posted by on Cyberbullying, cyberbullying prevention, Digital Parenting, Parenting, Parenting Teens, Parenting tips

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The problem of parenting in the digital age occurs when parents don’t know enough about both their children and the websites they inhabit. Learning about the technology your children use on a daily basis will give you a deeper insight into their lives. Teaching yourself how to use social media and other common apps will also help you best learn how to guide your children on the Internet.

There are many benefits to using the internet, but as a parent, you also need to know about the dangers. For example, the World Wide Web is a great place for your children to study and learn, grow socially, and have fun. When used incorrectly it can be a dangerous place with predators and unsavory material. Here is the problem of parenting in the digital age and how you can inform yourselves as parents about the pros and cons of the internet.

Dangers of the Internet for Kids 

In some ways, it seems harmless to let your children use the internet. It is an excellent teaching tool used to do research for school projects, explore different cultures, and even learn a new language. Unfortunately, there are many predators that lurk on the internet that may be detrimental to your child’s physical or mental well-being. Here are some of the dangers for children using the internet.

  1. Pornography 

One problem of parenting in the digital age comes down to internet searches. More than 1 in 8 online searches are related to pornography. The internet is a wealth of dangerous pornography. There is a wealth of graphic content glamorizing sexually degrading women, violent sexual behavior, incest, and more that is available for free online. One disturbing statistic reveals that 57% of young girls and 83% of underage boys will have seen group sex online before they turn 18 years old.

Whatever your stance is on pornography, every parent agrees that it is not something that is suitable for underage children. Being exposed to pornography at a young age is scientifically proven to warp children’s view of the opposite sex, their own self-worth, and can cause permissive attitudes about sex.

  1. Online Predators and Sexting 

Because children can be manipulated, it makes them an easy target for predators in chat rooms and on social media. When you do not monitor the friends your children are talking to online, you leave your child open to various forms of abuse online. A predator may bully your child into participating in an online sex chat or video sex chat. The predator may then keep those images and distribute them online.

It is estimated that nearly 1 in 5 teenagers will share a sexual text they received from someone else. This includes nude or semi-nude images. So whether your child is sexting an adult or someone their own age, sharing sexual information or photos can be detrimental to their emotional health, their human rights, and their reputation. 

  1. Meeting Someone Online 

Meeting someone in person that you initially met on the internet is something that no one should take lightly, especially children. Two people should have been talking for a long time and should confirm each other’s identity via video chat before agreeing to meet. When getting together, both should bring a friend and meet in a public place to ensure they are out of harm’s way. These are not things that children think before meeting a stranger from the internet. This is especially terrifying since children are more open to sexual exploitation, assault, and abuse when they meet a stranger from the internet.

  1. Cyberbullying 

Cyberbullying is an umbrella term that may be used to refer to a number of actions. Impersonation is one of them. This could mean someone is pretending to be your child or is “catfishing” them by pretending to be someone else in order to gain your child’s trust, often using a false profile or profile picture.

According to the website Bullying Statistics, studies show that half of all adolescents have already or will eventually experience cyberbullying and 1 in 3 youths will receive a personal threat via the internet.

Other cyberbullying actions include cyberstalking, trolling (saying hurtful, offensive, or sexually explicit comments for the sake of being mean or shocking), abusive threats of bodily harm, and outing. Outing is an especially painful form of cyberbullying, as it involves someone revealing personal information about your children to an online form such as on social media. This personal information could involve a sexually explicit action or photo, giving out someone’s address, outing someone’s sexuality, and revealing other hurtful secrets.

How to Parent in the Digital Age 

Now that you know the problem of parenting in the digital age, it’s time to see what you can do about it. Much of the problem with parenting in the digital age comes from not understanding the dangers that are out there and not paying enough attention to what your children are doing. If you want to be a responsible cyber parent, here are some of the things you should be doing. 

