imconfident

I sincerely believe that it is far more beneficial and far less costly to help a child build confidence than it is to fix an adult who has little or none.

I’ve had enough of facebook

lady watching videoFacebook is a great place to keep up to date with family and friends, sharing photos, interesting articles and important information.  However, Facebook can also be a place where people gossip about others, voice their anger and show inappropriate photos.   For myself, I keep a minimum of ‘friends’ and also ‘like’ a few pages with content that doesn’t need a rating to be seen by all ages.   Yet even though I limit my account, I still get information that I really don’t want to see.

A couple of days ago I watched a FB video that was done by a family member and it was the last straw for me.  I’ve seen enough sexual content, violence, rude pictures and coarse language.  I can just go anywhere in public and see enough of those things.  So I’ve closed my account until I decided whether or not to cancel it permanently.

People should be careful what they post on Facebook because it shows something about their character.   Everything we say and do is observed by others and it speaks volumes about who we are.  Making poor choices in posting inappropriate photos or saying rude comments at the expense of other people, will show that we are very selfish and don’t care if we hurt someone else.  Creating videos that can harm ourselves and be a poor example to other people will show that we lack responsibility and maturity.

We should always try to be a good example to others so we can influence them in a positive way, especially our children.   It doesn’t matter if you are in a public place surrounded by lots of people or sitting alone at your computer, people can be influenced by your words and actions.  Think carefully before you speak, write or take action.  Once words are released, they can’t be taken back.   Some things may seem like a good idea at the time or be funny in the moment, but several weeks, months or years down the road, you may not look at the situation in the same way.   Make sure you are saying and doing something that is of value and not something that can cause harm to yourself or other people.

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Bullying awareness week

clip bullyNovember 17-23 is Bullying Awareness Week across Canada.  This national campaign was created by the president of  www.bullying.org, Bill Belsey, who has won many awards for making the world a better and safer place for young people.  He also created the world’s first website on cyberbullying –  www.cyberbullying.ca and is the facilitator of online courses and webinars through his site www.bullyingcourse.com.  Mr. Belsey has appeared on various programs including Dr Phil, ABC News 20/20 and CNN.  He teaches school in Alberta and travels around the world speaking about various topics including bullying.

Bullying has always been around and always will be, but now with internet availability, cyberbullying has just magnified the problem.  When I was a child, my lack of ability to stand up for myself put me directly in the path of bullies.  Anyone who has low esteem is a direct target because bullies avoid anyone with strong esteem, they will only go after an easy victim.  This is because bullies have usually been abused or bullied themselves and they are looking for someone who is weak, so they can feel powerful and in control of their out-of-control lives.

I read an article this morning from CBC news that says the federal government is ready to put in new legislation to make is a crime for distribute intimate photos without the consent of the person in the pictures.   I’ve often wondered why people are allowed to freely send inappropriate photos of other people anywhere they want.  In the past, I worked for companies and organizations that require signed consent to take and distribute any personal photos.  Now with sites like Facebook and other social media, it seems that anyone can do what they want.  NOBODY should be allowed to pass on pictures without permission.  To me, this is theft – it is stealing the rights of a person to be seen and there should be laws against it.  I hope this legislation goes through and that more action is taken to protect the innocent who are being bullied in any way.  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/cyberbullying-legislation-to-be-announced-today-1.2432717

However, something also needs to be done about the bullies.  There are so many children that are raised in homes where there is violence, bullying and abuse.  These children learn inappropriate behaviours and through their hurt they inflict pain on others.  Punishing them is necessary but they should also be learning how to make positive changes in their attitude and behaviour.  Schools should be implementing courses where all children are being taught how to communicate properly and how to act appropriately so they can become responsible, caring adults.   Education is the key to decreasing the bully problem both for the bullies and those being bullied.

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Watch your words!

stickman with megaphoneIn my workshops and blogging, I’m always telling people to be careful about what they say.  Words can be very destructive if people don’t think about what they are saying.  Just one hurtful word or a simple phrase can destroy a person’s life.  ‘You are worthless.  I hate you.  What a loser.  You are so stupid.”  Have you ever heard yourself saying any of these words.  I know I have said them and I’ve also heard them said to me, so I know how much they can hurt.

We need to teach our children and be a good example to those around us by watching what we say and choosing our words carefully.    This starts by changing our negative thoughts into positive thoughts so we don’t carelessly let some nasty, mean or cruel words slip out of our mouths.  Everything we say to others should be positive, encouraging and loving.  Kind words make us feel good and help build good self-esteem.  Unkind words make us feel bad and can destroy our esteem.

