posted by on Digital Distractions, Digital Life, Digital Parenting, Facebook addiction, Internet Privacy, Oversharing

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Maybe I’m being polite when I said, coming to terms with online embellishment, when I actual meant — social media fakes. People who post to social media about their wonderful lives when behind the screens, it is anything but roses and cherries.

It’s always nice to see people posting about their new puppy or kitty they saved from the pound or bought. Maybe you just got engaged or the birth of a child or you are starting a new job you really wanted. You just started dating a great person and you can’t help but share (overshare) ever moment of joy — but what happens when that flame burns out?

Okay, so you don’t want to not post your exciting moments, but can we be a bit more selective and maybe keep some of our private times to ourselves? We all know that scrolling through Facebook posts or other platforms with comments can be a bit over-the-top. If you don’t want to brag or be considered a humble bragger, than why post-it at all?

People say, it you have it flaunt it. Okay, that’s great — except do you know your audience? It’s not bragging when you have it – but what happens when you have personal friends or family on there that know it’s not exactly truthful — or know that maybe you are embellishing. I guess it’s all part of being online – and learning decipher cyber-fact from fiction.

I’m sure I’m not the only one that has seen this over and over on news-feeds, however what is troubling is the studies about social media depression.

How these posts do have the potential to mentally harm people. 

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they have reflection. Years ago, prior social media, we only had our thoughts and memory to rely on. Today we have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube and other various forms of social living that we use to take us down memory lane.

With this we are also noticing an increase in depression with the vast amount of online social life. University of Pittsburgh Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health, have found out that those who have been using between 7 to 11 social media platforms are three times more likely to suffer from depression or anxiety.

I can fully understand this. There was a short film, A Social Life (see below) that takes you through a young woman’s day who’s living the life she dreamed of…

A Social Life is a short film about a career driven woman named Meredith who’s living the life she’s always dreamed of… online. Meredith strives to live a balanced life: staying fit, working hard and connecting with her friends; she is creating her “image” within her broader social media friend base. But she awakes one day and realizes that her reflection is merely the collection of photos that she has shared with others. Is this her life? Or just a carefully curated brand?

Sadly, I would venture to say many people will be able to relate to this short film. Waiting and counting their LIKEs on their images, creating the perfect pictures, posing and writing the that snappy content to attract more followers and hoping people believe you are living your life — your dream – when in reality, you are only posing/pretending and faking what you want to be real.

Have you considered how we survived without all these social platforms? We did. Believe it or not, there’s still people that refuse to give into the social-life craze.

As we roll into another New Year, I know it’s impossible to put down your gadgets, as I know I won’t, but what about trimming down your usage?

Let’s try commit to selective sharing and living more for you and your family in real-time rather than for social.

It’s a thought — since you only get one life to live, being social is great, but don’t forget the people in real life too. They were there for you before social media.

posted by on Cell Phone, Cell phone safety, Digital Parenting, Distracted driving, Parenting

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This week Common Sense Media released their latest report, The Common Sense Census: Plugged In Parents of Tweens and Teens. We all know our kids are connected, but this study revealed how parents are equally attached to their screens and media too.

According to their study, 78% of parents “believe they are good technology role models for their kids.”

Parents of teens and tweens spend an average of 9 hours a day with screen media. 

Since we have determined we all spend a lot of time online or digitally connected in some way, the report also said that 94% of parents agreed that technology has a positive influence on their children when it comes to education and schoolwork.

  • 88 percent of parents say that technology helps their children learn new skills
  • 89 percent say that technology helps prepare kids for the 21st-century jobs
  • 77 percent say that technology exposes their children to other cultures
  • 79 percent say that technology helps support their child’s creativity
  • 69 percent say that technology helps their child meet others with similar interests
  • 54 percent say that technology helps their child with social skills

Education is important to families and the statistics prove this. They recognize the value of technology to their child’s future — but we also must remember the times when we must disconnect.

Here’s the challenge, if 78 percent of parents believe they are good technology role models, why do we still have such high numbers for distracted driving?