  1. Learn What Your Children Are Doing: There is a fine line between being a helicopter parent and being a safe one. Communicate regularly with your children so that you have a better idea of what your children are doing on their computers and smartphones. Who are their friends? Who are they texting regularly? Check the internet history on your child’s computer and smartphone to see if they are running into any dangerous activity. 
  1. Look for Signs of Trouble: Does your child spend inordinate amounts of time on social media, seem sleep deprived or play video games almost constantly online? Are they seeming more sexually active or have a drastic change in mood or attitude? These may be signs that your children are experiencing some negative aspects of the internet. 
  1. Teach Your Children Internet Safety: The best way to be a responsible parent of children using the internet is to communicate regularly with your young ones about the possible dangers they may encounter online. Ask them who they are talking to, remind them the importance of being safe on social media and that whatever they post will remain there forever.
  1. Encourage Good Behavior: Young children should be encouraged to only use the internet during the week to study, with X amount of online leisure time. Another way to encourage responsible internet usage is to put your computer in the family room of your home. This way your child is not allowed to have too much privacy while surfing the internet. You can also encourage good behavior online and have a positive attitude. Your children will be more inclined to listen to you if you are familiar with and excited about the positive aspects of the Internet, instead of simply hammering away at its dangers.

Author Bio:- Sylvia Smith is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. Her mission is to provide inspiration, support and empowerment to everyone on their journey to a great marriage. She is a featured writer for Marriage.com, a reliable resource to support healthy happy marriages.

 

posted by on Bullying, Cyberbullying, cyberbullying prevention, Cybersafety, Online Safety

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In this digital age of online harassment, no one is safe from cyberbullying anymore: 41% of adults have faced online harassment while “1.7 million children have reported being cyberbullied in one school year alone.” We’ve entered an age of faux anonymity that has lead to a rise in the belief of consequence free abuse. Without any sort of repercussions, some see it as an invitation to do everything they’re unable to do in “real” life, as there are real life consequences they can’t squirrel away from as easily as they do online.

Adults and teens alike think they can hide behind an online handle and post abuse with nothing tying them to their words.

It’s sadly a common belief that words have no ‘real’ weight online – that they stay on the internet and have no effect on real life at all. It’s this thought that bullies use to justify their abuse. It’s also this thought that has victims not reporting online abuse, for fear of being seen as ‘overreacting’, or a ‘baby’. However, cyberbullying an extremely serious matter, one that can and has lead to victims taking their own life, such as in the cases of Amanda Todd and Ryan Halligan.

So what can we do, as adults and parents, to help stop this culture of online harassment? Cultivate a counter-culture of empathy, understanding and teaching.

  • Empathy
    • Show by doing. You’re children retain what they see and hear you do and say, so check yourself before you act out in front of them. Instead of responding with emotional anger, pause. Ask yourself why you’re angry at someone. Ask yourself why they’re acting the way they are. Ask yourself is responding going to achieve anything. Remember, you’re the standard by which your child is going to act, so by making sure you react (and act) in a mature way teaches them when and how to do so too.
  • Understanding
    • Try and understand where the cyberbully is coming from. Are they simply there to troll you? Are they jealous of you? Are they upset by what content you post? Understand if there is a need for you to respond or take what they say to heart in any way. Understand you can have a Zero Troll Policy and can block them immediately. Understand the victim. Understand their feelings, why they’re upset, why they’re allowed to be upset.
  • Teaching
    • Teach why this digital age of no accountability abuse isn’t sustainable. Teach kids and other adults how empathy and compassion is a much better alternative. Teach that online actions have real life consequences, and we should always act with awareness of this fact. Teach by example: do not get caught up in this culture of shaming and abusing for Retweets or Likes. Teach to not share as much online, to be wary of what you do. Teach that we shouldn’t blame victims for bullies actions, and that we should have endless compassion and patience for them.

What we put out into the world, we get back. If we teach empathy and understanding, and that actions do have consequences both online and in real life, then we will surely get rid of this troll culture that plagues the internet.

Special guest post by KidGuard.com.

posted by on Bullying, Civility, Digital Life, Kindness Counts

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November 13, 2017 is World Kindness Day which is a great time to emphasis the importance of humanity towards each other. At the same time, it’s a bit sad that we have to remind people to simply be nice to one another.

In my latest book, Shame Nation: The Global Epidemic of Online Hate (Sourcebooks, October 2017) we recognize that although we are living in a time of incivility both offline and especially online, it was important to give you resources of people that are making a positive impact on communities all over the globe.