When children grow up in an environment where they hear damaging, negative words, they will develop insecurities, fears and have unhealthy thoughts that result in anger, bitterness, criticism and an inability to see life from a positive perspective.

Today it seems that people don’t seem to care what they say or think about the consequences.  Making verbal threats is just ‘normal’ to many people and most times they are just words and nothing more.   We have all said things in our lives that we shouldn’t have said.  I remember when my kids were growing up, I would get angry with them and say, ‘I’m going to kill you”.  Of course, I would never have harmed my children, it was just empty words.  I had heard that expression many times growing up and it was common place.  However, it was still not right and I should never have said it because it probably affected their esteem.  I’m very careful now with my words because I know how powerful they can be and I don’t ever want to hurt anyone on purpose.

I read an article this morning about a boy who got into an argument with a friend on Facebook and posted a really stupid comment that had a threatening message.  He is now sitting in jail facing a sentence.  His parents are saying that his son didn’t know what he was doing and there is a petition going around for his release.

What are your thoughts?  Here is my two cents.  The boy is 19 years old and should be made responsible for his actions.  He was threatening to shoot up a school full of kids and due to the number of incidents that have happened, it can’t be taken lightly.  I don’t think 8 years in jail is appropriate unless he has done something violent in the past, however he needs to face the consequences of making threatening comments on-line.   He should be sent for some type of therapy to help him deal with his obvious anger issue and do some community work so he can learn some valuable life lessons.

Another thing that really concerns me about this article is that this problem came from a game he was playing.  I’ve never played any of these games but I’ve read a lot about them.   Many people argue that there is nothing damaging about playing these games, but what kind of message do you get from a game that has weapons and killing?  It certainly doesn’t create a calm, positive environment, instead it is more likely to creating an agitated, negative environment that can lead to anger, hatred and violence.  We certainly don’t need any more of this in the world!

We all need to watch our words and make sure that we are not saying anything that can hurt someone else or be taken as a threat.  Here is the link to the article.   http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2013/07/01/197669495/texas-teen-jailed-for-sarcastic-facebook-comment

Have a great weekend and PLEASE WATCH YOUR WORDS!

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Facebook is the living dead

happy face with laptopI seem to be obsessed with writing about social media these days.    A couple of months ago, I came across a site called Media Smarts (www.mediasmarts.ca) which is Canada‘s on-line centre for digital and media literacy.  Every day, I get headlines sent to me that keep me updated on what is happening the media and Facebook is often one of the topics discussed.

Today one of the articles is named,  “Teenagers Hate Facebook, but They’re Not Logging Off”.  It talks about how teens are complaining about too many adults using Facebook, too much pressure and too many negative social interactions.  Yet, it states that 94% of American teenagers still maintain their profile.  http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2013/05/22/teenagers_hate_facebook_a_pew_study_says_that_94_percent_of_teens_use_facebook.html

The article further states, “Facebook is the living dead: the most popular, least relevant social network where teenagers and adults alike gather out of fear of missing out on things that don’t even make them happy”.  Isn’t this crazy?  Why are teens obsessed with being part of something that they don’t really like?

There are several reasons:

  • they want people to like them
  • find out what friends are doing, make plans, post pictures
  • want to be up-to-date with what is going on, good or bad
  • can maintain more friendships than in person and have a larger group of friends
  • easier to contact people and can communicate messages to several people at a time
  • can tell people about themselves
  • they can hide behind a screen and only reveal what they want to
  • they can be themselves and not worry about what other people think
  • they can connect with their friends even if they aren’t allowed out of the house
  • they can connect with people that they are not allowed to be around
  • they can say what they want without getting an instant reaction

Teens and anyone else who uses social media should be very careful in how they interact with other people.  It’s great to share information and pictures as long as it is not inappropriate or harmful to yourself or anyone else.  You need to protect yourself from people who want to hurt you or destroy your reputation.  It is VERY EASY to put yourself in a dangerous or vulnerable situation but it is NOT EASY to recover from any damage that is done.  One thing to keep in mind is that future, potential employers often use Facebook for  personal reference checks to see what type of person you are.   If they see inappropriate information on your site, whether is it something that you have posted or something that one of your friends has posted, it can make you look bad and you will not be chosen for that job you were interested in.  I know because my daughter’s company always checks out applicants on Facebook and many have not been hired because of their profiles or posts.  Always watch your words and be selective of your photos.

