Did you know your children could be stressing out over their social media friends list? Some children become very concerned about the number of friends on their friends list or likes on their page.
Many parents do not realize the kinds of issues that sometimes concern their children. Social media is on the minds of more and more of our youth. Are your children active on social media? Have you given them permission to be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat? Friendster, Google Plus, Pinterest and Tumblr are some other social media sites where your children may be active. How much time are you children spending on social media?
Studies show that children from the ages of 13 to 17 are spending over two hours a day on social media sites on the Internet. It is estimated that over 8 million children below the age of 13 are active on Facebook. Facebook is intended for users aged 13 and older.
How can we truly change the climate in our school? Can we actually re-form opinions that students and staff possess? Is there a way we can change a negative or mean-spirited school climate into one where cooperation, kindness and consideration abound? Can respect activities actually make a positive difference?
Many Respect Activities at St. Sofia School
The short answer is yes; these kinds of changes can be made. In fact there are schools in our own jurisdictions that prove this fact. Attempting to define the actual system or step by step list of procedures to achieve these goals could be a challenge, but it is safe to say that some basic respect activities can go a long way toward making a difference. Here are some tips to get started.
First of all we must define what we are actually trying to achieve. Many people would agree that we are trying to achieve a climate of respect within the walls of the school. In my opinion respect must start from the top and sift its way down. If the administration, including all the teachers, all support staff and even custodial staff live respect in their day-to-day work at the school, then others will begin to take notice. By others I mean students and even any parents that may be in the school. Many teachers use model respect to their students daily and many teachers use specific respect activities in their classrooms in their day-to-day teaching and have done it for years.
If your older students in the school show respect to each other, younger students will definitely begin to take notice. As younger kids began to learn from their older role models, they will begin to see respect as the norm. Situations and incidences which do not show respect will begin to be seen as highly unusual and unacceptable. All of these steps, of course, take time to initiate. In some schools it may take months, others may take years, while still others could possibly take decades in order to make these kinds of profound changes.
There are a number of tools which can help speed up this change so the transition can begin to take place sooner. The following activities will help to grow respect and to compound the effects:
1/ Form a student group which focuses completely on posters, announcement reminders, and other methods of awareness to help remind students and staff about the goal of achieving respect.
2/ Run special spirit days throughout the year which will help you get people on board in a fun way. Examples are: pink shirt stand up for respect day, be kind to someone day, pass on a smile day or respect activities workshop day.
3/ Special assemblies can also be a great way to help lift the spirits of the student body, and get everyone working in the same direction.
The above ideas for respect activities are only starters, but once you begin, I believe you will be moving toward a most worthwhile destination — achieving a climate of true respect in your school.
I just talked to a 10-year-old boy who told me he is immune to mean comments, teasing and also bullying.
I asked him to explain.
He told me that he just doesn’t let the comment or teasing register in his brain. He just ignores it. He said it is just a natural thing and it isn’t even hard to do.
I asked him, “how long have you had this ability?”
Him: “About one and a half or two years.”
Me: Do you realize that this might mean that you will never be bullied because you will never think of meanness as bullying?
Him: “Yes, I realize that. I think that’s a really good thing.”
Me: “How does this make you feel now that you know that you have this ability?”
Him: “I think it is kind of a super-hero-like power really.”
Me: Yes, I can see that it might be.
Him: Just the other day some kids were saying some mean stuff to me and I didn’t even care.
Me: Do you think they were trying to bully you?
Him: Maybe, but I’m not sure. They just stopped because I didn’t give them a reaction.
Me: Do you think there are very many other people with this power you are describing?
Him: I don’t know anyone else.
Me: Do you think other people could develop this power, or is it only reserved for certain people?
Him: I think there are a few people that could do it, but I think most people can’t.
Me: What do you think a bully would do if they knew you had this super-power?
Him: Leave me alone.
Me: Do you think you have any other super powers?
Him: (Thoughtfully) I’m not sure, maybe.
I have never talked to someone who described themselves as being immune to mean remarks and bullying before. I think this is quite interesting. If you have any comments, I would be pleased if you would share them in the comment box. Thanks.
Bruce Langford, Anti-bullying advocate and school presenter www.standupnow.ca
The bullying prevention advice we learned at Cardinal Newman is: Be yourself, let your energy spill out. Celebrate life, be kind and fill your life with respect.
You see, the students at Cardinal Newman live the advice you read above. They are filled with energy, they celebrate day-to-day life and they understand the concept of respect.
