Technology To Fight Cyberbullying

With more exposure to social media outlets than ever, people, particularly kids, have taken advantage of an evolved form of bullying – cyberbullying. Cyberbullying isn’t your parents’ brand of face-to-face bullying that they may have experienced in their youth. Cyberbullying is just as malicious and encompasses everything from students picking on each other via social media to strangers across the globe hiding behind a keyboard while typing words of harassment. Although technology may have helped to spawn the alarming trend of cyberbullying, technology also poses a possible remedy. A number of apps and other forms of technology are available to help teachers, students and parents prevent it.

Here are four apps and/ or software programs designed to help combat cyberbullying.

Trend Micro Online Guardian: Trend Micro Online Guardian was founded by a mom who witnessed her daughter being cyberbullied and took great strides to correct matters. Online Guardian contains extensive computer controls for tracking popular social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. This software also offers instant messaging management and malware protection.

YouDiligence:  Parents can’t always be there firsthand to stop cyberbullying, but that doesn’t mean they can’t track instances of cyberbullying to help prevent future occurrences. YouDiligence allows parents to monitor their child’s social networking pages while specifically tracking keywords related to bullying, racial slurs, alcohol, profanity and more. With a list of more than 500 “alert” words and phrases that parents can edit based on their specifications, YouDiligence can email alerts to parents when any questionable activity occurs. These updates can then be emailed to parents and viewed via the online dashboard for easy tracking. Avira Social Network Protection

Avira Social Network Protection is another software program that was created as a result of a parent witnessing their child experience cyberbullying. Avira Social Network Protection, previously known as SocialShield, differentiates itself from other anti-cyberbullying programs by monitoring social networking sites to not only protect against bullying, but preserve a child’s reputation. It uses cloud-based software, making it accessible virtually anywhere via a computer or phone. Safety is recorded on a scale ranging from 1-10, with 1 being regarded as the most dangerous and 10 being safe and secure. It determines which posts, videos, threads and friends are deemed appropriate or run the risk of harming a child’s reputation.

STOPit:  Currently, only one out of ten cyberbullying victims inform an adult about their situation. With the STOPit app, developers and parents are trying to offer children a greater degree of freedom and empowerment by giving them the tools to attempt to halt cyberbullying themselves. STOPit allows children to take screenshots of malicious online behavior and send it to a customized selection of adults, such as teachers and parents. In the instance of older online predators, children who report problems remain anonymous, and the app offers local law enforcement alerts and easy access to 24/7 help lines.

With social networking sites constantly changing, updating and evolving, the Internet can seem like a playground for cyberbullies. However, with apps and software such as those mentioned above, helpful and preventative measures to combat cyberbullying are being developed – if not already here.

This article was provided by Drexel University Online, which specializes in innovative, Internet-based education programs for working professionals, organizations and corporations in the United States and abroad. For teachers and education professionals looking to advance their careers, Drexel offers a wide variety of accredited master’s degree programs online.

http://www.drexel.com/online-degrees/education-degrees/index.aspx

Edu-Coaching

With the new teacher evaluation system now firmly entrenched in New Jersey Schools and in other schools around the country teachers need help now more than ever in meeting their professional responsibility to follow the recommendations established by school administration. Ensuring that students’ progress academically it is extremely important and it is the primary reason why children attend school. Teachers are trained in their subject area and are always ready to deliver expert instruction to help ensure that their students will achieve a life time of success and of course do well on state mandated tests that provide the evidence of student achievement. Colleges have provided the necessary course work for core content, but have not provided enough rigor in helping teachers deal with the behavioral dysfunction that is faced in schools each and every day. Student behavioral problems interfere with the learning process with power struggles, disrespect, irresponsibility, non-compliance, bullying, and violence eating into the teacher’s time, and creating a non-productive learning environment. The old adage that teachers spend 90% of their time dealing with 10% of their students could never be truer. Behavior problems disrupt the consistency of instruction, creates emotional fear in the minds of other students, increases the absentee rate, can intimidate the teacher, and prevents students from retaining information in their long term memory. It effects the entire classroom and school climate.

