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Posts Tagged ‘kindness and respect’

Parenting In Social Media Age- Keep Kids Safe Online (Guest Expert)

Friday, December 6th, 2019

technologysonParenting has changed drastically in the past decade. Instead of dinner bells ringing children home, they now have cell phones. Social media has become an obsession and a favorite past time. With the changes in technology, changes in parenting become necessary.

You can keep your child safe in the social media age with a few tips to help you stay up to speed with today’s technology and your child’s plugged-in world.

Learn the Technology

First and foremost, for parents to be able to help, it is important that they understand how technology works and accept that technology is a big part of young people’s lives, says Silje Vallestad, CEO and founder of Bipper, a mobile safety app company. As cyber bullying situations continue to increase, parents must know how to operate and monitor apps, social media networks and various technology to ensure that their children are acting appropriately and that they are treated respectfully in what is a 24/7 public environment.

“For kids today, being stripped of their access to the social communities and technology in general is considered so bad that they won’t ask for help or tell parents about negative experiences,” says Vallestad. “Parents need to understand that there is a difference between the digital childhood of kids today and their own upbringing, and that access to technology is as important as access to paper and pens.”

Although social media is extremely important to your child, it doesn’t mean they should have full reign of the technology. “Parents should never grant kids access to technology without guiding them in the world of technology and to be able to guide their kids, they need to understand technology and online services,” says Vallestad. “I believe in parents spending time educating themselves, combined with frequent conversations between parent and child about the use of technology in general and use of specific services in particular.”

Use Technology to Bond with Your Child

Monitoring your child’s social media use does not have to be a negative experience, wherein you are acting the part of a spy. Use technology as an opportunity to learn something new from your children and brush up on your own skills. Vallestad, the mother of three kids all using technology, says she uses mobile app alerts that provide information on which social media applications her children are downloading.

“When I see that they have installed apps I either don’t know much about or that I’m worried about (such as SnapChat or Instagram), I make a point of having a good conversation about these services,” she says. “They teach me a lot about technology and the services while we talk about how things can be used for good or bad.”

These conversations can help to create trust between a parent and a child and allow opportunities to talk about how technology can be used to harm others and how to react in those situations. “With our frequent talks on tech, where I show that I’m both interested and involved in their digital lives and also allow them to use technology, I believe we have fostered an atmosphere where they will feel safe to tell me if something bad is happening,” says Vallestad.

Have a Plan of Action

As you are learning the technology, it’s important to remember the top three actions to take when your child is engaged in social media, according to Vallestad.

  • Technology is Important to Your Child: Understand that your kids need to use technology and be part of the online communities where their peers are. It’s part of their lives and if you remove it, you will probably create a growing gap between you and your child instead of fostering an atmosphere of dialogue.
  • Open Conversations are Necessary: Engage in open and trusting conversations with your kids about technology. Let them tell you, show you and teach you. Reacting with anger or shock to things you might see could result in your kids closing down conversations. Try to stay calm and ask questions. Together, you can agree on rules. Sometimes you both may come to the conclusion that a particular service is not ok. Other times, it is ok but you may require that you will be a friend or follower.
  • Research is Key: Do your own research on services and use that research to ask your kids the right questions. However, don’t automatically assume that your kids are using a questionable service in a wrong way simply because there is a lot of information online about that service being used negatively. Do keep an open eye and make sure you are neither naïve nor ignorant about social media.

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Help Children Make Friends – Playground Politics

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

Help Children Make Friends – Playground Politics

Teasing is universal, its a fact of life. In my parenting classes when I ask any person if they were teased as a child the answer is always the same. Yes. Then I ask who they were teased by, there are a number of answers I get: siblings, the kid down the street, their teacher, or even their family. People are always able to remember who teased or bullied them. The torment they underwent becomes a part of them.