We will remember the Cardinal Newman spirit and energy we experienced today for a very long time.
It is our hope that the students of Cardinal Newman will remember the bullying prevention strategies we taught today for as long as we remember their energy.
Daytime presentations were ‘Stand Up Against Bullying’ and ‘Stand Up For Respect’. The evening parent student bullying prevention presentation was called ‘Stand Up – Keep Your Kids’. Seventy one families attended and enjoyed outstanding pre-show entertainment by the Cardinal Newman Iron Joan group mentored by students from the Sheridan College Police Foundations program. We were dazzled by the confidence shown by the Iron Joan team. The Sheridan College Police Foundations students who mentored the children at Cardinal Newman were extremely proud of the confidence and skill exhibited by their students.
Cardinal Newman student council also did an amazing anti-bullying presentation. This anti-bullying parent/student program presented by Bruce Langford was made possible by the Ontario Government’s Parent Reaching Out Grant (PRO) available to school parent groups across Ontario.
Bullying prevention and child safety is of top importance at Quinte Mohawk School in Belleville Ontario. Principal, Kathleen Vanderville makes sure children are the first priority at her school and that was obvious during our visit yesterday. Quinte Mohawk is brimming with beautiful murals, paintings, artwork and displays to proudly celebrate their culture.
Just look at this awesome painted door with the following script:
Amazing – acknowledge them.
Believable – trust them.
Childlike – allow them.
Divine – honour them.
Energetic – nourish them.
Fallible – embrace them.
Gifts – treasure them.
Here Now – be with them.
Innocent – delight with them.
Joyful – appreciate them.
Kindhearted – learn from them.
Lovable – cherish them.
Magical – fly with them.
Noble – esteem them.
Open minded – respect them.
Precious – value them.
Questioners – encourage them.
Resourceful – support them.
Spontaneous – enjoy them.
Talented – believe in them.
Unique – affirm them.
Vulnerable – protect them
Whole – recognize them.
Xtraspecial – celebrate them.
Yearning – notice them.
Zany – laugh with them.
We thank Quinte Mohawk
School for the wonderful
hospitality and warm welcome!
To conquer bullying, let’s strive for less conflict in the world. How to do that … self-forgiveness. (Read on to learn how we can calm the bullying epidemic by learning the concept of self-forgiveness).
When you are comfortable with both your strengths and weaknesses, you radiate simple, unaffected humanity. Self acceptance, total self acceptance, means self-forgiveness. When you forgive yourself and stop judging yourself, then you won’t judge others, and there will be less conflict in the world.
Bruce Langford is an anti-bullying advocate and speaker/presenter. www.brucelangford.ca telephone: 905-233-2102
Stand Up – Make it Stop; Let’s End It. These are the words of a child describing the challenges of bullying. Why can’t we make bullying stop? Why can’t we just decide to end bulling? The answer is we can. It just takes a concerted effort with everyone moving toward the same goal to end bullying forever. Of course it is not easy. Definitely there are many who say bullying is part of being human and will never end.
The point is though, that no child should have to go to school in fear. Every person should feel safe in their community and not fear being bullied. Children should not be nervous to go on-line for fear of being bullied.
These thoughts took me to Dr. Kenneth Shore’s book, “The ABC’s of Bullying Prevention”.
Dr. Shore is a psychologist and family counselor and has written this valuable book about bullying prevention. I’ve included his top six bullying prevention tips here. 1. Take it seriously. Shore says bullying often goes unrecognized by educators, or is recognized but isn’t taken seriously. “It’s easy for us as adults to dismiss kids’ concerns, but so often, issues or problems we perceive as small loom large for them.” The common thread in stories of bullied kids who attempt or successfully commit suicide is that schools dismissed complaints about bullying or didn’t treat them with the seriousness they deserved, says Shore. 2. Prevent it. Your local board of education probably has an anti-bullying policy, but words on a piece of paper won’t change things. Instead, a committee of students, parents, and school-site staff should work together to plan and implement a prevention program. Shore says studies show a 50-percent reduction in bullying in schools that adopt comprehensive bullying prevention programs. 3. Don’t treat bullying as exceptional. Shore says one of the mistakes schools make is they treat bullying prevention as a one-time activity. “You don’t solve bullying with one big assembly,” he says. Instead, hold several ongoing activities throughout the year to address the problem. “Make sure the issue is very much alive in kids’ minds.” 4. Meet in each classroom. It’s crucial that teachers make time for special classroom meetings held a minimum of four times a year conveying that bullying is unacceptable, and the school takes it seriously. “Seat kids in a circle and engage them in discussions where they can talk about times they’ve been bullied and discuss what that felt like,” he says. During the meeting, teachers should also talk about things they’ll do if they see bullying happening. 5. Zero tolerance. Parents of kids suspected of bullying need to find out what their children are doing and address it seriously. “Make sure to let him know it’s unacceptable and that you’re going to be monitoring behavior and if it continues, there’s going to be serious consequences. Let your child know you mean business and then try to understand why it is that he’s engaging in these behaviors.” 6. Don’t blame the victim. If your child comes to you and says he’s being bullied, “Don’t dismiss the concerns with a ‘sorry that happened, hope things go better tomorrow,’ response, or suggest it’s your child’s fault,” says Shore. Listen to your child, recognize that he’s a victim, and follow-up with the school in-person. “You want to be a pit-bull taking whatever steps you need to ensure the bullying stops.”