The Bully Proof Classroom does not view bullying as the sole problem, but more the result of the problem. The problem is the lack that students have for the rights and privileges of other people, which we define as disrespect. Bullying is the behavior that epitomizes this disrespect. This disrespect permeates classrooms, schools, families, and communities and can make teaching one of the most challenging professions in which an individual enters into.

We at The Bully Proof Classroom are offering to schools and individual teachers a program called Edu-Coaching. This program provides a behavioral coaching program for teachers that will help them regain some of the surrendered ground that the students have claimed and give them the tools necessary to teach respect, encourage responsibility, and improve school and classroom climate. This is not consulting work, but rather an approach that uses on sight coaching as well as coaching with the use of emails and text messages. Schools or individuals who use this program will receive the following:

1.      A two hour in-service on the topic of anti-bullying. This in-service covers the strategies necessary to teach respect and improve school and classroom climate.

2.      On sight observation of individual teachers to help improve student behavior. This is not an evaluation it is designed to offer constructive suggestion and encourage positive student teacher relationships.

3.      Weekly teaching emails that provide strategies to meet the needs of individual teachers.

4.      Text messages that offer suggestions for more immediate problems.

5.      Phone consults on an as needed basis.

6.      Face to face consults on an individual basis.

7.      Face to face conversations with administration to help them help their teachers.

8.      Schools will receive an evaluation of the school climate with a report provided to the entire staff in a power point presentation.

 If anyone is interested please email me at proactive7@verizon.net or give me a call at 732-773-9855.

This would be a contracted service and would be available for 6 months or one school year. Face to face services would be available for teachers and schools in NJ, NY, MD, PA, and CT. Phone consults, emails, and text messaging are available nationwide.

 

Don’t Be An Easy Target

At times victims of bullying can be like a magnet and attract bullies. They can become easy targets based upon how they walk, what they say, or because they are just awkward in social situations. This is not to say that victims are to blame for their treatment. Rather I am offering an approach to help the victim develop resiliency and confidence. This requires coaching. We can’t just say to a victim to take action on their own. They have to practice, pick and choose their battles, and know when to walk away. This all comes with the help of a teacher, a parent, or a coach who has their best interest at heart. Here are eleven easy strategies that you can teach your students to help them develop confidence and avoid becoming or remaining a target.

  1.  Only you know if you are being bullied. The warning signs are the knot in your stomach and the fear in your heart.
    Bullies don’t have to know about the knot or the fear.
  2. Learn to stay “Stop Knock It Off.” Realize that when you say it that the behavior may not stop. After you say it, walk away.
  3. If what you say doesn’t work it doesn’t mean that you are a failure. You failed that time. You just haven’t gotten there yet.
  4. If a bully confronts you simply state “You have mistaken me for someone who wants to fight.” And Walk Away.
  5. Walk with your head up and your shoulders back. Walk at a moderate pace between classes. Don’t give the impression that you are looking over your shoulder.
  6. Hold your books under your right arm with a firm grip. Don’t clench them like you are thinking that someone is going to knock them out of your hands.
  7. Pay attention to your surroundings. When you are walking almost take a panoramic view of where you are going.
  8. Listen to your classmates and only respond when you believe that it is absolutely necessary.
  9. Don’t disclose any information to anyone that you believe that they will use to bully you.
  10. Know who your friends are. Keep your friends close and your enemies (the bully closer). Don’t try to be friends with the bully or be his sidekick. It won’t stop him from bullying you. By keeping the bully closer you are merely trying to understand his motives and how to manage his words and actions.

