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Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Two Faces of Social Media Users

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

Two Faces of Social Media Users

It is not uncommon for teens to have more that one FaceBook, Twitter, My Space or other social media account. Often they have one strictly for family and extended family and one that shows a completely different side of their personality.

Recently in Dear Abby, an advice column that is syndicated in newspapers across America I came across the following letter:

“Dear Abby: I have just learned that a friend’s 16 year-old daughter has two different FaceBook profiles. One is a ‘nice’ profile to which she has invited me, her family and friends from her days at a Christian academy. The other, which is pretty raw, she uses with her new ‘wild’ friends from public high school.

The first profile portrays her as the perfect student and daughter. The other includes explicit details about her sexual exploits and

Social media sites may allow a teenager to have two for family and one for friends.

drinking parties. Should I keep my nose out of it or let her parents know about the dual identities?”

Signed Vigilant in Everett, Washington

What Would You Do?

Given the information above, how would you proceed? It has been said it takes a village to raise a child and as a parent, I have always welcomed concern and caring regarding my family from others. However what I would not like is someone talking behind my back or being judgmental about my child and their choices in life.

Here is what Abby had to say:

“Dear Vigilant:

Ask yourself whether you would want to be warned about your minor child’s drinking and sexual exploits or kept in the dark and you will have your answer.”

The letter got me thinking, so in reading the letter to Dear Abby, I viewed it from a number of angles: one as the parents, Vigilant who wrote to Dear Abby and the daughter in question.

Cyber-Space Has an Infinite Memory

Many young people lack the life experiences to understand how much exposing their youthful escapades can come back to hurt them in the future. Colleges and employers are now routinely screening applicants through social media sites as well as Goggling applicants.

What seemed to be funny, exciting and rebellious to a 16 year old, can easily become a detriment to the child’s future as well as an embarrassment to the family.

As caring adults, we need to impress on our young people to pause, and consider how what they are about to put out there in cyber space may be viewed, and by whom it may be viewed before pushing send. Think through the decision to post something now. That hasty post could do irreparable harm to your reputation and life for years to come. And as adult we also need to think about the decision to post items. Often posts sent in the heat of anger can be hurtful to others, and cannot be retracted.

Good Advice

While Dear Abby in this case offers good sound advice, so did my mother. She used to tell us “If you are going to regret something tomorrow, you probably shouldn’t be doing it tonight.” Her suggestion didn’t always stop her children and grandchildren from making mistakes, but it did help us to stop and think before proceeding. Isn’t that what we want young people to do?

Some Questions to Ask Yourself and Your Child?

Is this post reflective of who I really am? Is this what I want people to believe about me? Will what I post be hurtful to other people? Is this something I would want a prospective employer to read? Is this something I would want my future children to see? Can I walk away from the computer, phone or electronic device for a few minutes and come back to it, will I still feel the same way, and will I still consider sending it?

Think Before Posting to Social Media Sites!

You can do it, I have confidence in you.

Judy Helm Wright

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Assertiveness-Getting What You Want Without Being A Bully

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Assertiveness-Getting What You Want

In the world today we are faced with many choices. We are all built with the instinct for fight or flight when faced with confrontation.

Recently I ran into a situation where I was faced with a rude, nasty response to a birthday greeting I had sent to an acquaintance through Facebook. I hadn’t realized the link to the free ebook I normally send to my Facebook friends on their birthday had been changed. The gentleman in question reacted by sending me a snarly note back chiding me for sending him marketing material in his birthday greeting.

My initial reaction was to fight back. I knew I had three options in my reaction to his note. I chose to be assertive and apologized for the error, explaining to him that it was unintentional.

Subsequently he wrote back with another extremely aggressive, rude note. I considered again how to respond. I decided this was the time to act in a more passive way. I did not respond because I knew this argument could go on and one, getting both of us nowhere and causing hurt feelings.

After some contemplation I decided to take a more assertive actions, I removed him as a friend on my Facebook account.

Confident people know how and when to be assertive. They respect their own boundaries and the boundaries of others.

By taking this action I defined that I have boundaries and would rather work with people who are pleasant to work with.

I have found that when we set our boundaries, and make clear what we need, and what we find acceptable, then people are usually more willing to give it to us.

One of the ways we can become a more assertive person is by taking responsibility for our own choices and actions.

The four major components of being an assertive person are:

  1. clearly representing what we are thinking and feeling, both verbally and using body language.
  2. Having no apology for the way we feel.
  3. By refusing to manipulate others with false guilt.
  4. By never sacrificing others , we respect other people and they respect us in return.

Assertiveness is clearly stating what you want and what you need as a means to an end. Being assertive does not mean you need to be pushy. You have the right to be human and take full responsibility for your actions. You even have the right to be wrong sometimes. You have the right to tell others what you are thinking and feeling- and you have the right to change your mind. You also have the right to express yourself without intimidation and you have the right to not accept responsibility for other peoples actions.

Being assertive means owing a situation. The only person you have the ability to change is ourselves.

