Social Media HelpLine Launches For Schools

SocialMediaHelpLine#iCANHELP AND NET FAMILY NEWS INC. TEAM UP TO PILOT A SOCIAL MEDIA HELPLINE FOR SCHOOLS DURING 2015-’16 SCHOOL YEAR

With 92% of middle and high school students online daily, 24% of them “almost constantly,”* it’s time schools had some help with social media! The Helpline’s developers – #iCANHELP and Net Family News Inc. – invite you to contribute to a fundraising campaign at Indiegogo.com: http://igg.me/at/icanhelpline. The goal of the campaign is $25,000 to cover “construction costs” for piloting in California next school year – Web site construction, communications tools and staff training.

“The helpline will be the hub of a whole help ecosystem,” said Matt Soeth, co-founder of #iCANHELP, “with real-time, research-based advice, help in reporting and escalating abuse in social media services, a directory of school policy and investigation resources and a growing, searchable database of school social media case studies.”

“Contributions big or small are huge to the helpline,” said Anne Collier, president of San Jose-based Net Family News. “This is about growing the digital literacy and citizenship of all members of school communities.”

Here’s what we’re talking about:

  • A call centerplus: Schools can call during school hours for real-time help, but the Web site – which will include links to sources of specialized help and a directory of resources for prevention, incident response and policymaking – is 24/7/365. To be added as cases come in: an ever-growing searchable database of anonymized school case studies. The Helpline will also be a source of metrics & trends in school online safety issues for educators, researchers, policymakers and parents.
  • Schools not individuals – We’ll refer individuals to other great sources of help, but this helpline’s specifically for schools. If a member of a school community has a problem, we’ll ask him or her to work with us through their school.
  • Working with social media: We’ll help schools navigate sites and apps, report abuse and get content taken down that violates Terms of Service, providing the industry with much-needed local context as a trusted intermediary.
  • Part of a global network of helplines in other countries that help each other and, with a growing collective knowledge base, help users resolve problems in a global medium.
  • Unique among helplines in approaching students as part of the solution and building on established student leadership education and peer-mentoring practices.
  • Deep Internet safety experience: Builds on more than 15 years in the Internet safety space, working with practitioners and researchers and advising Internet companies.

About us: Net Family News is a San Jose, Calif.-based national nonprofit organization founded in 1999 to educate the public and advise the Internet industry about research and developments in technology related to youth. #iCANHELP is a Bay Area-based national nonprofit organization that creates and promotes positive, school-based solutions & interventions to anti-social behavior online.

Please make a donation to the iCanHelpline campaign at http://igg.me/at/icanhelpline

*Pew Research Center’s 2015 “Teens, Social Media & Technology” study

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Is Your Teen A Victim Of A Cyberbully? Would You Know?

National Children’s Mental Health Awareness day right around the corner on May 7th, 2015.  Bullying and cyberbullying can cause long term emotional scars.  Many times teens will hide these bruises from their parents – pretending to be brave – as if it isn’t cool to be sad or depressed.

Bullying has changed from the days of taking someone’s lunch money or giving them a swirly in the bathroom. Now, children are much more likely to engage in cyberbullying, or the use of electronic communication to bully a person. In fact, 20-30% of today’s children will be cyberbullied, and 10-20% of students will be cyberbullies.

However, it can be tricky for a parent to figure out if their child is experiencing cyberbullying; more than half of the children who experience cyberbullying do not tell their parents about it. And while around 55% of teens report having observed bullying behavior online, 95% report ignoring the behavior when it was observed.

There are a few tell-tale signs that can give clues that your child might be engaged in cyberbullying. For example long periods and odd hours of internet use, or changes in a child’s patterns of internet use, can signify cyberbullying. A child engaging in cyberbullying behavior might also become upset if their internet usage is confronted or cut off by their parents. Children with excessive social media accounts may be using them to follow and harass others.