The Haunted House

Forgive and forget; that’s the line we are all taught as kids, and as adults we try to be sure not to hold grudges against those who have slighted us or who have exhibited behavior that lessened our own sense of self worth. Well, the forgiving part is easy because we forgive for ourselves and saying I forgive you is easy enough but, unless a person gets amnesia they will never forget the past hurts that have been inflicted upon them by their parents, peers, siblings, or maybe even employers. We all are only a compilation of what people have said to us or done to us, and those past hurts can wreak havoc on future relationships and can produce in families what I call

The Haunted House.

This house is not the brick and mortar variety and the residents are not harassed by the likes of some specter in the movie Poltergeist. It is a place where the experiences of the past have created an environment where the members of this family accept the abnormal behavior almost as a new normal, and this is where many children are raised. The dysfunction that occurs within the walls of this house is a direct result of the past hurts of the parents of the children that have been inflicted upon them by their parents or other significant others. Remember, people never forget, and if anger and bitterness remain because of past hurts during a person’s upbringing the children will suffer at the hands of a parent who lacks the ability to love, discipline, and communicate and by all measures is a parental bully; a bully who lacks the requisite skills to form a lifelong relationship with his/her children. But, that’s not all; this parental bully will create schisms in the house that pit the family members against each other and an example will be set that I get what I want through fear and intimidation.

What are some of the problems that this haunted house produces? Well read on and you will discover some of the reasons why dysfunction exists in so many homes, schools, and society.

The Haunted House produces a poor perception of life. Things don’t happen to us they just happen. Our reaction or our response to what happens will determine the tone that gets produced in a home. Those that live in a haunted house are always blaming circumstance or upbringing as the reason why they act as they do. They believe that they are determined. In other words, it came down through the DNA molecules or the learned behavior is so ingrained that they just can’t change. They don’t believe in the power of change or that they can change their response to the negative influences that have plagued them over the years. They are irresponsible in their thoughts, words, actions, attitudes, and motives and these negative traits just leak out into the atmosphere of the home where they are absorbed almost by osmosis by the children.

The Haunted House produces disrespectful attitudes. Ah, yes respect; having a high regard for the rights and privileges of another person. Respect is hard to give if you are not receiving it yourself and in a haunted house respect is tough to find. Parents who have multiple children and who are disrespectful can almost unwittingly create such sibling rivalry that the children begin to bully one another. Mom and dad fight all the time so it must be okay for us to fight as well. The problems really start though when mom or dad starts to draw some unfavorable comparisons between the children. This by default produces a sense of favoritism with children becoming jealous and envious of each other with one of the children gaining an upper hand; the upper hand that was given to them by one of the parents. Once the attitude of superiority develops in one of the children they then begin to believe that they can say and do what they want to their sibling(s). This behavior can be so unforgiving that it can produce scars that last a lifetime and it all started in the dysfunctional haunted house.

The Haunted House produces a lack of cooperation and non-compliance. Why are kids rude and disrespectful to one another? Is it a condition or is it learned behavior? I am not going to get into whether or not ADHD or ODD is the cause of the problem. All I can say is that 40 years ago the problems with blatant disrespect were few and far between possibly because these conditions weren’t invented yet. Bullying is a learned behavior and it is learned intergenerationally. What parents do in moderation the children will do in excess. Adult children who have left home in rebellion and have strained relationship with their parents have lost their ability to cooperate with family, school, and employment systems. They no longer know how to cooperate even though they might not agree nor do they have the ability to disagree with the right attitude. Moreover, the kids suffer because this attitude is brought into schools across the country where the children of these parents bring that same learned behavior with them and will con mom/dad to fight to the end against a discipline policy that that they believe has treated them unfairly. Parents accept this challenge only because they believe that they can win the battle with the school but will ultimately loss the battle with their child at home. This lack of cooperation and non-compliance has imputed the idea in our children that they are more academically adept than they really are, and that behavior is relative to a situation. It communicates that everyone has reasons for their behavior, but rapidly these reasons are becoming excuses. Self esteem is important but because of the failure to see the forest for the trees today kids feel good about themselves for no apparent reason. This failure of a society to go to the mat with this type of behavior has produced entitlement in our children and has allowed the bullying epidemic to escalate across the country.

