10 Strategies for Cyber Bullying Prevention

10 Strategies for Cyber Bullying Prevention

In 2006, Megan Meier hung herself in her closet, just days before her 14th birthday. The middle schooler had been the victim of a cyber bullying scheme cooked up by an adult neighbor and her daughter in the neighborhood. They created a false boy on MySpace, “courted” Megan, and then turned on her with awful statements and ridicule.

According to the CDC, suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15 to 24-year-olds. Many of these suicides, of course, relate to depression and other mental illness, but a significant number are the result of bullying and, more recently, cyberbullying. Students identified as “targets” by bullies include those who are in the LGBT community, those who are introverted and withdrawn, those who are considered “nerds,” those who are not considered “attractive,” or those who pose a “threat” to a group of peers because they have looked, talents, etc. of which that group is envious.

The problem with cyberbullying is that it can be anonymous. There are also no time limitations, so it can continue all the time, especially when bullies act as a group. And the bullies have less inhibition when they carry out their activities online rather than in person – they can thus be more aggressive.

Some Strategies That Can Help

Bullying will never be completely eradicated because bullies have certain emotional conditions that will not be eradicated. A child who is bullied at home, for example, may easily become a bully at school; a child who has a deep-seated lack of self-esteem may join a group of bullies and participate in making himself feel better. It becomes a pattern of behavior and often continues into adulthood.

So, what can be done to prevent it? While this is a field of ongoing research which is still incomplete, here are some strategies that may help.

  1. Start early with education and training. Kids need to know early on that cyberbullying is not “cool.” Many school districts are bringing older students into classrooms – students that younger kids will look up to – to talk about cyberbullying. When the captain of the high school football team arrives in a 3rd-grade class, kids will sit up and listen.
  2. Use videos and statements of celebrities who have joined the anti-bullying campaigns. Kids will certainly relate to someone like Justin Bieber. Do some research and find out what celebrities are seriously involved in anti-bullying and use their statements.
  3. Dominika Carver, an educational blogger for Canada-Writers suggests making cyberbullying a part of a larger curricular program on Internet use and safety. “At the end of the unit on cyberbullying, have students sign a pledge not to engage in any type of bullying, including cyberbullying. This pledge should be signed every year.”
  4. Students, as they move into middle and high school, need to be made aware of both the psychological and legal consequences of bullying. Many states now have laws with penalties for juveniles and for adults who engage in cyberbullying.
  5. Involve parents: when cyberbullying is discovered, parents need to know. There are steps they can take at home. Victims must block any bullies immediately. In fact, in a recent study 70% of teen victims stated that when they blocked the perpetrators, even the face-to-face bullying stopped. When a victim takes steps to stop being a cyber victim, the bully gets no satisfaction from his/her actions and is less prone to be aggressive in person.
  6. Treat bullies firmly but also understand that they have emotional issues that result in this behavior. Intervening with consequences should also come with help.
  7. Continue to read the research. Teachers and parents both should read all they can about the issue and take suggestions from all sources that might provide help to stop cyberbullying.
  8. Assign essays about the topic. Students can read or view stories related to cyberbullying and respond to them in a written piece. High school and college writing can include research papers on the topic.
  9. Respond immediately to both victims and bullies in the cyberbullying cycle. This will demonstrate that there is a zero-tolerance policy for the actions and that you will intervene. This also provides some sense of security to the victim to know that there are empathy and support.
  10. Victims need to know that there is someone in their home, school or even church environment within whom they can confide in confidence. That person must empathize of course but also be prepared to give that victim-specific strategy to deal with the bully. Responding in kind generally does not work. Ignoring by blocking takes some power away from the bully. This is a hard thing to do because victims can become anxious about not knowing what is being said, but over time this dissipates, and the bully cannot achieve his/her goal.

There will always be bullies of every age. They need help, and many will neither seek nor accept it. That is their choice. The choice of the victim, with lots of support, is to ignore, to not respond, and to have an outlet to express their anger, their sadness, and their anxiety.

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3 Fun Activities to Help Refine Motor Skills in Kids With Cerebral Palsy

3 Fun Activities to Help Refine Motor Skills in Kids With Cerebral Palsy

As the parent of a special needs child you know better than anyone the challenges that come with harboring skillsets to set your child up for as much autonomy as possible. Every child and their needs are different. You’ve been to countless doctor visits, done all the exercises, physical therapy treatments and are wondering for less clinical ways to help your child find a sense of normalcy.
These are some fun activities that while at first may seem far-fetched, will not only harvest repetitive motor skills and act as a sort of physical therapy, but will also give a sense of belonging. However their performance is, showing up and trying will help them gain more and more control of their motor skills each day.

Video Games

As a parent of several children you probably have to limit TV and video game time for your able bodied children. Most parents think of video games as something fun at best. However, research has shown that in 4 out of 7 home-based studies aimed to promote upper-limb/extremity function they were able to improve the function and mobility playing Nintendo Wii Sport Resort Games. The training lasted for 6 weeks. Kids played for at least 40 minutes a day 5 days a week and had comparable results to children who had resistance training mimicking the same movements as the Wii play.  Similar studies have been dine with Xbox 360 VR games. Even traditional controller games from Street Fighter to Final Fantasy help promote finger dexterity.

