might even repair any damage from the spat before it becomes locked in time forever on the Internet.
  • Be careful with CAPS! There are times when choice words emphasized by capital letters helps make your point. To put a whole statement in caps implies that you are yelling with nothing standing out. If everything is in caps, nothing is emphasized.
  • When video chatting or posting a video, make sure that there is nothing creepy or rude behind you. Imagine someone chatting with you in front of a poster that a bit raunchy or somewhat violent looking. Such creepy images not only make what you say seem ridiculous, they will come back to haunt you when you apply for a job or want to make new friends.

Make your own list of good manner and share with your friends. The more we respect the thoughts of other people, the better we can make life on line rewarding for all.

For many, the idea of “good manners” conjures up images of someone wagging a finger at you. Etiquette is simply being thoughtful of others. Good manners on social media means taking a moment to think before you hit that post icon.

It means looking at what you do online as if you are someone else and realizing how your actions and words look to others.

Manners are not about being fake or sucking up. Manners are about adding to the online world without shutting people down and cutting off communication.

It also is about protecting YOU.

While media manners are always evolving as online behavior and options arise, these are basic guidelines to help you and your followers get along and benefit from the amazing methods of communications available today:

  • Never post a picture of someone else without permission. Not only is this rude, it is spreading another person’s image or personal information (for example, that they were at a party in your backyard on a certain date). Always get permission and if the person says no, respect his or her decision.
  • Further to the first rule – NEVER tag a person without their consent.
  • Never post when you are angry. To do so makes you look stupid or thoughtless. It also can inflict damage on people because your view may not take into consideration of the circumstances from that person’s point of view. When another person’s actions bother you, the better response is to talk to that person face-to-face or in a private message. You will probably find that you and the person who made you angry are not as different or as conflicted as you think.

Ever heard of the 24 hour rule? While it may make you feel better to write down your initial feelings when you are angry, don’t post your thoughts until you sleep on it. Take some time to cool off. This way, you won’t communicate something in the heat of the moment that you will regret later.

  • If you change your relationship status, let any other involved person know first. You and Rahim or Rachel are on the outs. But before you make a post in front of the whole world, contact Rahim or Rachel and explain your thoughts. Who knows? You might even repair any damage from the spat before it becomes locked in time forever on the Internet.
  • Be careful with CAPS! There are times when choice words emphasized by capital letters helps make your point. To put a whole statement in caps implies that you are yelling with nothing standing out. If everything is in caps, nothing is emphasized.
  • When video chatting or posting a video, make sure that there is nothing creepy or rude behind you. Imagine someone chatting with you in front of a poster that a bit raunchy or somewhat violent looking. Such creepy images not only make what you say seem ridiculous, they will come back to haunt you when you apply for a job or want to make new friends.

Make your own list of good manner and share with your friends. The more we respect the thoughts of other people, the better we can make life on line rewarding for all.

Should You Interact with Your Child on Social Media?

Mom's online with kids

Social media is an integral part of our lives these days, and that’s doubly true for kids growing up in a post-Facebook world. Since parents and children are often on the same social platforms, it may seem natural to follow your child and interact. Is it a good idea though? The topic is more complex than it seems.

There’s No One-Size-Fits-All Answer

Like so many other issues around parenting, this is a case where every family and child is different. What works for one may not work for another. Family dynamics and the needs of individual kids should dictate the best way to approach social media use. The important thing is to understand that these apps are likely a big part of your child’s social life and that boundaries should be respected—both yours as a parent, as well as your child’s.

Here are three tips to help you navigate the often-murky waters of online interactions with your kids.

1. Have a Frank Discussion About Social Media Boundaries

There’s often no better way to answer these tough questions than just being direct and asking. The reality is that for some kids, having parents involved in their lives is normal, while for others, it’s an embarrassment.

In either case, you should have a talk about appropriate use of social media, information privacy and security, and being safe online so that even if your kids don’t want much interaction, you can help them be smart about what they do on the internet. Even if you don’t interact with them on social media, you can still set and enforce rules for safe web use.