Here are some important guidelines that everyone should follow when using any type of social media (also when emailing or texting):

  • use your privacy settings to protect your personal information from being seen by anyone you don’t know really well, just allow your close friends to view your stuff
  • only accept invitations from people you know personally, not just someone who knows a friend because they may not be your friend
  • NEVER post your address or phone number on your profile or give it out in an email or text, it’s also a good idea just to use your first name and last initial
  • NEVER post specific details of where you are going all the time, this may interest a stalker
  • NEVER tell people that your family is going on a vacation, this may interest anyone who is looking for a place to rob
  • don’t post anything that is inappropriate on your own profile or anyone else’s profile
  • if anyone does post anything inappropriate on your wall, DELETE IT IMMEDIATELY
  • if you are harassed continuously, DO NOT allow anyone to keep hurting you……DELETE YOUR ACCOUNT

Social media can be a good thing when used properly.  Please be cautious and protect yourself!

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What are we doing to protect our children?

teens on computers Almost every time I read an article about social media, it addresses a problem that is on the rise.  Social media can be a good thing when it keeps you in touch with your loved ones and friends, allowing you to stay updated on what is happening and view some nice pictures.

However, when people are posting nasty comments and inappropriate pictures, social media is not being used in the proper way.   It’s great that people can share information, but not when it is at the expense of someone else.

People are losing their moral values and don’t seem to care if they hurt someone else.   The freedom to say anything we what about anyone, has created serious problems for families and relationships; causing breakdowns, violent acts and sexual immorality.

I do have a Facebook account that I have recently re-opened, but I am not really a fan of social media.  When I first opened my account a few years ago, I thought it was great to connect with family and friends.  Most people are busy and we can’t keep track of what is going on, so I faithfully checked my account every day.   Then one day, I noticed some personal information that had been shared about a friend and I was shocked that anyone could do this.   My friend was devastated!  At that time, Social Media problems were just starting and I hadn’t really heard much about them.  It was enough to make me close my account and for a few years I just never bothered.

Now that I am back on Facebook, I see so much that should never be posted and I wonder why we are allowing this to happen.  Adults (parents, teachers, family members, friends) need to be responsible role models and teach children how to use social media in an appropriate way.

I read an article this morning about Social Media and how teenagers are posting intimate information about themselves online.  http://www.thestar.com/business/tech_news/2013/05/22/teens_use_divulge_on_social_media_at_unprecedented_levels.html

We are destroying ourselves and our children by allowing personal information and pictures to be distributed as if they don’t matter.   We DO matter and we need to respect ourselves and others.    mother and daughter on computer

Do you care?  What are you doing to protect our children?

 

 

 

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Raising children in a tough world

It’s a day for reading articles and here is another one I’d like to share.   In today’s world people seem to have forgotten what it means to be a parent.   We allow our children to spend a large part of their day on the computer, the phone or other electronic device and not pay any attention to what is going on in their world.   Problems are on the rise – bullying, eating disorders, violence, hatred, depression and suicide.  Children don’t even seem disturbed by horrific events on the news – such things would have been traumatic for me when I was young.  Parents need to start parenting..   It isn’t easy being a parent but if we don’t do something, many more children will grow up full of fears and insecurities.   We need to get involved in our children’s lives, spend time with them, listen to them, talk WITH them not TO them, set realistic boundaries and enforce them.  If children grow up in a positive, loving environment where they can build confidence and esteem, they will become a responsible, successful adult.  Of course there are no guarantees because the pressures from peers and the media can be very powerful, but with a solid foundation, children will have a much better chance of surviving.

Please take a few minutes and read this excellent article by Wendy Wolff.

Be Brave For The Sake Of The Children

Image source: discovermagazine.com

Image source: discovermagazine.com
11 March 2013 – 00:00 EDT

It’s 2013.

Your child…has access to a private world that doesn’t include you. They speak a language in code that changes rapidly. They exist with their fingers and minds wrapped around an electronic entranceway to a society in which you have completely relinquished control. They deal with bullying, violence, and childhood hatred in ways that you never had to.

You…spend much of your ever dwindling time cleaning, cooking, holding down one or two jobs, laundry, managing activities, homework, being a spouse, doing the job of two parents, resolving conflicts and simply trying to catch your breath. Maybe there is a minute or two in the day when you get to sit and be still. Maybe not. Regardless of the immense pressure upon you there is one commitment that has been shamefully put at the end of the list, keeping our kids childlike and carefree. Remember the days of playing for hours on end outside with the mosquitoes leaving their welts but we were too busy to care? Now for some reason while we personally covet those days and even long for their return, we settle on giving our adolescents devices that keep them indoors, sitting, angry, and alone.