The Ripple Kindness Project

Founder Lisa Currie developed this Australian-based curriculum for the very youngest of students in elementary schools. “From what I could see, traditional antibullying programs were very negative and short-lived and really didn’t leave kids with any resources for improving their thoughts, feelings, or behavior,” she says. “Our aim is to infuse children with goodness by teaching them about their emotions, having them participate in acts of kindness, and experiencing the good feelings that are produced when they do good for others. When children learn to be givers, their whole world can change.”

Here are some of Ripple Kindness’s suggested activities to
get you started:

• Give blood.
• Leave a chocolate for the cashier.
• Bake a cake for someone.
• Feed an expired parking meter.
• Pay for someone’s meal.
• Give a compliment.
• Listen to and play with children.
• Clean someone’s home.
• Clean someone’s car.
• Buy coffee for the person behind you.
• Visit someone in a nursing home.
• Take some food or clothing to a homeless person.
• Leave a note in a lunch box.
• Don’t charge someone for some work you do for them.
• Become an organ donor.
• Ask an elderly neighbor if she needs any assistance
around her home.
• Hand make cheer-up
cards and deliver them to a hospital
for patients.
• Let someone go in front of you at a checkout.
• Babysit for someone.
• If you’re an employer, allow your staff to leave an hour
early one day.

I Can Help Delete Negatively

At Excelsior Middle School in Byron, California, a fake Facebook page was created to poke fun at a teacher. Leadership teachers Matt Soeth and Kim Karr were inspired to create a program called #ICANHELP, empowering their middle school students to choose a different path and “delete negativity.” They call themselves the Positive Warriors. When, a year later, a similar page went up on Instagram mocking the same teacher, thirty kids
went in, posted supportive comments, and reported the page, which was removed within forty-five minutes.

This crusade is spreading. #ICANHELP visited more than one hundred schools across the country, hosting assemblies and organizing student leadership trainings. “I don’t tell kids what not to do, I show them what I want them to do,” Soeth says. “Modeling that expectation will breed that behavior.” One popular exercise that Soeth brings to schools is “Give a Compliment, Get a Compliment,” where students scrawl personal messages for friends on Post-it notes, filling up entire bathroom mirrors with notes like “You’re amazing,” “Smile!,” and “You’re the best version of you!” Another is “High-Five Highway,” where high school upperclassmen and staff line the halls on the first day of school, and instead of hazing new freshmen, greet them with high fives. The most popular of all is “UnSent”—if you’ve ever wanted to thank someone for something they did, but fretted that too much time had passed, UnSent Day gives you the chance to still send
that missive long past its due.

If there’s negativity online, there’s going to be negativity within the culture off the campus,” says Soeth. “We try to work with students to [help them] understand how powerful they are, in order to make good things happen.”

#NiceItForward

“Who is the most awesome person today?” asks the Facebook page “Greenwich Compliments.” And every day, it answers, peppering those who live in this posh Connecticut town with a daily hip-hip-hooray for their beautiful voice, sense of style, or willingness to lend a hand.

The idea was sparked after a 2013 suicide of a bullied teen on his first day of his sophomore year shook the entire community. Looking for a way to turn things around, the Facebook page solicits compliments about Greenwich residents, receiving up to thirty submissions daily. “It only takes a few seconds, but by submitting, you are making a conscious decision to make someone else’s day better,” says the woman behind the site, a Greenwich High School graduate who chooses to remain anonymous. “People ask if I am a police officer or a teacher. I am neither. I am just a person who grew up in Greenwich and who knows how tough life can be sometimes and who knows how awesome it is to receive a compliment and how rewarding it is to give one.”

“Privacy and anonymity are very frequently used negatively on the Internet, unfortunately,” she explains. “I like to think that Greenwich Compliments is different.”

These types of #NiceItForward accounts have popped up across the nation, some created by students themselves and others by adults. One Twitter account, @OsseoNiceThings, was created in 2012 by Kevin Curwick, then a popular high school senior at Minnesota’s Osseo High School, who began anonymously tweeting shout-outs to his classmates. The media attention sparked similar accounts all over the state and beyond, such as @ERHSnicewords, created by a student at East Ridge High School in Woodbury, Minnesota, and titled “The End to Bullying,” which now has more than forty thousand followers.