Did you know? 

  • 1 out of 4 car accidents in the US are caused by texting while driving.
  • Texting and driving is 6 times more likely to get you in an accident than drunk driving. That’s right, it is actually safer for someone to get wasted and get behind the wheel than to text and do it.
  • Every day, 11 teenagers die because they were texting while driving.
  • 94% of teenagers understand the consequences of texting and driving, but 35% of them admitted that they do it anyway.
  • Of all the teenagers ever involved in fatal accidents every year, 21% were using a cell phone at the time of the accident.
  • Teen drivers have a 400% higher chance of being in a car crash when texting while driving than adults.
  • 25% of teens respond to at least one text while driving, every single time.
  • 10% of adults and 20% of teenagers have admitted that they have entire conversations over text message platforms while driving.
  • 52% of these talk on the phone while driving, and 32% text on the road.
  • When teens text while they drive, they veer off lane 10% of their total drive time.


Despite knowing the dangers of distracted driving, we’ve read the headlines over and over again of senseless crashes and deaths due to needless clicks, yet people continue to email, text and livestream while driving. If you review the stats, 94 percent of teenagers understand the consequences of distracted driving yet 35 percent admitted they do it anyway.

For parents, especially the 78 parents that are good tech role models, Cellslip, which is a partner of AAA Auto Club Group, wants to ensure your family’s safety.

There are many people that have a hard time unplugging while they are in their vehicle, with Cellslip, you don’t have to turn off your phone, you simply slide it in the pocket. It will block all incoming calls and text messages so you can concentrate on the road. When you have reached your destination, you remove your phone and within seconds all your voicemail, text messages and app notifications are received. The best part is — you have arrived safely.

As a role model, we owe it not only to our children and family, but to the safety of others on the road not to drive distracted.

Cellslip makes a perfect holiday gift, whether for your teen driver, friend, your office party or even consider having Cellslip personalized with your business logo for your next trade show. Order now with promo code SlipItOrTicket and receive 30 percent off your order.

posted by on Career Builders

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pixabayvolunteerI’ve grown so tired of the bickering news and social media news feeds (I’m referring to real news and it’s more tiresome explaining away the fake news). It was one of the most divisive election seasons and our social media news feeds are still dripping in  contention for each other (no matter what side you were on), it’s time to hear some cheerful news from a recent survey.

CareerBuilder’s annual holiday survey was released today.

The survey was conducted nationally online by Harris Poll from August 11 to September 7, 2016 and included more than 3,300 employees (of which 3,133 are in the private sector) and 2,379 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes.

While 46 percent of employers plan to give their employees gifts this year – on par with last year – they are also finding other ways to get into the holiday spirit.

  • Parties: 69 percent of employers plan on throwing a holiday party for employees this year – up 3 percent from last year.
  • Bonuses: 54 percent of employers plan to give employees holiday bonuses this year – the same as 2015 – but 15 percent say the bonus will be greater than last year.
  • Charity: Nearly half of all employers (48 percent) plan to enrich the lives of others outside of the office by making charitable donations, on par with last year.

pixabaychristmassackGift exchange events in the office can get really inappropriate, really fast – all it takes is one coworker to take the idea of a gag gift one step too far. CareerBuilder’s survey asked workers across the U.S. to share the most unusual gift they have received from a fellow employee during the holiday season.

Twenty-two percent of workers say they plan to buy holiday gifts for coworkers, and 21 percent plan to buy a gift for the boss, similar to last year.

Of those who plan to buy gifts for their coworkers or bosses, the majority (73 percent) expect to spend no more than $25 on each gift, 33 percent will cap their spending at $10 and 11 percent will spend $5 or less.