We… are raising a generation of children absent from the input of adults. How are the youth of today gleaming personal insight and growth from the valuable lessons of those who lived before us if we are not involved? We… have given in to the “wants” of our children beyond our better judgment, allowing them access to things that hinder the positive growth of their hearts and minds. We… have convinced ourselves that this is the natural course of evolution.

Why and how can this be ok?

The neurological development of the brain says when children are in their pre-puberty years, their brains are growing and enlarging with capability. It is clearly a time to get children learning new things. It was found by Dr. Jay Giedd, neuroscientist from the National Institute of Mental Health, that the new cells and connections in the brain will survive and flourish if they are used to learn new positive activities. Those cells and connections that are not used by eleven or twelve years old will wither and die. That’s it, bye bye.

In simpler words, that means if your pre-pubescent teenager is learning to play music, involved with sports, art, chess, or other active hobbies, then those new connections inside of the brain will become permanent forever. They will have more brain to work with! According to Dr. Giedd, if they are purely sitting around playing video games, watching TV, texting, those connections will never survive. How do people not know this simple fact about human development? How is this not guiding every decision we make for our future leaders?

In an article written by Dr. Robert Brooks of Harvard Medical School, he quotes world-renowned psychologist Julius Segal in saying one factor that enables children of misfortune to beat the heavy odds against them is the presence of a charismatic adult, a person with whom they can identify and from whom they gather strength.

How many children/teens are engaged with an adult who truly inspires them when their fingers are wrapped around a cell phone, typing a language in a world in which we have become foreigners? How can we do this if we don’t check their Twitters, Facebooks, text messages, and Instagrams? Doesn’t this make you want to do something? Anything?

And yet we somehow keep stepping further back. We succumb to the difficulty of raising children and let it rule us. We are now more committed to encouraging privacy among our children in an increasingly frightening world than we are to being engaged for their safety.

Is this really okay with all of us? Are we actually happy with the level of torment that occurs between kids, sometimes in a very subtle way, that gets hidden inside of the devices that keep us excluded? We wonder why we haven’t seen the signs before tragedy strikes—but then, if the signs are hidden inside devices that we don’t check, how could we possibly know?

It seems like we are generally afraid. A great friend of mine believes that we have lost our sense of courage. She often says that we have become a self-involved, fear-based society and that this fear keeps us completely separate. It keeps us from standing up for each other, from saying the difficult things that need to be said and from basically helping each other. The fear allows us to let our kids wander around in the cyber world aimlessly filling their growing, beautiful minds with garbage.

Have we decided to sit back and let the parenting just happen? When do we get involved? Being an involved parent and/or caring adult for a child is the hardest job in the planet and makes us go through a whirlwind of emotions that seem scary and unmanageable. Yet, the alternative to feeling the discourse is what we have now, kids who are giving us the rules and who are desensitized to violence.

What do we fear so much?

Are we so intensely afraid of the potential repercussions that we:

  • are afraid to see the pain and suffering that goes on between kids and actively resolve these issues?
  • are afraid to admit that while the secret to the billon dollar advertising industry is that our brains want to buy the pretty things we see…yet we somehow believe that having our precious children interacting with severe violence and promiscuity will do them no harm?
  • are afraid to read every single post and private message of our kids on Facebook, Oovoo, Tumblr, Twitter, and their cellphones and address what we see?
  • are afraid to see how out of control the language, sexting, drama, violence, bullying has become?
  • are afraid to know the passwords of our children’s accounts and check them regularly to make sure they are protected, happy, and carefree?
  • are afraid to shut off violent video games and limit access for the developing minds of our beloved offspring?
  • are afraid to limit our children’s access to chemically-laden energy drinks?
  • are afraid to teach them how to be positive contributors in their community and world?
  • are afraid to actually resolving conflict among children and their tormentors through the use of peer mediation, conflict resolution? Why have we let the bullying problem continue and build up speed in the past three decades? Why haven’t we bounded together and demanded that any adult that is within arm’s reach of our children treat them with dignity and be committed to disallowing any form of cruelty to exist on their watch?

Are we afraid or is it that we are just too tired?

Something has to change. Bullying is at an all-time high with one out of four children in the U.S being targets of bullying by another child. We have one out of five children reporting that they have bullied someone else. The cycle of violent, unkind behavior affects so many children that it now is more of a normal occurrence with that many children affected.

Children are tormented daily by other kids and our system is set up to have zero tolerance but to truly do nothing about it. We either aren’t capable of showing children the positive ways to behave in relationship with each other, or we are too tired.