Down in Charlotte, North Carolina, one father of two had had enough with comments on Twitter bashing a sports media star he follows, so he decided to create the moniker Supportive Guy and put positivity out there. “I wondered what the counterpoint of this kind of online behavior would be,” he explains. “And I created the account [@SupportiveDude] that moment on a whim.” Since then, he has grown his following to more than fifteen hundred fans, tweeting kind remarks, and has even started the SupportiveGuy minute-long podcast. “All I’m trying to do is give people a safe haven and an online friend they can always tweet and get a response [from], maybe even a laugh. And maybe, people can see that you can get attention online without being negative. The reality is that you have a right to be on social media whenever you want to, without [the] risk of being verbally attacked.”

For more of these inspiring stories, organizations and people making a difference, order Shame Nation book today from your favorite bookstore.

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

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Let’s start November off with a clear understanding that no one has to tolerate hate in any form, whether it’s online or off.

About: The first Wednesday of every November – this year, Wednesday, November 1, 2017 – will be known as National Block It Out Day (#BlockItOutDay). An initiative of STOMP Out Bullying, the goal of this day is to block negativity from our digital lives and, by doing so, end cruelty, homophobia, LGBTQ discrimination, racism, hatred and online violence.

Each of us has the power to choose what we give our attention to online. We can all choose to block out the online hatred, trolls and bullying that makes up the culture of cyberbullying. So let’s block the negative messages we each receive from social media, create a safe positive online space, and encourage and empower others to do the same.

What is Cyberbullying? Cyberbullying is when someone repeatedly and intentionally harasses, mistreats, or makes fun of another person online or while using cell phones or other electronic devices. Approximately 34% of the students surveyed by the Cyberbullying Research Center have experienced cyberbullying in their lifetimes. When asked about specific types of cyberbullying experienced in the previous 30 days, mean or hurtful comments (22.5%) and rumors spread online (20.1%) continue to be among the most commonly-cited. Twenty-six percent of the sample reported being cyberbullied in one or more of the eleven specific types reported, two or more times over the course of the previous 30 days.

National Block It Out Day is not about likes vs. dislikes. This day is about POSITIVITY!

You know who your friends are. They’re the ones who always include you. Sometimes you worry they’ll get bored of you, but somehow they never do!

And then there are the others.  People who make you feel bad. Scare you. Insult you. Threaten you.

They show up on your social channels, on your phone, on your email.  Whoever they are, wherever they came from–They gotta go! 

And the only one who can make that happen is you. Don’t let them in. If a creep came to your front door would you let them in the house? No. The same goes for the creeps all around you in cyberspace.  

You also would tell others about the creep lurking around the neighborhood, so do the same here. Pick the right people to tell. Maybe your parents. Maybe a teacher.  But certainly your friends. Somebody’s got to know because even though blocking the creep will help, blocking does not stop this person from moving on to someone else. 

So, spread the word, send texts, post, and get your friends to pass it on.  Let’s shut the bullies out. Even if for one day!!

On #BlockItOutDay, be part of the movement to STOMP Out Bullying and change the culture for good.  

Why: When it comes to cyberbullying, an “out of sight, out of mind” philosophy is an extremely effective strategy. When someone who is being harassed and trolled online, often and aggressively, continues to allow that harasser access to their social media, they willingly give their bully the power. This only allows bullying to continue. It takes bravery, but when a person blocks out their bully, they’re blocking out negative messages and creating a healthy, safe and positive online environment. When that person encourages their friends to do the same, they are leading by example and helping others create a safe space, too. When we come together in this way, we create a ripple effect that erases the spread of hate and cruelty on social media. On #BlockItOutDay, you block out more than your bully; you’re blocking out cyberbullying for all.

How it Works:  On National Block It Out Day, STOMP Out Bullying is encouraging everyone who is being bullied, trolled and mistreated online to not only block out their bully on social media, but to go a step further and encourage and empower their friends to block their own bullies as well. We can all control what we take in, and we can and should refuse to take in negative messages of hate and discrimination! We can and will erase negative messages. We can and will take that power away from our bullies.