Most Unusual Gifts

Traditional holiday gifts are still office regulars: ornaments, gift cards, books and candy, but some workers may not know where “the line” is when it comes to holiday gift-giving at work. The following are among the most unusual presents workers received from co-workers: 

  • Two left-handed gloves
  • Coconut bra
  • Jar of gravy
  • A fake lottery ticket
  • A real stuffed duck
  • Toilet paper that looked like money
  • Post-it Notes
  • Dish detergent
  • A pen holder that looks like a crime scene victim
  • A comic book of an obscure movie
  • A handmade ornament for a sports team the recipient had never heard of
  • A singing chicken
  • A whip

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder among 2,379 hiring and human resource managers ages 18 and over (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) and 3,336 employees ages 18 and over (employed full-time, not self-employed; including 3,133 in the private sector) between August 11 and September 7, 2016. Percentages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions. With pure probability samples of 2,379 and 3,336, one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have sampling errors of +/- 2.01 and +/- 1.70 percentage points, respectively. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.

About CareerBuilder®

CareerBuilder is the only end-to-end human capital management company covering the entire candidate lifecycle and employee lifecycle for businesses. As the global leader in its industry, CareerBuilder specializes in cutting-edge HR software as a service to help companies with every step of talent acquisition and management. CareerBuilder works with top employers across industries, providing solutions for talent and labor market analytics, job distribution, candidate sourcing, tracking, onboarding, HRIS, benefits administration and compliance. It also operates leading job sites around the world. Owned by TEGNA Inc. (NYSE:TGNA), Tribune Media (NYSE:TRCO) and McClatchy (NYSE:MNI), CareerBuilder and its subsidiaries operate in the United States, Europe, South America, Canada and Asia. For more information, visit

posted by on Digital citizenship, Online image, Online profile, Online reputation, Online resume, Parenting Teens, Reputation Management, Social media

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Your posts on social media matter.

Your posts on social media matter.

Personal posts can come back to bite prospective employees or even current employees and impact future employability. This can make what your teen is posting on social media have an impact beyond likes or retweets. Just think of all the times your teen has been excited about a social media post getting hundreds of likes or retweets.

Now think of how long that will stay around and who might see it when it’s time to send out resumes or job applications. Will a future employer come across it and use it as a reason to not hire your teen? What anyone posts on social media matters more than they might think.

The number of employers searching social media accounts has increased 500% in the last decade, and [93% of hiring managers] review a candidate’s social profile before making a hiring decision. Drug references, sexually explicit posts, profanity, racist or sexist posts, aggressive or derogatory remarks, or poor communication skills can all negatively impact someone searching for a job. As can a complete absence of an online presence.

While questionable posts may come back to haunt your teen later in life, there are ways teens can use social media to make them stand out to job recruiters or maybe to find the job of a lifetime.

If your teen is volunteering or has made a donation to a charity, encourage them to share it – 65% of job recruiters have reconsidered hiring a candidate after seeing on their social profile that they volunteered or donated to charity.

Along with this, if your teen makes their resume or job application cohesive with their social profiles, they’ll stand out from the crowd. Social media doesn’t have to be feared in the job search. Used strategically and correctly, a job searcher may find the job they’re searching for and stand out from the crowd.
How Social Media Can Make or Break a Job Search
This infographic provided by the team at (Rawhide Boys Ranch) takes a closer look at all the data surrounding the impact of social media on today’s job searchers.

posted by on Adult Bullying, Adult Cyberbullying

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hateopinionsIt’s been a very difficult week for many people. I honestly believe that no matter how the election turned out, half of our country would have been upset, however this rage and hatred has reached a level online that I’ve never seen before.

Watching the news feeds have been horrific. Saddening really.

Adults are acting like children. They are calling the Trump voters some very troubling names, some are asking anyone on their friends list if they voted for Trump to literally unfriend them.

If we witnessed our children doing this, I’m confident we would chat with them about kindness and compassion towards each other.

Most importantly, respecting each other’s differences — although we completely understand we don’t agree on everything, we must respect each other. We must learn to be constructive, not combative with each other when we don’t see eye to eye.

Just prior the election, I watched a mini-documentary series by CNN political contributor, Van Jones called The Messy Truth. It was very interesting as he meet and spoke with educated people-women and men and asked them why they were voting for Trump.