West Bayfield Elementary School in Barrie was our destination today, where we presented ‘Stand Up Against Bullying’ and ‘Cyberbullying – Got 2 Go’ assemblies to all students from JK to grade 8. Students were passionate about the topic. They were eager to learn as much as they could about the internet and the dangers of cyberspace. They told stories and acted out scenarios. The Simcoe County District School Board has raised awareness that dangers lurk in cyberspace. Students just wanted to learn the details.
We talked about how GPS encoding is embedded in photographs taken on many cell phones and how it can reveal exactly when the photo was taken. One student told us a story about how his facebook account had been hacked into and the violator set up another facebook account which was an exact duplicate of his own. The student had good news about the outcome. He was actually able to have the offending site removed, because he was able to get into it himself and have it deleted.
We were impressed when we arrived at the school, because students had posted visual artwork on the topic of ‘Caring’ and ‘Stand Up’ and how we can all stand together to trump bullying. I’ve included some of the photos here along with a short video.
Students, teachers and administrators told us how pleased they were with the three contrasting assemblies.
“Presentations were entertaining, insightful, and age appropriate. They were thoroughly enjoyed by all of our students and they learned a great from them. I would highly recommend Bruce’s presentations for any school.” Mike Geer, Principal, West Bayfield Elementary School, Barrie Ontario
The Hunger Games is huge. Almost everyone has something to say about how appropriate the themes are or how much violence is involved. Recently I read a report that there were more than forty-one instances of violence … and that is in the first book alone. I would like to hear from you. How much bullying and violence did you notice as you read the series? Do you feel the story-line is appropriate for teens or pre-teens?
I am including a quick review by a teenager who has read the books: “The Hunger Games was, in my opinion, a great book. There are many important issues and emotional stress that are dealt with in the book. I believe it is very beneficial to those who read it, however, the age group targeted (11-16 year olds) is generally too young to appreciate the important issues discussed in the book. Things like child cruelty, rebellion, and war go right over the heads of the younger kids who read it. Missed, too, are the important roles of love and inner turmoil. These books would gain greater appreciation if they were targeted to an older, more mature audience.” Review by Tyson Longfield, Graduate of Lord Dorchester Secondary School, Dorchester Ontario (Thames Valley District School Board)
Stay tuned for more teen reviews of The Hunger Games in the next few days.
Let me know what you think? Please leave a comment.
Bruce Langford is a teacher, speaker and presenter of school bullying prevention programs. www.standupnow.ca
St. Patrick’s Day 2012 is upon us so I decided to google Irish Bullying tips.
What I learned was shocking.
25 per cent of Irish students in Irish secondary schools are bullied according to the website bully4u dot ie. One in four or 175,000 youth in Irish high schools are victims of bullying. The website states: “the evolution of modern communication technologies combined with the increasing integration of our multicultural society has led to such new dynamics as cyberbullying and racist bullying in addition to the more traditional forms.”
The site goes on to encourage adult intervention in bullying incidents. It tells us that it is important for adults to let students know that aggressive behaviour is inappropriate. “Whether you are a bystander, parent or schoolteacher, there are steps you can take to ensure that children are kept safe and that their dignity is respected.”
As we celebrate St. Patrick’s day around the world, make a vow to ‘Stand Up Against Bullying’ and make a difference by empowering yourself and others to act against bullying behaviour.