What can we do to help our children? Why not try to…

  • Ask for help from a friend that you trust.
  • Demonstrate to the children in your life how to help others.
  • Make the time to listen. Really and truly listen.
  • Share the information that will help your children be positive, contributing members of society. They will only learn this if you share with them how.
  • Pray in any way that connects you with your inner voice.
  • Be an adult that cares. So much research has shown that parental warmth or support is key to protecting a child from being a victim and/or a bully.
  • Demand that your children give you access to their accounts. If they don’t, be the boss and disconnect them. You cannot keep them safe from things you don’t know about.
  • Learn about the food and drinks that you are giving to your children. Balance is key—but over-sugaring, over-food coloring, and over-processed fooding dramatically interferes with learning and managing.
  • Teach your kids about the good ol’ days of playing.
  • Take the TVs and computers out of your children’s bedrooms and let their bodies experience a proper night’s sleep.
  • Monitor what your children are watching. There are all kinds of parental controls on the TV and computer for you to use.
  • Talk with your kids anywhere and every time. No matter how uncomfortable it may make you. If you can’t, find another adult who can.
  • Do something to help children find a common ground with each other. Bullying will never stop until we believe in the goodness of each other. There will always be things to decipher, but with enough like-minded people we can spread caring, easily and rapidly.
  • Commit to be a formal or informal mentor to the children within your neighborhood, group of friends, church, or even within arm’s reach. All it takes is a smile and caring heart.

Thousands have said before this article, and thousands after will, tell you to dig deep, listen, hear the words that your kid is using, watch their behavior, encourage, guide, provide wisdom, advocate for, support, discipline.

Find a blend of those techniques and use them all or just use one. Pick one on this list and experiment with it. Be brave, for our children’s sake. Then, watch it work.

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I’m not a fan of Facebook

College freshmen who report higher levels of anxiety and alcohol use are more likely to feel emotionally connected with the social networking site than those who don’t.

I read this article by  Elizabeth Armstrong Moore about a study that was conducted on college freshmen.  It shows a link between anxiety, alcohol and an emotional connection with Facebook and other social media.  It’s really no surprise to me.  I’ve read numerous articles about the problems with Facebook and I can’t say that I’m much of a fan of social media.  I do have a Facebook account and I enjoy the positive side of keeping up to date with family and friends, along with discovering new information but there is a lot of gossiping and bullying done through social media that has become commonplace and it is certainly not acceptable.  Every day we hear about someone who has been hurt by mean comments, outright lies or inappropriate pictures that are being shared with family, friends and complete strangers.   Why do people think it is okay to hurt someone else?  When we hurt others we will inevitably end up hurting ourselves also and for what purpose?

Read what this student discovered when doing his thesis.

April 12, 2013 11:30 AM PDT

(Credit: James Martin/CNET)

In a quest to learn what leads some people to turn to Facebook to connect with others, doctoral student Russell Clayton of the Missouri School of Journalism found that anxiety and alcohol use seem to play a big role.

For his master’s thesis, which appears in the May issue of Computers in Human Behavior, Clayton surveyed more than 225 college freshman about two emotions, anxiety and loneliness, and two behaviors, alcohol and marijuana use. He found that the students who reported both higher levels of anxiety and greater alcohol use also appeared the most emotionally connected with Facebook. Those who reported higher levels of loneliness, on the other hand, said they used Facebook to connect with others but were not emotionally connected to it.

It probably isn’t terribly surprising that those who are anxious may feel more emotionally connected to a virtual social setting than a public one, which Clayton acknowledges in a school news release. “Also, when people who are emotionally connected to Facebook view pictures and statuses of their Facebook friends using alcohol, they are more motivated to engage in similar online behaviors in order to fit in socially.”

Marijuana use, on the other hand, predicted the opposite — the absence of emotional connectedness to the site. Clayton has a theory about this as well: “Marijuana use is less normative, meaning fewer people post on Facebook about using it. In turn, people who engage in marijuana use are less likely to be emotionally attached to Facebook.”

Whether Facebook is therapeutic for those feeling anxious is debatable. Last year one study found that people who use social networking sites regularly saw their behaviors change negatively, and that included having trouble disconnecting and relaxing. So the question becomes: Which came first, the anxiety or the networking?

Meanwhile, Facebook appears to be showing its laughter lines as teenagers “meh” their way to Twitter and Instagram. Surveys of their levels of anxiety and drug use while on those sites are surely imminent.

This article should be disturbing to us.  Parents need to help their children build esteem so they don’t become dependent on social media for their entertainment and relationships.  We need to teach them how to use the internet properly and that they should not spread gossip or pass along inappropriate pictures or information.  Children learn good and bad habits from their parents and the people around them, so we need to be a good example and show them how to be a responsible, caring adult.   Let’s all start doing acts of kindness and passing along love to each other!

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