Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Twitter: Bad Habits Your Kids May Be Learning From this Social Bird

Social networking and etiquette.

Years ago raising our children never included teaching them social media manners. Today, however, your social networking etiquette could determine whether you get into your college of choice and land the job you have been dreaming of.

Social media forums have some real up sides, we can’t deny that. When it comes to staying in touch with far-flung friends and family and being up to speed with all the latest and greatest in news and gossip, it’s been a real blessing to have social networking sites like Twitter.

We just wish that some kids/teens didn’t suffer from some side-effects of overuse.

Here are 7 bad habits that kids pick up from Twitter:
  1. Poor Grammar – We’ve seen this from chat room usage, text messaging, and IM’s; so it’s nothing that’s really new. The 140-character limit and Twitter’s wildly popular platform just seem to exacerbate the problem to a far greater degree.
  2. Time Management – Let’s be frank, this isn’t just a problem for kids, but it poses a greater threat to them, since they haven’t yet learned to balance their time between work and leisure to the extent they will need to as adults.
  3. Following Celebrities – On the surface, and with proper balance, there’s nothing inherently wrong with corresponding with celebrities. In fact it’s one of the great things about Twitter. The danger is in placing more emphasis on the posts of the famous, re-tweeting every little blurb as though it were sage wisdom, all just because of the person’s celebrity status.
  4. Public Venting – It’s good to have outlets for our anger and frustration, so long as they are safe and private. The trend these days apparently is to go to your profile and launch into a thoughtless tirade when the mood swings. Not a wise or healthy habit and one that can end up backfiring on you.
  5. Loss of Originality – This isn’t a widespread thing, but it’s something we are seeing more and more often. Re-tweets are another form of showing approval, like a thumbs-up or a like. Used in that way, they’re vaguely useful and certainly harmless enough. The difference is that re-tweets at times almost seem like recitations, with RT’ers supplanting original thought in favor of aping whatever post happens to be popular at the time.
  6. Auto-Following – In this context, it’s more or less seen as a polite reciprocation of a friendly gesture. It can be done automatically with an app, or manually on a tit-for-tat basis. The thing is, following someone should be based on individual merit, as determined by the follower, on a case-by-case basis. Kids need to establish these parameters and values in their lives now, and not toss them aside in a social networking environment.
  7. Blurring the Lines – This is a virtually universal issue, in that it affects people of various ages, backgrounds and occupations. There seems to be little if any distinction for so many of us, between our personal and professional lives, as we embrace these social media sites.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Teens and Volunteering

Especially at the holidays, it is a great time to encourage your teens to get involved with volunteerism. 

Community service hours are usually required for high school graduation, but more important than that is the giving back to others and the self-esteem it can bring to your teenager.

Here are some ideas to give to your teen:
  • Informal volunteering. Your teen watches a neighbor’s kids or joins a group of students who are cleaning up a park.
These activities are the easiest to find. They don’t require a long-term commitment. They may whet your teen’s interest to get more involved.
  •  Formal volunteering. Many teens have a regular volunteer job. They help at a food bank. They tutor a younger student.
These activities teach responsibility—teens have to show up when they say they will. They often help teens decide whether they want a career in this field.
  • In-school clubs. From foreign language clubs to yearbook, sports to music, there are clubs for every interest.
Many schools have clubs that are organized to provide service. Groups like Key Club and student government can help students help others.
  • Community organizations. Many out-of-school clubs offer teens a chance to learn and grow. Most religious organizations offer activities for youth. Teens might also think about Girl and Boy Scouts, 4-H, DeMolay and community sports organizations.
Source © 2013 Parent Institute

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Words Wound: Delete Cyberbullying and Make Kindness Go Viral

Order today!
"Everyone is looking for an answer to the bullying and cyberbullying problem. We know where it can be found: in teens themselves. We’ve met so many who are coming up with creative ideas, and running with them. They are spearheading movements and making a real, measurable difference. And here are some of their stories. Join them, and join us. Words wound, but words can also heal and help. We know it, and you know it - and so let's stop standing on the sidelines. Let's get in there and do something about it."

Justin and Sameer, creators of Words Wound 

Cyberbullying happens every day. Harsh words and damaging photos exchanged through texts, email, or social media can result in humiliation, broken friendships, punishment at school, and even legal prosecution.

In some cases, online harassment has contributed to teen suicide. Faced with this frightening problem, parents, educators, and teens are looking for information and advice. Many books have been written for adults about what cyberbullying is and what to do about it, but nothing has been written specifically for teens to help them to protect themselves and their peers.

Written by the foremost experts in cyberbullying prevention and reviewed by teens, this book provides practical strategies for those who are being cyberbullied, seeing cyberbullying, or who just want to do something to help make their schools a safer and more respectful place. The book includes dozens of real-life stories from those who have experienced cyberbullying, including many who have risen above it to make a positive difference in their schools.

In short, "Words Wound" helps students to be the primary agents of change to "delete cyberbullying and make kindness go viral." Are you ready to join the movement?

Order on Amazon today!