I respect people for their opinions of why they are voting for their candidates, as did Mr. Jones, but what broke my heart is when he interviewed mothers that were shunned on social media from their friends when they told people who they were voting for.

This was very common.

People soon realized they had to be, as Kellyanne Conway later said in an interview, “undercover,” if they were going to vote for Trump for fear of being shamed or unfriended by people they did care about.

It was this growing underground of silent people that likely help bring Trump to the finish-line.

Adults acting badly.

Yes, grown-ups unfriending each other because they didn’t agree with who they were voting for, and calling each other names.

What type of example are we setting for our children? I listen as parents struggle with what to say to their kids, both of my children are grown adults — but my son is still having a very hard time. The fact is even before this election, we allowed our  social media to be full of discontentment (in my opinion) on both sides. Maybe this is a time in history that we are all going to learn from.

Just because politicians get ugly – it doesn’t mean we have to. Watching and reading some of the trash online (for both sides) hasn’t been a walk in the park – and these were adults posting these images/comments. Can’t we be passionate about a cause without being cruel?

I watched a mother (in The Messy Truth) as she tried to hold back her tears, she said she lost one of her closest friends during this election time.

We thought…..When the election is over – we can go back to our lives. It seems everyone automatically assumed things would go “their” way – like a child having a tantrum, knowing they’d get their prize at the end.

So it’s over and the bullish behavior of some adults has not improved ‘yet’, in some cases, has worsened. Let’s keep in mind — many consider your online social behavior a reflection of your character – don’t allow it to be an ugly one – be someone you are proud of.

How you will help curb this online cruelty?

I know it will take time, but let’s remember to enter social media with compassion towards each other — no matter who’s sitting in the White House.

We are the role-models not only to our children, but to each other.

posted by on #iCANHELP, Cyberbullying, cyberbullying prevention, Cybersafety, Digital citizenship, Digital Life

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bristowcompFrom the moment they hit the ‘screen’ – #iCANHELP has been changing lives in a positive direction online and off.

They recently announced their latest form of kindness going viral! Don’t miss the 2-minute video at the end, and share it forward. We all can make a difference!

#ICANHELP Bristow Compliments

Bristow Middle School works to improve school culture through a compliments page.

Alexa Negrete and Allison Kim were tired of seeing negativity on their campus. In response, they created Bristow Compliments,  an Instagram page where they could anonymously post compliments about students at their campus. They are being featured this week on YouTube as part of ICANHELP’S #digital4good campaign.

“If you send us a picture of yourself, we’ll compliment you,” said Alexa. “But then people started saying, ‘Oh, I want to nominate this person or this person.’ Let’s make this a thing, so now we have compliment for a friend Friday.” Any time during the week people can send in pictures of their friends and a message to go with the photo. On Friday, “We post the picture of the friend along with the message and a compliment them from from us.”

Both Alexa and Allison wanted to stay anonymous. “We’ve been accused of doing it for popularity on several occasions, so we just didn’t want to mislead people into thinking that way,” said Allison.

The page set out to compliment everyone and did not focus on one peer group or one set of students. Alexa and Allyson focused on the little things about each person that made him or her special so that compliments came across as genuine and not generic.

“If we notice people haven’t been complimented in a while,” says Allison, “We will go on a compliment spree and just randomly compliment our followers. It’s crazy how much work it takes to make this for this little video that they play for 15 seconds and they scroll past it that we really put a lot of effort into this account”

“Next year, since we won’t be here, we want the account to keep going,” said Alexa. “It’s made such an impact right now that we are hoping that will continue into the future. So we’ve chosen two 7th graders to give the account to and post updates.” “We’re really excited,” said Allison.


About: #ICANHELP is a Bay Area-based national nonprofit organization that creates and promotes positive, school-based solutions & interventions to online harassment and bullying. We are a project of the Net Safety Collaborative.

Bristow Middle School is located in Brentwood, CA and is part of the Brentwood Union School District.

posted by on Bullying, Bullying prevention, Bullying Prevention Month, Parenting Teens

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Order on Amazon

Order on Amazon

We often are confused between the definitions of rude, mean or if it’s bullying behavior.