Teasing can be friendly or malicious. When we begin to look at the difference between the two, we realize that part of the teasing

If your child has at least one significant friend, he will be less likely to be bullied and can more easily cope with effects of bullying should it occur.

that goes on is done to find out where your hot buttons are. Teasing beings the process of weeding out if two people are a good match as friends, if their interests are the same, and acts like a mating game. Other people have dubbed it Playground Politics.

There is an absolute pecking order on the playground. If I were to ask you to look back into your past and think about who on that playground was popular, who were the kids who were accepted, who were the ones who were controversial? We are easily been able to remember who those people were.

Do you remember the kids who didn’t blend well? Who were the kids who always seemed to be in transition, adapting their personality to what ever situation or social group they encountered. You may be able to name those people too.

Our goal as parents is to help our child find out who they are as a person. We need to be concerned with teaching our children how to be a good friend, instead of helping them find friends. We need to teach our children how to be the kind of person that other people are drawn to. As parents our job is to teach our children how to be the person that will attract the kind of people they want to be around. When we teach them how to be that person we are really teaching them three things: Confidence, Character and Critical Thinking.

Confidence:

Here is what a confident person looks like shoulders back, their chest open. Their hands are not clenched or crossed, this posture shows that they are open and their heart is speaking to other peoples hearts. Our posture shows we are approachable. Confident people look other people in the eye, and smile. They smile without assuming the other person is going to smile back.

Character:

Our children need to learn character and values, so they will never be caught in situational ethics. Our children need to know what their values are before they are put into situations where those values are going to be tested. If children are put in a situation where another child is being picked on or teased, they should know the kind of person they are, or want to be, and be empowered to make a decision on how to get involved based on their values. They should know they don’t want to participate in a situation where someone may be hurt. A child should know already that they want to be a kind person, before they are ever put into a situation where they are required to decide.

If children have made the decision early in life to be kind, they will easily be able to make the decision that they don’t want to be involved in teasing others, even if it means going against the group.

Critical Thinking

Our children need to be taught to think critically and be problem solvers. Over the next decade the ability to solve problems is going very important to our children. We need them to learn not only to solve conflict, but manage it. Children need to learn these skills so they do not become whiners or tattles, but empower themselves to be strong. Learning to determine if conflicts that are happening are small problems and can be solved easily, or if there is a larger problem,(like someone being hurt) that may require intervention by an adult.

There is a program called Kelso’s choice which empowers young people, their parents and other caring adults with the ability to determine their own behaviour. It teaches how to master emotions which is a critical skill in conflict resolution. Kelso’s Choice teaches youth not to take it personally when they are being teased. The program teaches when children are being teased it is very seldom about them, and is more often about the child who is doing the teasing. Children are taught the teaser is often involved in some sort of power struggle. This knowledge can drastically reduce the amount of tattling that goes on and keeps small problems from ballooning into huge problems.

As parents we are encouraged to help our children develop the ability to decifer when something is a small problem, like a pebble, and when a problem may be bigger like a mountain. This also helps to improve the child’s self esteem as the become more confident to solve problems on their own. This tool is not just a solution for today, but something which can be used for their entire life.

We can help our children learn critical thinking skills in a number of ways. Children need to learn tools like redirecting to another activity, sharing, taking turns, talking it out, walking away, or just ignoring conflict. One important skill they will learn is teaching them it is OK to tell someone they need to stop when what that person is doing makes them uncomfortable. By using body language such as an upheld hand, they learn to set boundaries. Many times these little things are all we need to do to stop a behaviour.

If its something your child has done to cause a conflict we as parents need to teach them is OK to acknowledge they did something wrong and apologize, as well as do their best to correct the situation. Our children need to know it is OK to walk away and take a cooling off period.


Helpful Hints To Be More Likeable

I always hand out Q-tips in my classroom as a reminder to Quit Taking It Personally. This serves as a reminder to young people that not everything that goes on is about them. They should know they have the power to solve their own problems unless there is a danger involved.