So What Can We Do? We can’t change the way a parent was raised, but we can work to change the attitudes of children today, so going forward the next generation will develop more kind and caring behavior towards each other. Permanent help comes when we address the root problem and it is eradicated almost like the vaccine eradicated polio. Temporary relief comes when we work along the way and treat the symptoms we see and hold individuals more accountable for their actions. Awareness is the key and parents must be aware of their own upbringing and how the past can truly remind them of what they are not now. So here are some ideas on how we can overcome the dysfunction of the haunted house.

Knowledge of where we came from can at first be frightening but then it can help us gain insight into our own behavior. I am not talking about genetics here but more how we can understand the lifestyle and behavior of our ancestors. Do a family tree or visit the homeland of your grandparents if possible. It can help to understand the origin of some of the dysfunction that plagues you today.

Build a value system in your home. Know what is important to you and understand why you are teaching it to your kids.

Set boundaries long before they are violated. Boundaries set in anger only make situations worse. Teach your children how to set boundaries as well especially if they are the victim of bullying. Teaching a child at a young age to say “Stop, Knock It Off” can go along way in building their confidence.

Know your own discipline style. Are you autocratic or permissive? Do you best to balance your rules with a sense of love and understanding.

Don’t hold grudges especially against your spouse or your children. Once consequences have been imposed by you or even someone else realize that the deed was done and the price was paid.

Ask for forgiveness when needed and keep the emotional bank account from becoming overdrawn. This helps build trust and allows for mistakes.

Talk to your parents. Get things straightened out if the relationship with your parents has been strained over the years. Understand that you don’t have to do what your parents say, but always work to respect their opinion.

Understand that change at times can be frightening and that it is a step of faith. Accept the incremental process of change and be aware that you will revisit old behaviors from time to time.

Accept confrontations as a part of life and be courageous. Fearing someone can be paralyzing especially if it is your own child that you fear. Realize for yourself and for your children that courage is like a muscle and we only have to be brave for 2 minutes at a time.

Realize that this process is a marathon not a sprint. Stay the course, don’t give up. If necessary seek the help of a mental health professional to gain greater understanding into your own behavior.

An Engaging And Thought Provoking Talk Show

Here is a wonderful testimonials that I received regarding The Bully Proof Classroom radio show that I do on blogtalkradio.  If you would like to be interviewed on my show please do not hesitate to contact me through this website. Just click on the tab contact at the top. The interviewee was Tiffany Haisten a dynamic teacher who has some great ideas on how to combat the problem of bullying that we face in our families, schools, and communities. Listen here:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bullyproofclassroom/2013/11/14/the-bully-proof-classroom-interviews-tiffany-haisten

 

The Bully Proof Classroom is an engaging and thought provoking talk show. Jim Burns is informative and provides meaningful insight to the problems that teachers and parents face daily. The Bully Proof Classroom gives straightforward advice to the bullying epidemic that is swamping the nation. Listeners are guaranteed to hear honest and uncensored common sense discussions. Guests on the Bully Proof Classroom are allowed to bring real world situations to the table and share proactive tips on parenting in this “post-modern” world.  Jim Burns approaches topics that are often controversial with grace and tact; which provides the listener and guests the opportunity to hear opposing opinions without the worry of argumentative shenanigans.  Jim Burns and the Bully Proof Classroom are equipping parents and educators with the resolve they need to stand up for our most precious gift – our children. I am listening…are you?

Health Insurance Or Health Care?