Signe Whitson, an internationally recognized speaker and educator, provides insights on the distinctions of these types of behaviors in her latest activity books.

She challenges kids to move to a designated section in the room if the behavior represents bullying, to a different section if the behavior demonstrates meanness, and to a third section if the behavior is considered rude. Allow kids time to discuss why they chose to stand in a particular section, encouraging personal examples and reflection, as appropriate.

Let’s review the definitions:

Children’s author, Trudy Ludwig, uses these definitions:

Rude = Accidentally saying or doing something hurtful. 

Rude behaviors include:

  • Burping in someone’s face
  • Butting in line
  • Bragging about making a team

Rude behaviors are usually thoughtless and ill mannered, but not meant to actually hurt someone else. 

Mean = Saying or doing something to hurt a person on purpose, once or maybe twice.

The main difference between “rude” and “mean” behavior is that rudeness is usually unplanned.  Mean behavior, on the other hand, is done on purpose.

Mean behaviors include:

  • Making fun of what someone looks like or what they are wearing
    • I don’t like your short hair.  You look like a boy.
    • Why did you wear that dress?
  • Insulting someone’s intelligence or ability
    • You’re so stupid.
    • You stink at soccer.
  • Saying or doing something unkind after a fight with a friend.
    • Saying, “I hate you.”
    • Taking something that doesn’t belong to you.

Make no mistake; mean behaviors are very hurtful and should be avoided at all times! Still, meanness is different from bullying in important ways that we’ll talk about next.

Bullying = Cruel behavior, done on purpose and repeated over time, that involves an imbalance of power.  


To best understand bullying, remember the 3 P’s:

  1. It is done on Purpose; there is nothing “accidental” or unplanned about bullying
  2. It is a Pattern; the cruelty happens over and over again
  3. It is all about Power; the cruel person has more control and influence than his/her target

Kids who bully say or do something purposefully hurtful to others and they keep doing it again and again, with no sense of guilt or shame.  Kids who bully have more power than the kids they pick on.  This power may come from being older, stronger, or bigger in size or it may come from getting several kids to gang up on one target, to make that target feel hurt and alone.


 Order The 8 Keys to End Bullying Activity Book for Kids and Tweens on Amazon.


posted by on Bullying, Bullying prevention, Cell phone safety, Cyberbullying, cyberbullying prevention, Cybersafety

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Bullying has existed since the beginning of time. But today the internet and mobile devices have made bullying even easier. Bullies are no longer limited to just verbal or physical bullying. Text and online bullying have become a serious problem among adolescents and teens.

According to School bullying statistics in the United States:

  • About one in four kids in the U.S. are bullied on a regular basis.
  • Almost 9 out of 10 teens have a cell phone, and about 1 in 5 will be victims of a text bully. Text bullying has become more common than traditional bullying, especially among girls.
  • More than half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online.
  • More than 25 percent of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the Internet.

As part of National Bullying Prevention Month, AT&T has compiled a list of apps designed to help protect children from bullying and to create awareness around the problem.