Allow children to find their own peer group, and feel comfortable with who they are. Don’t push them to be in a peer group they don’t feel comfortable in.

When discussing the events of the day and you as a parent hear a lot of negative comments, make sure you ask them “but then….” and prompt them to say something positive about what happened next. Encourage them to end what they say on a positive note. Don’t let them end it on a negative because the negative will be ingrained it in their brain.

Teach them blame, shame and focusing on the pain won’t work. Help them to look for body language. Body language tells us a lot about whether someone wants to be around us, if they are lonely or simply want to be left alone. Being able to read body language is a skill that will help them to be sensitive to others and know how and when to approach people. Make sure that as an adult you model the relationships you want them to have.

Also, be careful not to tear down other children. If they come home and tell you another child won’t play with them, don’t respond by telling them they don’t want to play with that child anyway. Don’t tell them they don’t want to play with another child because that other child isn’t good to play with anyway. Eventually the two may become friends and inevitably your child will tell their new friend what you have said. This is going to cause hurt feelings and harm your relationship with their new friend. Our job as parents is not to tear down other peoples children, but to build up our own.

Express confidence in you child’s choices and their ability to draw others to them. This goes a long way to making our children into the people we want them to be.

For more information visit www.theleftoutchild.com where you will find an e-course that teach you to teach your child to be more personable and more likeable.

Protect Your Child From Cyber Bullying

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Protect Your Child From Cyber Bullying

Whether the bullying is direct or indirect, in person or over the internet, perpetrated by an individual or a group, one thing is consistent and that it is harmful to the target and the bully. Bullies who do not know or learn how to act with kindness and respect for others will always have flawed and dysfunctional relationships. Those who have been victimized and targeted for abuse are more likely to be depressed, to feel isolated, anxious, and to have low self-esteem.  They are also more likely to think about suicide.

Bullying Hurts Everyone

The world has always had bullies and now the internet has expanded the opportunities for teasing, taunting and harmful cyber-bullying online.  Many parents are caught unaware that their children may be involved in either bullying or being bullied by so-called friends and associates.

Almost one in four children between the ages of 11 and 19 has been the victim of cyber bullying. Nearly 35% of kids have been threatened online and about 75% have visited a Web site bashing another student. These studies are researched based, but my own causal conversations with students in the halls and playgrounds at school show them to be true and maybe even a little low.  It has become a scary world when one can be stalked, threatened and verbally bashed on a cell phone or computer.  Once the images or words are out there, they are literally there forever.

The psychological and emotional outcomes of cyber-bullying are similar to real-life bullying outcomes and can have serious aftereffects. As I interview experts and young adults about this problem it is very real and very damaging to self esteem, confidence and mental well being.  Many of the students tell me they hate school because the teasing can start there.  But then it can also go on all day, every day and everywhere.

Home Should be a Safe Place

Unfortunately, most parents and caregivers don’t know what to do about cyber bullying. This is new territory for parents who grew up and survived the playground politics.  Many parents are so busy and so tired (see previous post on Too Tired to Parent) that they are missing the clues of a stressed out child.

Find out how to monitor your child’s use of the Internet and cell phones without making them feel embarrassed or overtly supervised. Create open communication and discover how to respond if your child initiates or receives threats.

Prevention Tips Suggested By Students

  • Teach us how to deal with conflict.
  • Monitor our use of the computer.
  • Supervise but don’t snoop
  • Don’t freak out if I tell you something in confidence.
  • Ask me how I want you to handle it.
  • Don’t blame or shame me for being a victim

You can protect your child from cyberbullying.  You can give kids a sense of safety and security by teaching them how to set boundaries, how to judge if a problem is a big one that needs adult help or a small one they can work out themselves.  As you work together to practice setting boundaries and speaking in an assertiveness voice, you will find more confidence in yourself and empathy for others.

You can do it.  I have confidence in you.