Some children with CP may have trouble making friends and socializing. Often schedules are filled with school, doctor visits, an array of different therapists and kids can spend more time with adult professionals than with kids their age. This play-therapy can help them regain some of their childhood. Other kids with CP may be extremely social and everybody’s friend. This is another way that you can let them hang out and socialize while they are getting therapy done. Even if unconscious. Either way, it’s a win-win. You don’t get to be the bad-guy for saying they can’t play with friends because they need therapy, they get to play, and you know they’re getting therapy anyways.

Musical Instruments

Music is a human art form that transcends language, cultures, and time. It has been part of the human experience ranging from religious rites, entertainment, and even therapy. Whether you’re looking for euphoria or relaxation, music can take you there. This is one of the reasons why kids with CP have structural changes in regions of their brains that deal with movement with they are moving to music.

Researchers have said that training musically not only has may attributes that ideal for sensorimotor rehabilitation, but finger and hand coordination as they sync audio, visual and sensory information.  According to cerebralpalsynewstoday.com “Another study let 18 children and adolescents, ages 6 to 16, receive individual piano training for 18 months. The study showed that the variability of their keystroke timing was reduced. Furthermore, connections between the patients’ cerebellum and primary motor cortex — the main region of the brain that deals with movement — improved, compared to those who received conventional therapy.” So, buy your kid a keyboard. Let them play and learn at their own rate or enroll them in a local band. You’ll be surprised when after lots of hard work they perform a flute solos at a concert and you realize the therapy and music made an impact.

Martial Arts

It may be hard to think of your child doing a high kick and breaking boards when in the back of your mind you worry about them when they try to run or walk. However, that’s part of the beauty of removing limitations and expectations from what your child with CP can and can’t do. The reality is that it can vary person to person and change throughout their lifetime. Let them lead their own pace, interests, and as a parent you can do your job in supporting them.  Martial arts teach endurance, patience, strength, self-control, practice, and pushing past your old physical limitations. These are all skills that can help them far beyond the mat.

Your family will filled with joy wearing matching  Jiu Jitsu shirts as you attend their local championships or cry remembering when they couldn’t walk straight as you see them get a black belt.   Many working adults with CP choose martial arts as a form of non-traditional occupational therapy. There is a sense of accomplishment that comes with overcoming the challenges that come with teaching your body new movements and to push past your thresholds. Luckily, your kid has a lifetime of experience over many able-body individuals already doing so.

There are plenty more activities that can have the duality of entertainment, therapy, social network and provide a sense of belonging and accomplishment. These are some of the ways that all of your children can interact and grow closer to each other.  When they grow older they won’t look back at this time spent together as helping their sibling with their motor skills or therapy, they’ll just remember the fun memories made along the way.

How to Make a Vacation with Kids Feel Like a Vacation

How to Make a Vacation with Kids Feel Like a Vacation

When planning a trip with children, it can sometimes feel like the less you plan, the better. If you come up with a detailed schedule that you are determined to stick to, you are bound to be disappointed. There is always a moment, for me at least, when I seriously contemplate letting the kids run around said city and letting them stop at anything they deem interesting enough. Which would end up with us eating ice cream approximately eight times in one day, spending 4 hours at the Children’s Museum and splashing around in an old puddle with questionable organisms floating on top.

I will not pretend to have traveling with kids all figured out. I am a believer that it is borderline impossible for travel to be completely stress free. I am simply here to offer some recommendations that have made my travels a little easier, and allowed me to make peace with the fact that I will never do it perfectly.

My #1 Tip?

Pick one-three activities or sights, depending on the length of your trip, that you absolutely want to see and do and pick times for those to happen. Make reservations when necessary and possible, and know that you have a loose structure for your upcoming trip. In the event you have some free time, and no one is crying or hungry, you now have the ability to fill that time in with whatever you please!

You should also allow yourself extra time with everything. When driving, you will have to take bathroom breaks and at certain stops, there will likely be distractions. Be sure that you account for this extra time that you will need. Don’t be disappointed if the trip doesn’t go according to plan. Spontaneous trips can be even more fun, and you might end up trying things that you never expected to discover.

When traveling with kids, you must know what to pack. It is important to not overpack and must haul items around unnecessarily, of course, but you must also pack everything that you need. It is helpful to create packing lists ahead of time and to print two of them out. The first can be for the initial packing, and the second can be for the return trip to make sure that you have everything.

The most important thing to remember to pack is a supply of snacks. When traveling in the car, it is helpful to bring a bag full of snacks to keep everyone energized. It is also important to pack snacks when traveling by plane to keep everyone going through the flight. Be sure that you pack entertainment, bathroom supplies, clothes, first aid supplies, and any items that will be needed during transportation.


If you are going on a trip that requires a flight it can especially be stressful and require a lot more planning. When flying with kids everyone needs especially when you are responsible for several people. Even just going through security can take a lot out of you…and don’t even get me started on delays. I found a list of the least stressful cities to fly to, and now work to ensure if we have a layover or are going to one of these places we make every effort to use these airports. They are more family-friendly than others and go above and beyond in serving their customers.


You know your family better than anyone, so you will know how to optimize your vacations. Just keep these tips in mind when planning your next trip and destination! Bottom line; planning, research and being proactive will always make for a low stress trip. As always, share how  you keep vacations with your children as stress free as possible- it truly takes a village!

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Strong Roots Have No Fear