Is Your Child A Cyberbully: Facts About Cyberbullying

Attribution – YellowBrick Program

Digital Abuse: Social Networking Safety

LOveIsFebruary is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

Love is Respect continue to educate teens, parents and communities on dating violence.  We live in a world of technology where today it’s not only about physical and verbal abuse, people are suffering with digital abuse.

What is digital abuse?

You deserve to be in a safe and healthy relationship, both in person or online. If your partner is digitally abusive, know their behavior is not acceptable and could be illegal. Check out our tips below for staying safe on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, foursquare and others.

  • Only post things you want the public to see or know. Once it’s online, it’s no longer under your control.
  • Be protective of your personal information. Your phone numbers and addresses enable people to contact you directly, and things like your birth date, the schools you attended, your employer and photos with landmarks may make it easier for someone to find where you live, hang out or go to school.
  • Set boundaries and limits. Tell people not to post personal information, negative comments or check-ins about you on social media. Ask people not to post or tag pictures if you’re not comfortable with it.
  • You can keep your passwords private — sharing passwords is not a requirement of being in a relationship.
  • Don’t do or say anything online you wouldn’t in person. It may seem easier to express yourself when you are not face-to-face, but online communication can have real-life negative consequences.

Learn more – visit www.loveisrespect.org

Sticks and Stones: New Program Designed to Bring Parents and Teenagers Closer

bookSticksStonesThe Sticks & Stones Seven-Week Program bridges the communication gap between parents and teenagers. The Program helps parents and teens learn how to work together to communicate more effectively and build a stronger bond.
Parents are always looking for new and creative ways to get their teens to communicate with them. Author Meaghan Roberts has just released her new program designed specifically to help parents create an environment where teenagers feel comfortable opening up. The Program consists of two eBooks, Sticks & Stones and My Rock. Sticks & Stones is a self-help guide for teens concerning daily issues they deal with such as bullying, self-esteem and peer pressure. The guide is also an e-journal where teens can privately write their thoughts, feelings and questions. The purpose is to create a safe outlet for teens to express themselves. They will read one chapter a week and spend the remainder of the week reflecting and writing about what they learned. My Rock is a supplemental guide that gives parents insight on what their teens are reading each week as well as communicative skills to help facilitate a conversation with their teens. Each week, a day prior to reading a new chapter, parents and teens will meet to discuss what their teens have learned and any questions they have.

The Program is safe, secure and private.
Meaghan developed the Sticks & Stones Seven-Week Program because traditional parenting books offer advice to parents but none to teens. When parents apply the advice, their teens have no idea where the change is coming from. Teenagers are no longer children and can no longer be treated like children. The only way a parent-teen relationship can develop is if both parties are involved. The Sticks & Stones program encourages parents and teens to work together to build trust as well as prepare teens for conversations they will have with their parents.
The Sticks & Stones Program is available only at www.mysticksandstones.com
Contact Information
Meaghan@mysticksandstones.com
www.mysticksandstones.com

Masterminds and Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World

Order today!

Order today!

By Rosalind Wiseman

Rosalind’s new book, Masterminds and Wingmen: Helping Your Son Cope with School Yard Power, Locker Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Realities of Guy World, shows what’s really happening in boys’ lives. It creates a new language and analytical framework to understand the power of boys’ social hierarchies and how these influence their decision-making and emotional well-being.

Watch video about this educational new book.

Order today!

What Teens Can Learn from Ashton Kutcher: A Lot!

Parents should take the time to listen to his acceptance speech and have their kids and especially teens listen. There are many lessons in it. Kudos to Ashton Kutcher for taking the time to influence our kids in a positive and REAL direction!

Problem Teens: Residential Therapy and Making that Difficult Decision

Seeking residential help can be daunting online.

Seeking residential help can be daunting online.

Summer is here and some parents will be considering summer camps while others are in the midst of hoping their teenager passed the school year, or had enough credits to graduate. If you are the parent of a teen who is struggling with school and acting out, it can drive you to your wit’s end.