What does health insurance and health care have to do with bullying? Well maybe nothing or maybe it has a lot to do with it; maybe more than we would like or even imagine. I’m not sure but I feel compelled to speak about an event that occurred on October 18, 2013 that involved my daughter Grace and I. I think that it’s important to state here that I have health insurance, good health insurance. I am a retired high school administrator and receive an excellent health care package from the state of New Jersey. So, this is not going to be a complaint fest. It’s something that I am speaking about because my eyes were opened to a few things that are worth sharing as the topic of health care has become so divisive in our country. I’m not a politician, just an average Joe but things happen at times that just trouble me.

I received a call on Friday morning from the nurse of Grace’s school. She informed me that Grace was experiencing a great deal of pain on her right side and should be taken to a doctor or to the emergency room at our local hospital to rule out appendicitis. I drove over to the school picked up Grace and headed to the hospital’s emergency room. We walked in and filled out a form with all of the basic information needed by the hospital. We then sat and waited to be called for what they call triage. About ten minutes later a nurse called us in to an examining room and asked us for the same information that was on the form I just filled out and entered it into a computer. She asked Grace some basic questions about her condition took her vital signs and told us we would be called back in when a bed was available. In about 15 minutes we were called back in, directed to a room where Grace put on her hospital gown and waited. Waited for what I hoped would be a doctor. Well, the door opened and in came a woman with a portable computer and asked us for the same information that I just gave to the triage nurse. I hope you are counting. A nurse came in occasionally and tucked Grace in, took her temperature, asked her how she was feeling and left. We just wanted to see a doctor and get a diagnosis.

After about an hour a woman came in, gave us her name and identified herself as the nurse practitioner. She examined Grace and told her that her pain was in the area of her appendix and that she was going to order a CAT scan. My question was and still is; where was the doctor? I mean I have good health insurance right, so why was my daughter being examined by the doctor’s underling?  The next thing that happened was a tech came in to schedule the CAT scan and asked Grace the same questions that the other three people asked her previously. How many times do they need this information? Well Grace had her CAT scan, and we found out after a six hour stint in the ER that she was constipated. She was told to go home take a laxative and eat more fiber.

Well, now the rant. As stated earlier I have good health insurance as do many people but, that doesn’t matter, because health care, not health insurance has become a political football in this country. The government was shut down because of it, patients who are in the hospital pay $60 dollars for Tylenol because of it, the mind of everyone is focused on it, the media talks about it, and quite frankly I am sick of IT. What’s the difference between health insurance and health care? Health insurance is what you have or will have when you apply online and receive the health insurance that will be assigned to you by the government. To many people this is a life saver. Some people think that it is for FREE. It’s not, the co-pays are huge, the deductibles are between 2 and $10,000, and based upon your income you will have to pay a monthly premium. Health insurance is what you have or will have; health care is what you get. The quality of the care will be determined by how much the doctors, clinics, and hospitals can afford to offer based upon how much they receive from the insurance companies. My quality health insurance does not guarantee me quality health care. I can see any doctor I want but my care will be based upon the doctors revenue overall. If my doctor has huge overhead and he is treating patients with huge co-pays and deductibles the chances are pretty good that when he is done treating those patients he will be waiting around for his money for a good long while. The results for someone like me; I receive the same health care as does everyone else.

Let me get this straight right now, I am pleased that everyone will receive health insurance. But, I want them to be aware often what is believed to be a life saver can be a killer. Many people are broke in this country right now. What are they supposed to do when the doctor wants his co-pay, or when they can’t afford to pay the minimum insurance premium, or when something catastrophic happens and their insurance doesn’t cover it, or when money has to be paid to meet their deductible? The government will have to eat those numbers and that will drive up the national debt all the more.

I am just an average Joe which I said already, I worked for 30 years to receive the great health insurance that I now have. But, I can see already that if an emergency room doesn’t have a doctor but has a nurse practitioner working the floor someone will pay and I don’t mean monetarily. Did I feel bullied the other day? Of course I did. I was forced to accept the unacceptable because there was no other alternative. Are we being bullied as a country? Of course we are, the problem is though the country doesn’t even realize it.