2. Determine If Interactions Would Seem Out of Place

Facebook and even Twitter aren’t the most popular social platforms for teens and kids anymore. Many now spend their time on Instagram, Snapchat, and other platforms. So pay attention to which platforms your kids use and how they use them

If you already have accounts on the same platforms that you use on a regular basis, following and interacting with your child may make sense; if you don’t, though, you run the risk of misusing the platform and potentially embarrassing your kid—to the extent that it could cause them to migrate to other platforms or adjust settings so you can’t see as much of their activity.

3. Decide Where Your Motivation Lies

Another way to determine whether you should interact directly with your child on social media is to honestly examine your motives. If you’re only trying to police your child’s activities, you may be wasting your time; it’s relatively easy for kids to adjust privacy settings to control what you can see. It’s also not uncommon for kids to have multiple profiles, with only one visible to family.

If your family already has a trusting, open relationship with one another, it might feel natural and fine for you to interact with them in online spaces. If there’s less trust, though, getting a social media account just to monitor your children or teens could further hurt that relationship. Kids are smarter than many give them credit for—they’ll know if you’re trying to be sneaky.

Boundaries on social media may seem murky to parents, but for kids who’ve had access to these platforms their whole lives, they are often very clear. Navigating this online world as parents takes finesse, openness, and a willingness to learn. Because in the end, the most important thing is that your kids are safe and happy.

Hilary Bird is a digital journalist who writes about the things that fascinate her the most: relationships, technology, and how they impact each other. As more and more people become more and more reliant on their tech devices, Hilary wants to help them stay safe and understand how these devices will reshape the way we communicate. You can find more of her work at https://hilarybird.contently.com/.

Social media is an integral part of our lives these days, and that’s doubly true for kids growing up in a post-Facebook world. Since parents and children are often on the same social platforms, it may seem natural to follow your child and interact. Is it a good idea though? The topic is more complex than it seems.

There’s No One-Size-Fits-All Answer

Like so many other issues around parenting, this is a case where every family and child is different. What works for one may not work for another. Family dynamics and the needs of individual kids should dictate the best way to approach social media use. The important thing is to understand that these apps are likely a big part of your child’s social life and that boundaries should be respected—both yours as a parent, as well as your child’s.

Here are three tips to help you navigate the often-murky waters of online interactions with your kids.

1. Have a Frank Discussion About Social Media Boundaries

There’s often no better way to answer these tough questions than just being direct and asking. The reality is that for some kids, having parents involved in their lives is normal, while for others, it’s an embarrassment.

In either case, you should have a talk about appropriate use of social media, information privacy and security, and being safe online so that even if your kids don’t want much interaction, you can help them be smart about what they do on the internet. Even if you don’t interact with them on social media, you can still set and enforce rules for safe web use.

2. Determine If Interactions Would Seem Out of Place

Facebook and even Twitter aren’t the most popular social platforms for teens and kids anymore. Many now spend their time on Instagram, Snapchat, and other platforms. So pay attention to which platforms your kids use and how they use them

If you already have accounts on the same platforms that you use on a regular basis, following and interacting with your child may make sense; if you don’t, though, you run the risk of misusing the platform and potentially embarrassing your kid—to the extent that it could cause them to migrate to other platforms or adjust settings so you can’t see as much of their activity.

3. Decide Where Your Motivation Lies

Another way to determine whether you should interact directly with your child on social media is to honestly examine your motives. If you’re only trying to police your child’s activities, you may be wasting your time; it’s relatively easy for kids to adjust privacy settings to control what you can see. It’s also not uncommon for kids to have multiple profiles, with only one visible to family.

If your family already has a trusting, open relationship with one another, it might feel natural and fine for you to interact with them in online spaces. If there’s less trust, though, getting a social media account just to monitor your children or teens could further hurt that relationship. Kids are smarter than many give them credit for—they’ll know if you’re trying to be sneaky.

Boundaries on social media may seem murky to parents, but for kids who’ve had access to these platforms their whole lives, they are often very clear. Navigating this online world as parents takes finesse, openness, and a willingness to learn. Because in the end, the most important thing is that your kids are safe and happy.

Hilary Bird is a digital journalist who writes about the things that fascinate her the most: relationships, technology, and how they impact each other. As more and more people become more and more reliant on their tech devices, Hilary wants to help them stay safe and understand how these devices will reshape the way we communicate. You can find more of her work at https://hilarybird.contently.com/.