Maybe your once fun-loving teenager who is good looking, intelligent, and has lots of good friends is now talking back to you, staying out late or sneaking out, defiant, and possibly sexually active? On the flip side, your once sweet child might be a teenage misfit who is acting out because of bullying, or is experimenting with sex, drugs, and/or alcohol in a desperate attempt to find acceptance.

What happens when you have a teenager that decides they don’t want to finish high school when they are more than capable? Perhaps they were consistently getting excellent grades and now they are just getting by or failing completely.  From an overachiever to an underachiever.  Or you have the teen that used to be a great athlete, was a popular kid in school–suddenly your child has become withdrawn and is hanging with a group of new peers that are less than desirable.

Is this typical teen behavior?

Possible, but how do you know when it is and when you need to intervene?

As the school year is coming to an end, it is a good time for parents to evaluate where their teen is at both emotionally and academically–especially if they are in High School. These are your final years to make a significant difference in their lives, and get them on a positive road towards their futures. When a child is crying out for help by using illegal substances,  running away, flunking in school, becoming secretive, possibly affiliating with a gang, or displaying other negative behavior it is a parent’s responsibility to get involved, as painful as that is, and seek treatment.

When adolescents reach the point of rebelliousness, many parents will try therapy, and this is a good place to start. But the success of local treatment will depend on the child and how far their behavior has escalated. Unfortunately many parents I have spoken to have reported that the one-hour session once a week–or even twice a week–rarely makes a difference in their teen’s behavior. For many parents there comes a time when residential therapy is taken under serious consideration–especially if drugs and/or alcohol are an issue. It is important to seek outside help, and removing a teen from their environment can be critical in getting them the help they need to heal. This is particularly true when a teen needs to be separated from undesirable peers that are instigating or perpetuating their negative behavior.

Though the majority of teens are unwilling to attend residential treatment, most of them are professionally transported by experts in the field. Parents spend a lot of time and stress about this part of the decision, but hiring a professional in this field can lessen the worries. They are trained to work with at-risk youth and will ask you all about your child before they arrive. In speaking with many parents and teens that have successfully used transports, the feedback is overwhelmingly positive.

At the end of the day, your teen truly wants to feel good about themselves again, too. They want to be that happy child that you remember. Remember, they were once that a good kid, and they can become that good person again.  Being a teenager isn’t easy, and parenting that child when you have reached your wit’s end is a challenge. Knowing you are not alone helps!

Take away tips for parents:

When seeking residential treatment, I always encourage parents to look for three key components that I call the ACE factor:

  • Accredited Academics (Ask to see their accreditation): Education is important, some programs actually don’t offer it.
  • Clinical (Credentialed therapists on staff): Please note–on staff.
  • Enrichment Programs (Animal assisted programs, culinary, fine arts, sports etc): Enrichment Programs are crucial to your child’s program. They will help build self-esteem and stimulate them in a positive direction. Find a program with something your teen is passionate about or used to be passionate prior their path in a negative direction.

I also encourage parents to avoid three red flags:

  • Marketing arms and sales reps (All those toll-free numbers, be careful of who you are really speaking to and what is in the best interest of your child.)
  • Short term programs (Wilderness programs or otherwise, rarely is there a quick fix. Short term program are usually short term results. They usually will then convince you to go into a longer term program after you are there a few weeks–why not just start with one? Consistency is key in recovery. An average program is 6-9-12 months, depending on your child’s needs and the program.)
  • Statistics that show their success rate (I have yet to see any program or school have a third party–objective survey–perform a true statistical report on a program’s success. Success is an individual’s opinion. You have to do your own due diligence and call parent references.)

For more information about researching residential therapy and helpful tips, visit http://www.helpyourteens.com and don’t forget to review the list of questions for schools and programs so you can make an educated decision.