A good friend just let me know that last week, this article that I wrote for the Huffington Post was featured on AOL’s home page–very exciting! I hope it provides some helpful tips and strategies for parents, as they help a very tech-savvy generation become bully-savvy as well. Here’s an excerpt:
At not-quite-nine, I am still amazed everyday at how natural and intuitive technology usage is to my daughter and to all of her peers who have grown up with computers, cell phones, tablets and texting as part of their everyday lives. I am also aware, however, that things like Internet Safety, Cyberbullying and “Netiquette” may not register on her radar the same way they do on mine.
When she was very young, I worried about the unknown: online predators who could try to trick her into revealing personal information so that they could cause her physical harm. Now, in her tween years, I know that “stranger danger” is still a threat, but I spend more of my time worrying about the known: frenemies from her daily life who may use taunting texts, humiliating social media posts and viral videos to cause her emotional harm. It’s no wonder that when she begs me (at least once daily) for a cell phone, I feel chills run up and down my spine.
No matter how tech-savvy my daughter becomes, I am constantly aware that she is young and that it is up to me to monitor her safety and well-being with technology in the same consistent, diligent way that I ensure her well-being on a playground. These basic rules are our first line of defense in minimizing (I’m too wise to think that “preventing” is realistic) cyberbullying and using technology in safe, respectful ways:
To read about the six strategies I suggest to parents, please visit the HuffingtonPost or click this link:
If you’re familiar with the phrase “sad, but true,” this must-watch video is hilarious because it’s so sad that it’s so true.
Moms, watch this one with your daughters! I know I will be showing this in my Mother-Daughter workshops based on Friendship & Other Weapons when we talk about the media’s impact on young girls. This is the perfect clip for creating awareness about healthy body images, photoshopping, and self-esteem.
“Maybe she’s born with it. No…I’m pretty sure it’s Fotoshop!”
Rachel Simmons, bestselling author of Odd Girl Out and co-founder of the Girls Leadership Institute (GLI), offers great insights and advice for parents on how to walk the fine line between stalking their children’s technology usage and taking a totally hands-off approach. Her advice on effective limit-setting–and why limits are so important socially and academically–is great:
This morning, an interviewer asked me how the idea for Friendship & Other Weapons came to be. Thought it was worth sharing with you as well…
My previous book, How to Be Angry, started with the fundamental premise that anger is OK; its 15-session curriculum is all about giving children, tweens and teens specific assertive skills to express their anger in constructive, relationship-building ways. After writing the book, it became obvious to me that there is a large group of young people who are shut out from this basic presupposition that anger is a normal, natural human experience. Millions of young girls in the United States grow up immersed in a social universe in which “being angry” is equated with “being bad” or, at best, not “being nice.” (more…)
I was a big fan of Sesame Street as a kid and am a bigger fan now, as a Mom. Check out how the show is approaching the problem of bullying with young children–focusing on prevention (where we have a prayer) rather than relying on intervention (where we constantly swim upstream). LOVE it!
Wow. Some things you know intuitively, but you don’t take the time to consider how astounding they are until someone puts all of the pieces together like this filmmaker did. In Friendship & Other Weapons, parents and professionals have three chapters devoted to helping kids examine media influences and pressures, knowing that awareness can build resistance.
Please check out this amazing short film–with your daughter!
Check out this great article by Rachel Simmons, as featured in Teen Vogue: http://www.teenvogue.com/connect/2011/09/reputation-rehab?currentPage=1 Simmons shares real life stories of ruined reputations and how girls can cope with social ostracism.
The article is jam-packed with pearls of wisdom, but this quote from one of the gossip-survivors just rings especially true:
Elsa realized that denying the rumors seemed to make them worse, so she decided to confront them head-on. “The more I was like, ‘It happened. Get over it,’ the more people would drop it. I think that when you don’t tell people things and they know it, they become even more invested in figuring out what it is. If you’re honest and up-front about it, it goes away.”
In Friendship & Other Weapons, I feature an activity for girls based on Trudy Ludwig’s fantastic book, My Secret Bully. The book is all about how bullying can be disguised as friendship and how particularly painful this type of subtle, hidden, “I Was Just Kidding” aggression can be. My Secret Bully also offers kids great insights into how to cope with bullying effectively, from sharing experiences with trusted adults to standing up for themselves. I love it–a definite favorite!
Trudy Ludwig’s most recent book, Confessions of a Former Bully, also provides great ideas and insights for handling bullying. The following blog post, from the School Counselor Blog, talks about an activity that one school counselor has developed, based on Ludwig’s new work:
“Today is one of the most important civil-rights days in New Jersey history,” said New Jersey Garden State Equality Chairman Steven Goldstein of the new anti-bullying laws just enacted yesterday. It’s a positive step for sure…
Rachel Simmons did a great interview this morning on the Today Show, talking about girls & cyberbullying. Always great to hear from her…always frightening to think about the parenting perils ahead of me, raising two daughters.