  1. KnowBullying – (Android, Apple – FREE) – This app is for parents. It facilitates conversations with your child about bullying by providing conversation starters and reminders to do so. The app also provides tips about bullying for specific age groups and helps parents recognize the warning signs of bullying.
  2. Smart Limits – (Android, Apple – FREE; monthly service fee of $4.99 for 1 line or $9.99 for up to 10 lines) – This parental controls tool for AT&T customers lets you block up to 30 numbers from unwanted calls and texts. It also lets you limit your child’s phone use during certain times of the day, block cellular data, set text and purchase limits, view daily calling and texting activity on your child’s device, and more.
  3. STOP!t – (Android, Apple, Windows – FREE; school rate $2 – $5 per student, per year) – The STOP!t is a tool for schools which allows students to report bullying anonymously as it happens. The app also includes a HELPiT button that allows users to talk and text a 24/7 crisis support network.
  4. BullyBlock – (Android – FREE) – This app captures and block bullies that are causing you and your family harm. The Bully Block app allows users to covertly record verbal threats and harassment, block inappropriate texts and pictures (e.g. sexting), and utilize auto respond features. Bully Block blocks bullies that utilize private or unknown numbers to engage in cyberbullying. Bully Block also has instant reporting features that allow the user to email or text abusive behavior to parents, teachers, HR departments, and law enforcement. All audio, messages, and calls are stored on the phone SD card.
  5. Bully Tag – (Android, Apple – FREE) – This app allows kids who witness bullying to report it anonymously to school officials in a number of formats. The app can be used to transmit video, audio, texts and pictures. The app also allows students to schedule appointments with the school counselor and gives them access to a help line for kids.
  6. Bully Stop (Android – FREE) – This app helps protect children from bully calls, texts and picture messages. The app gives your children the ability to block calls and messages from people they don’t want to hear from. Bully Stop uses a Block List to block unwanted callers and texters. The app maintains a password-protected call log of all attempted contact with your child so you can approach the relevant people, parents, teachers or police and show proof of the bullying communication.
  7. Bully Button – (Android, Apple – $0.99) – This app allows children to record incidents and send them to adults with a single click of a button. The Bully Button messages will be repeatedly sent to the intended recipient until they’re opened.

Courtesy of AT&T.

Disclaimer: I don’t endorse any products on my blog site, nor am I financially compensated for posting them. All products are represented by reputable companies and it’s up to the consumer to make their own decisions on what’s best for their individual needs.

posted by on Bullying, Bullying prevention, Cyberbullying, cyberbullying prevention

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AT&T and Tyler Clementi Foundation Survey 1,000  Teens and Parents

AT&T and Tyler Clementi Foundation Survey 1,000 Teens and Parents

To kick off a new national effort to raise awareness for the issue of cyberbullying, AT&T and Fullscreen, are harnessing the talent of more than 250 high school student filmmakers.

The teen filmmakers participated in the AT&T Film Invitational, a part of this year’s All American High School Film Festival. The AT&T Film Invitational is the first ever to focus on cyberbullying. The 10-week film competition provides high school students the chance to write, direct, shoot and edit an 8 minute film in New York City. Students spend 2 ½ months working on every aspect of their pre-production: script writing, storyboarding, securing actors, locations, etc. AT&T then selects teams to be flown to New York City to direct, shoot and edit their 8-minute films.

The winning films, announced at the Teen Indie Awards in New York City October 9, will be featured in a 20-minute AT&T cyberbullying film for free screening at schools nationwide in February 2017. The film is a concentrated effort by AT&T to educate teens and help end this crisis.

“An astounding 8-in-10 teenagers admit to being cyberbullied, or know someone who has been bullied through social media or text. We know this issue is very real for students, schools and families,” said Marissa Shorenstein, New York State president, AT&T.  “And AT&T wants to help.

The following teams’ schools or organizations were selected as the winners of the Cyberbullying Film Invitational:

  • Steilacoom High School (Steilacoom, WA) received the award for Best In Contest and a cash prize of $5,000
  • Mythic Bridge (Brooklyn, NY) received the award for Runner-Up and a cash prize of $3,500
  • Canyon Crest Academy (San Diego, CA) received the award for Second Runner-Up and a cash prize of $2,500
Pine Crest School Filmmaking Team

Pine Crest School Filmmaking Team

These teams’ schools or organizations were selected as additional finalists and will each receive a cash prize of $1,000 awarded by the All American High School Film Festival:

  • Cedar Crest High School (Lebanon, PA)
  • Rye Country Day School (Rye, NY)
  • Digital Arts and Cinema Technology High School (Brooklyn, NY)
  • Pine Crest School (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
  • Science and Leadership Academy (Philadelphia, PA)

Three teams’ schools or organizations were also selected as Superlative Award winners, and won a cash prize of $2,500:

  • Grace Church School (New York, NY) received the Made In New York Award, given to a New York City-based filmmaking team
  • Communications High School (Wall, NJ) received the Maverick Award for a film with the most “outside the box” creative direction and execution
  • Nature Coast Technical High School (Brooksville, FL) received the Heart Award for creating a film embodying the most heartfelt story

Judges also selected the team from Pine Crest School (Fort Lauderdale, FL) to receive a $25,000 deal to create a series on cyberbullying exclusively for Fullscreen, an ad-free subscription service that speaks directly to the social-first generation. All of the winning films will also be available on Fullscreen and AT&T Digital You.