The heart of being assertive is confidence.

For more information visit

You will want to learn how to set boundaries in your relationships with others. Being clear about boundaries helps you to never bully others or allow others to bully you.

Effects of Girls Who Bully Other Girls

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Effects of Girls Who Bully Other Girls

Bullying can take many different forms especially in a society that values technology so highly. Text bullying and online bullies are quite common. In particular, a girl bullying victims will often be much more subtle in the tactics used.

Queen Bees and Wanna Bees

Girls will usually form groups and use these to their advantage, encouraging a group to gang up on one victim. The Queen Bee is the leader and holds the keys of power to the clique. It is she who dictates what to wear, how to talk, walk and befriend.

The Wanna Bees, the other girls in the clique are in fear of disappointing the leader of the pack.  They are eager to share the power and gain favor in the eyes of the other mean girls in the group.

All girls want to belong to a social group and have friends. Queen Bees, the leader of a clique, can decide their fate in school. It is all about power.

Effects of Cyberbullying

Because students prefer to use phones for texting rather than talking, many texts and messages fly through cyber air about who is in and who is out.

One seventh grade girl told me recently, “None of our fights were face to face, we were too afraid the teacher would catch us. It is easier to fight online, because you feel more powerful. You can also be as mean as you want to on FaceBook. It is kind of fun to “dis” somebody.”

Cyberdramas of Girls

If there is a conflict between teenage couples, surprisingly, the girls will blame the girl and want to “punish her.”  In the Phoebe Prince suicide in Massachusetts, even though  the boy and girl were no longer dating, when he started dating Phoebe, she was bullied and attacked.

The groups will usually pick and choose their members and exclude others, sometimes completely at random.

While it is normal for both girls and boys to form social groups and strong bonds that naturally exclude others, it becomes bullying when power plays over individuals or other groups are involved.

Questions on Girls and Cyberbullying – We welcome comments

  • Why do you think girls turn against each other over the attention of a boy?
  • Do all cultures have cliques of girls?
  • Do you remember a Queen Bee from middle school?
  • Why do you think it is important for a young girl to fit into a group?
  • Is cyberbullying more dangerous than face-to-face bullying?

Cyber Threats To Nation and Home

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Cyber Threats To Nation and Home

Tom Ridge is the president and CEO of Ridge Global.  He was the first secretary of the U.S. Homeland Security.  Before that he was governor of Pennsylvania.  In a recent newspaper article he was quoted as saying;

“The cyber threats we as Americans face today are complicated and complex.  The geographic borders that once served to protect us do not exist in the digital world.  Most of our citizens do not comprehend the fact that the geographic barriers that once gave us a personal sanctuary are no longer the primary source of protection.  Those who would do us harm-whether as nations or cyber criminals- can digitally ‘invade’ via the Internet.  And many experts believe our next major attack could occur on the cyber battlefield.”

Threat To Nation and Home

As electronic devices have become more popular with young children and teens, the issue of cyberbullying has also grown.  It is important as caring adults that we become Internet Savvy and know how to protect those who are looking to us for protection.

In this day and age, you need to be aware of the risk and know how to stop someone who is cyberbullying you or your child.

Social Networking Privacy

If your child uses an adult social networking site such as FaceBook or Twitter, teach them how to use privacy settings. This allows them to keep personal information private.  Help them set up their pages so friends can only be added with their consent.

There are many behaviors which are considered to be cyberbullying. Basically, this action is simply threatening, harassing, or stalking a person on the Internet. It may involve gossiping, lying, impersonation, or posting pictures, real or false.

Stop and Think Before Pushing Send Button

Teach your children to stop and think before pushing send.  Many text messages that come across as threatening were supposed to be funny or a joke.  Without the benefit of body language, only the words convey the message and may be misinterpreted.

While some cases of cyberbullying are not too serious, all should be considered a threat. This type of action can escalate to very a serious situation quickly. And contrary to popular belief, this type of bullying can actually be much more dangerous than bullying which takes place in person.

Families need to be Internet Savvy. Learn Internet safety tips for kids.

With a person-to-person bully, one knows exactly who is threatening them. The message can be passed around and virtual strangers will comment or gang up digitally on the target.

Difficult To Trace The Online Bully

It can be much more difficult to pinpoint and stop an online bully. Also, with electronic bullying, one is much more apt to experience emotional trauma, which can take much longer to heal than any physical wound.

Often, an individual feels that they have no safe haven from a cyberbully because this follows them even into their home. They may feel trapped. Some drastic cases have ended in suicide. Teach your children what to do when they are threatened or bullied. Talk to them about it often.

Home Is A Haven Of Safety

A parent should have a good open line of communication with their children so that they will talk to their parent when bullying is taking place. A child should feel that they can come to their parent or other caring adult at any time with these concerns.

When it comes to the Internet, parents should set strict and firm rules and hold their children to them. Use filters and only allow them to use the Internet when you are at home with them. Keep all computers in a place where kids know you have access to them.