STOMP Out Bullying is asking youths around the world from every corner of the web to block out their bullies, erase the negative messages, and create a positive, safe digital space for themselves.

STOMP Out Bullying is asking youths to encourage and empower their friends to do the same! We will create a chain reaction that will erase cruelty, homophobia, LGBTQ discrimination, racism and online hatred.

Learn more about how to block on different social platforms here.

posted by on Cyberbullying, cyberbullying prevention, Online bullying, Online reputation, Parenting Blogs, Parenting Teens, Parenting tips

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With the rise of online cruelty, cyberbullying is literally killing young people. Bullycide is now a word we are dealing with in this generation – death by humiliation.

Recently I chatted with Dr. Robyn Silverman about talking with our kids and teens about preventing and overcoming online shaming and cyberbullying. My recent book, Shame Nation: The Global Epidemic of Online Hate (Sourcebooks) which was just released on October 3rd, 2017, outlines surviving, preventing and overcoming digital disasters.

Take the time to listen to Dr. Robyn and myself in this #TalkToKids podcast. The more you know – the more you will be able to help your kids be safer online.

The podcast provides:

  • Tips on How to prevent online shaming. Sue provides guidelines to adhere to when posting online. Such as being mindful of what you post, learn patience, de-clutter your friends list!
  • Tips once online shaming or cyber bullying has occurred.
  • Steps to triumph in the area of online shaming.
  • How to build up and humanize your online persona.
  • How to check-in with yourself- am I representing myself in the way that is genuine and kind?

And much more!

Order Shame Nation today at your favorite bookstore.

posted by on Bullying, Civility, Cyberbullying, cyberbullying prevention

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Children have the right to be protected from being hurt and mistreated, physically or mentally, they have a right to privacy. We all share a collective responsibility to guarantee these rights are enforced and enable children and young people to play, learn, develop, and participate, both offline and online.

No one is immune to online harassment.

The Internet doesn’t take time off for holidays, vacations or summer breaks. In a PEW Study on Teens, Social Media and Technology , ninety-two percent of teens go online daily, with twenty-four percent saying that they are online constantly. They are spending more of their time in cyberspace than they are in the real world.

The gravity of the situation is made more obvious by a survey from Vodafone, which revealed that forty-three percent of teens believed cyberbullying was a bigger problem than drug abuse. The survey also revealed:

• Forty-one percent of teens said cyberbullying made them feel sad, helpless and depressed.
• Twenty-six percent said they felt completely alone.
• Eighteen percent said they felt suicidal.
• Twenty-one percent stay home from school due to cyberbullying
• Thirty-eight percent don’t tell their parents they are being harassed online.

The fact that many children do not tell their parents or an adult about the cyberbullying is an issue that continues to concern experts and advocates. Telling a parent is not only about reporting the bully so that steps can be taken, but it also helps preserve the child’s emotional health.

The reason kids don’t tell their parents about cyberbullying may range from fear of having their lifeline removed (being shut off from the Internet) and being ashamed of what is happening to retaliation from the bully or teasing by other kids. This is why offline parenting is so crucial to a child’s online life. Only parents can turn this statistic around.

Images speak louder than words – so please watch this video and pass it on to your friends, family and kids.

Parents: Teach your kids empathy and talk with them about their online activities.
Teachers: Help kids understand the line between funny and cruel and develop an antibullying charter/program in your school.
Kids: If you witness cyberbullying, report it and offer your support. Be an upstander.

Peer cruelty happens at all ages.  Parents need to keep in mind, while they monitoring their children, their kids will be snooping on them.   Mom and dad need to be conscience of what they are posting in social media also.  You are a social media role model.

Lead by example.

Need more information for curbing online hate? Order Shame Nation book today!

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

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It’s no longer about a simple mean tweet or harsh comment, we are now dealing with verbal violence and cyber-harassment.

Shame Nation: The Global Epidemic of Online Hate (Sourcebooks) is finally here, make no mistake about it, we’re all a click away from digital disaster. With 92% of Americans armed with smartphones — ready to record your most embarrassing moments.