Is Your Social Media Profile the Real You?

social media facebook itentity

Think back to when you made your social media profile. You typed in your age, some basic information about yourself, the music you liked and the movies you enjoyed. This became part of the You that the world could see on line anytime. And, chances are, that ‘You’ isn’t totally real.

Recent studies have found that most Facebook users misrepresent at least some part of their profile. One common bit of information likely to be untrue is the user’s age. Young users tend to make themselves out to be older than they really are. Facebook has a policy that users under the age of 13 cannot be members. An estimated 80% of kids under the age of 13 have a Facebook account,* which means that all those kids have false information in their profile.

In many instances, these profiles are done with parents’ permission and monitoring, allowing children to keep in touch with distant relatives and close, trusted friends. As these children get older, few change their ages back, preferring instead to be considered “older” and “more mature.” That means that you could be chatting with someone you think is, say, 18, when that boy or girl could be only fifteen, if not younger.

Some people give themselves a younger age. This can be vanity–or a way to make a younger person feel more comfortable talking to them online. By appearing younger in a Facebook profile, little children are more likely to share plans and activities, helping make them an easy target for predators.

Another way people are likely to misrepresent themselves on social media is by downplaying negative parts of their lives and exaggerating the good stuff. This is easy to understand. Many people are embarrassed to tell others when life doesn’t go their way. All of us want others to think the best of us and look at us in a good light. Suppose that you raved on Facebook about how well a team try-out or a date went, when in reality you feel disappointed. Your friends might congratulate you, which could make you feel even worse when you don’t make the team.

In reality, your life is your business. Being completely honest about every little feeling you have can be wearing on both you and your friends. Imagine posting every thought, every move, every activity and every little thing you do, from washing your face to putting on your shoes. You decide what is important enough to post.

Many people make a habit out of keeping their social media simple and basic. They post birthday messages and social activities that are already common knowledge. Personal information is shared only with personal, real friends. After all, what you do in your real life is the real you.

* READ our recent article on NIMBLE NUMBERS. After reading that, you might find yourself asking about how truthful the 80% number is. The question you should be asking is, “Where did that number come from?” In this case, the 80% figure came from a Consumer Report survey published on pcworld.com, both sources known for being fair and accurate.

Think back to when you made your social media profile. You typed in your age, some basic information about yourself, the music you liked and the movies you enjoyed. This became part of the You that the world could see on line anytime. And, chances are, that ‘You’ isn’t totally real.

Recent studies have found that most Facebook users misrepresent at least some part of their profile. One common bit of information likely to be untrue is the user’s age. Young users tend to make themselves out to be older than they really are. Facebook has a policy that users under the age of 13 cannot be members. An estimated 80% of kids under the age of 13 have a Facebook account,* which means that all those kids have false information in their profile.

In many instances, these profiles are done with parents’ permission and monitoring, allowing children to keep in touch with distant relatives and close, trusted friends. As these children get older, few change their ages back, preferring instead to be considered “older” and “more mature.” That means that you could be chatting with someone you think is, say, 18, when that boy or girl could be only fifteen, if not younger.

Some people give themselves a younger age. This can be vanity–or a way to make a younger person feel more comfortable talking to them online. By appearing younger in a Facebook profile, little children are more likely to share plans and activities, helping make them an easy target for predators.

Another way people are likely to misrepresent themselves on social media is by downplaying negative parts of their lives and exaggerating the good stuff. This is easy to understand. Many people are embarrassed to tell others when life doesn’t go their way. All of us want others to think the best of us and look at us in a good light. Suppose that you raved on Facebook about how well a team try-out or a date went, when in reality you feel disappointed. Your friends might congratulate you, which could make you feel even worse when you don’t make the team.

In reality, your life is your business. Being completely honest about every little feeling you have can be wearing on both you and your friends. Imagine posting every thought, every move, every activity and every little thing you do, from washing your face to putting on your shoes. You decide what is important enough to post.

Many people make a habit out of keeping their social media simple and basic. They post birthday messages and social activities that are already common knowledge. Personal information is shared only with personal, real friends. After all, what you do in your real life is the real you.

* READ our recent article on NIMBLE NUMBERS. After reading that, you might find yourself asking about how truthful the 80% number is. The question you should be asking is, “Where did that number come from?” In this case, the 80% figure came from a Consumer Report survey published on pcworld.com, both sources known for being fair and accurate.

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