Know your child. When you see them acting unusual or moody, this should act as a warning signal.

You can do it.  I have confidence in you.

Bystander Bully Assistance – Help Through A Traumatic CyberBullying Situation

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

How Bystander Bully Assistance Can Help You Through A Traumatic CyberBullying Situation

If you are the victim of cyber bullying you are not alone. As the prevalence of internet use increases among all age groups there is a greater need for better restrictions and assistance on how both youth and adults communicate online.

Being the target of malicious attacks is a difficult and embarrassing event for anyone. Enlisting the right bystander bully assistance can help educate you and your young one on how to respond when personal attacks are made online.

Targeted Threats

Numerous reports of individuals being overwhelmed by “mean speak”; threats and suicide encouragement have been presented by the news media.  Phoebe Prince from MA is an example of a teen who felt she had no one to turn to for help.

There has been for a long time no real protocol in dealing with these attacks. Schools, churches and organizations are caught in the bind of not knowing who is responsible. The public onslaughts of vicious speak have left many feeling as though there is no way out.

Internet Safety

Teach teens that cybrbullying is a crime. Help them resist the urge to pass along hurtful messages. Learn internet safety.

Having to deal with nasty e-mails, death threat and pranks can be overwhelming, especially if the victim is young, which the case is most often. Many young people are not aware of the consequences that a posted message can have.

Often the response to an unpopular statement or opinion can become terrifying when meted out by the wrong group. It is not like bullying in the old days when your enemy was right in front of you and you could fight it out or tell the principal.

Nowadays, cyberbullying is very anonymous and the venom is passed from cell phone to computer to FaceBook to MySpace and can be global almost instantly.

Teach Teens To Not Pass On Gossip Online

While adults have a better understanding of the resources that may be available to help them deal with a tumultuous situation online, teenagers often do not.

They generally tend to weather the storm alone hoping that it will subside by itself. Unfortunately due to ease of access, these situations generally continue to spiral out of control if unchecked until an awful climax is reached.

Words Have Power for Good and Bad

Teaching your children smart internet skills is one way to avoid the hassle. Make certain that they understand the effects that different forms of online communication have on their privacy.  Help them to pause and think before sending on a message that might hurt or embarrass another.

As a family discussion continue to share with them the less than stellar responses received by teenagers that share too much information. It is also imperative to keep the lines of communication open in order to ensure that your child is not quietly suffering as a victim.

Help them to brainstorm ideas of being brave enough to stand up for someone being cyberbullied or to refuse to pass on hurtful messages. Just one person being kind can make a huge difference in the lives of others.

When they are aware of the consequences of bullying, it is far less likely that they will have to endure or become a part of it in any way.

Questions to ponder

  1. Have you ever had someone say something mean about you and played like it didn’t matter?
  2. Do you know it is against the law in many areas to harass or threaten someone online?
  3. If a friend were being cyberbullied, could you help them?  How?
  4. Do you know where to find information on internet safety?

Keeping Children Safe by Being Internet Savvy

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Keeping Children Safe by being Internet Savvy

The face of the way we communicate has changed rapidly over the past 20 years. Bullying used to take place in schools and parks, but with the advent of new technologies bullying can happen anywhere.

Children used to take refuge from playground bullies at home, but with the internet readily available to many children, and more and more young people carrying cell phones instances of cyber-bullying are increasing at an alarming rate.

Chat rooms, Blogs, Facebook, My Space and other social media sites, e-mail, instant messengers,

Teens use cell phones and the internet to connect with each other. It is easy to use electronics to bully others.

and online gaming and text messaging are just a few ways children are being bullied. Often, as parents, we don’t even know when our children are being abused by others online.

Although it may be difficult to tell when a child is being subjected to the abusive behaviour of others unless they come to an adult for advice. One thing we can watch for is our children being upset after being on the internet or receiving text messages.


  • encourage your children to share offensive or abusive e-mails, posts, and texts with a trusted adult
  • encourage them to use only moderated chat rooms that help curtail abusive behaviour
  • teach them to no respond to abusive posts or e-mails
  • help them learn to keep their passwords safe and be cautious about who they give their e-mail address or cell phone number to
  • be sure to turn on child safety features installed on your computer
  • teach them to think about how their actions may affect others, and to think twice before hitting send on any post or e-mail

Keep your child safe by teaching them not to give out personal information when online.

Make sure you children understand they should never arrange to meet someone you have only been in touch with online. This can be extremely dangerous. Online friends are still strangers.

One simple way to keep them safe is to encourage them to only accept e-mails, instant messages, or texts from people they know and trust.

Teach children that all information online may not always be reliable! There are many people out there who create fake “profiles” with only the intention of meeting and abusing others. In almost all cases its best to only chat online with real world friends and family.

Make sure your children know that if they are uncomfortable, or are being bullied they can come to you or another trusted adult for help. Keeping our children safe online and teaching them how to use a technology as a tool for healthy entertainment, information and communication will help them become a prudent, happy, healthy productive members of society.

Information for this article comes from Childnet International and