The rise of social media and “always-on connectivity” has broadened the scope of online harassment. Harassers can be anonymous and reach you 24/7, posting messages and photos that are difficult to erase. Whether in the form of cyberbullying among teens and children, or cyber harassment among adults, online harassment comes in many different forms and can lead to detrimental effects, both emotionally and physically. Fortunately, there are ways that we can protect ourselves, our children, and others from cyberbullying and cyber harassment. There are best practices for online safety, common signs to recognize if someone is being bullied or harassed, and actions we can take to respond to and report bullies or harassers.

To learn more about the different forms of online harassment and how to protect yourself and others, check out the infographic below!

More Than Mean Tweets: Protecting Against Cyberbullying and Cyber Harassment Infographic

Infographic by Digital Guardian

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

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Girls can be mean.  Kids can be mean. Adults are no different – sadly.  No one is immune to bullying but everyone has the ability to be kind.

We have heard a lot about mean girls, almost to exhaustion, yet it doesn’t make it go away or even get better.  Girls gossip, they will berate other girls until they cry and feel like dying.

Newly released, one of my favorite authors, Katie Hurley launched  No More Mean Girls (TarcherPerigee). This book will be a game changer for parents, educators and caregivers.

Leading by example.

I still believe a lot of what goes on starts at the top.  Our kids are watching adults – parents and how they treat others.  Girls will watch their mother’s gossip and belittle other mothers, neighbors and even the neighborhood kids.  It is absolutely unacceptable.

The power of girl cliques can be deadly in schools.  Especially if your daughter is locked out of one.  Is it any different if you are a mother that isn’t included for coffee or lunch?  Or worse – is the topic of the coffee or lunch gossip.

Communication with our kids can be difficult at times, but so important. Stay engaged with your child, know who their friends are and if they are having any difficulties with peers.  Be in touch with how they are feeling.

Especially with technology today, online harassment can make your child an easier target for bullies.  Teach your child how to report abuse online and not to be afraid to tell an adult when they are being taunted. Instilling digital wisdom should be a daily routine.  Building trust is imperative to a child.  You are their advocate.

Kind Campaign is an internationally recognized movement, documentary and school program based upon the powerful belief in KINDness that brings awareness and healing to the negative and lasting effects of girl-against-girl “crime.”

Follow them on Twitter and join them on Facebook.

In my new book, Shame Nation: The Global Epidemic of Online Hate (Sourcebooks) we chatted with the founders of the KIND Campaign both Lauren Paul and Molly Thompson.

After watching Finding Kind, the girls are inspired to get up and publicly apologize for a misdeed, pledge to make a change, and write a note of appreciation to an acquaintance. Girls are driven to tearful confessions in the “Truth Booth” about how emotionally scarring bullying can be. “We try and leave girls with the message that [the bullying] they’re experiencing is one small, tiny chapter of their whole story,” says Molly. “It’s so hard to really grasp that there are so many amazing experiences they will have, [that] they don’t need to change themselves.”

Take the time to change a life – it always comes full circle….

Order Shame Nation today from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-Million or Indie Books.

posted by on Adult Bullying, Adult Cyberbullying, Bullying, Cyberbullying

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October is National Cyberbullying Awareness and Prevention Month. There are many forms of online cruelty.

As I continue to write about bullying and cyberbullying, it never ceases to amaze me how many different ways people have discovered to hate others — whether it is on the playground or virtually, peer cruelty doesn’t seem to have any limits or boundaries.

The irony of it is I read so much about youth bullying, and I don’t want to diminish that it is an important issue — but the fact is adults are not only victims of harassment, they can be the perpetrators too.   Yes, the very people that should be our children’s role models (sports figures, celebrities, politicians, teachers, elders, etc… people we should respect) can be the direct people that are acting like children online or otherwise.

We have heard the stories of fat shaming, face shaming, parent shaming (moms judging moms), baby shaming, cyber-shaming and this year I read more about the ugliness of slut shaming (from adults).

Most have heard and read about revenge porn.  Slut shaming (sexual bullying) is different, yet some may confuse it with porn since the word slut is a slur for girls or women that are believed to have been engaged in many sexual partners.