Public voters will determine the winner of the Public Choice Award starting October 11. They will have until October 28 to vote. The winning team receives an additional $5,000 for its school or organization. Head here to vote for your favorite film.

Working with the Tyler Clementi Foundation, AT&T has made addressing the rise of cyberbullying a priority. This support of the All-American High School Film Festival follows a first-of-its-kind poll commissioned with the Tyler Clementi Foundation this past March on cyberbullying.

This was an amazing weekend with lots of energy, interest and positive messaging around how we can all work together to amplify our voices to end all online and off line bullying. It was so difficult to choose our winners, as every film was terrific and produced with great skill, care and heart. Congratulations to everyone who participated!” said Jane Clementi, Founder and Board Member of the Tyler Clementi Foundation.

posted by on Bullying, Cyberbullying, Cybersafety, Internet Safety

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pixabayonlinesafetyIn this digital age, teens are faced with more challenges than previous generations. From cyberbullying and online trolls to identity theft and other types of cybercrime, there are ample opportunities for trouble lurking online. Yet, the internet is a major part of our daily lives. To help keep your teen safe online, here are a few strategies:

Educate Yourself

To effectively keep your teen safe online, you need to be informed about all of the possible challenges that he or she may face. Educate yourself on the latest internet dangers and trends in teen internet usage. Know what apps are growing in popularity among teens, how they work and what makes them a hit. Frequently Google “dangerous apps for teens” to get some of the latest news and information.

Learn the lingo that your teen uses, especially in the digital space. From acronyms and catchphrases to app-specific jargon, you need to learn your teen’s online language so you can correctly spot any issues and address them together.

Share Digital Experiences

To connect with your teen and keep the communication channels open, you need to create some common ground. Share digital experiences to show your teen that you care about what he or she is interested in.

Ask your teen to show you how to use Instagram Stories or how to adjust your Facebook settings so you can block certain people from your newsfeed. Learn how to use the latest social media app together. Let your teen flex his or her technological muscles for you. It really is quite incredible how intuitive things are to your teen that may seem complicated to you.

Discuss Online Risks

There are no shortage of possible risks when using the internet and, for the most part, your teen understands this. However, when it comes to knowing what specific practices are risky, your teen’s understanding may be a bit hazy. Therefore, you must offer clear guidance and direction for how to handle a wide range of circumstances.

To help guide this conversation, simply look to the news. Discuss real life examples of cybercrime, online bullying and privacy infringement using the latest news stories. Offer real examples of the threats your teen faces daily and do not sugarcoat the consequences.

Create a Plan for What to Do

Have a clear plan in place so your teen knows what to do if he or she becomes the victim of online harassment or another digital crime. For instance, if your teen uses apps like YikYak and Snapchat where messages disappear shortly after being read, tell your teen to take screenshots of harassing messages to document evidence and avoid “he said, she said” drama when confronting the issue. Show your teen how to take a screenshot on his or her iPhone or Android phone as well as how to block texts and calls from a number.

Teach Your Teen to Advocate for Victims

Just because your teen is fortunate enough to not be the victim of bullying, whether online or in person, doesn’t mean he or she shouldn’t react if others are being victimized. Teach your teen how to advocate for anyone who is being bullied. Your teen can make a positive impact just by standing up to a bully for someone else or simply offering the victim kindness and help. Teens often stand idly by because they simply do not know how to handle such a confrontation, which is why it is so crucial to have an action plan of ways that they can help.