The UnSlut Project, founded by Emily Lindin, is about giving young girls a voice — a voice that Emily herself offers to girls across the world that are sexually bullied.  Once a victim of slut shaming, she knows she was fortunate that she decided on her darkest days – not to take her life.


Others, such as Amanda Todd and Audrie Potts, were not as fortunate.

Being bullied in any form is cruel.  Sexual bullying is only yet another form of cruelty that youth have no control over.  Like the telephone game, before you know it, the girl has slept with the entire football team or school for that matter — and has no way to defend herself.

The UnSlut Project aired their documentary “UnSlut: A Documentary Film.”  In 2013, Halifax teenager Rehtaeh Parsons took her own life after being raped and ostracized by her classmates. Through the stories of four women who overcame various sexual shaming, this film explores how we can work toward a world where the word “slut” doesn’t even make sense as an insult.

Most everyone agrees bullying and cyberbullying needs to stop.  Education and awareness it the key to prevention.  The more you know the more you are able to be part of the solution.

Emily Lindin continues to be a voice in curbing online hate and slut shaming. As an expert and contributor in my new book, Shame Nation: The Global Epidemic of Online Hate (Sourcebooks) she reminds young girls when she speaks with them about sharing nudes….

Emily points out that online porn is readily available, so these boys already have all the masturbatory material they could ever desire—what they are really after is power to lord over you, control you, even blackmail you. She asks young women pointedly, “Do you really want to give them that power?”

Emily’s question can equally relate to adults. Ultimately, the decision to share nude photos of yourself is yours, and yours alone, to make. And if it happens that someone out there chooses to exploit your nude photos—it’s not your fault. But, please, before sharing a nude, know the risks and take time to consider the potential consequences.

Order Shame Nation today from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-Million or Indie Books.

posted by on Cyberbullying, Online Safety, Parenting, Parenting Teens

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Today almost everyone, not only teenagers, are connected to social media.

A Pew Research Center study found that 92 percent of U.S. teenagers use social networks at least once a day, with 24 percent reporting that they are online “almost constantly.

Adults love their social media too. According to PEW Research Center study, 74 percent of adults online use social media with Facebook leading by 71 percent.

What is all this social media doing to our health?

Depending on your personality everyone handles their cyber-stress differently. Don’t kid yourself, there is cyber-stress especially when teens start depending on LIKEs for their self-image (esteem) and adults start comparing their lives to their friends lives (or what they are posting online).

Let’s keep in mind this is social media.  There will always be those humble-braggers.  Yes, people that believe they need to one-up others digitally or lead others to believe that their life is more than it actually is.  It’s frustrating since those photo’s can be deceiving, and it makes you reflect on your own life — wondering where you missed the boat.  Chances are you didn’t, they are only a perception through what they want you to believe.

It can be more of a struggle for teens.  They aren’t mature enough to understand that it’s only social media and it’s not the end of the world.

The number of LIKEs today won’t determine their future.  

Limiting social media use can cause FOMO (fear of missing out), however it is important to find the healthy balance and talking with them about their self-worth outside of the cyber-world.

One study, Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, found that teens using social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more than two hours per day are more likely to report suicidal thoughts, psychological distress and rate their mental health as poor.

This study also found that teenagers using social media for excessive periods were more likely to say their mental health needs were going unmet and called for public health organizations to do more to engage with young people via such platforms.

The study acknowledged that social media can be a way to combat loneliness and depression, as well as increase self-esteem and social support, like I have witnessed with social media therapy. Chances are this is with more mature teens or people with a better understanding of how we need to use social media.

There was a second study, How Facebook Usage is Linked to Depressive Symptoms, found that people feel depressed after excessive use of Facebook because they tend to make negative social comparisons with friends who crop up in their timelines.  Again, you need to remember, things are not always what they seem.

There is nothing wrong with social media, it is all about finding the healthy balance and learning that there is fact and fiction.  Just because it’s online doesn’t mean it’s true.

Offline parenting is what helps your child/teenager with their online health and wellness. It’s not about one chat, it’s your daily discussions.  Check-in with them about how they are feeling about different posts, or if they are struggling with cyber-stress or anxiety.  Keep a pulse on their cyber-health offline.