Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Technorati Claim Token


I think this is the right code? I tried to get on the page and not sure what else I need to do?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Facebook nips the Bullies

Yesterday kicked off Anti-bullying Week and it goes from November 16-20 2009. One thing that is really being focused upon is the problem of cyber-bullying. As we all know, this is a problem that is out of control and at some point, someone needs to put a stop to it. The problem is a huge one on social sites like My Space, Facebook, Twitter, Bebo and others where kids can go and interact with their friends as well as adults. . Facebook has decided to take some preventative measures and has launched some safety tips in support of Anti-bullying Week.

I have been a strong advocate of Facebook for a long time. It is designed to keep its members safe for starters. The profiles are set up where one must add a person to their friends list in order for their full profile to be seen by the other user. Users can also set their profile to private which allows only those on their friends list to know that they are members of the site. It is a great place to post photos and organize them so others can view and comment on them. Members on there range from 14-104 and many parents have their children added to their list of friends. That can make it hard for a teen to cyber-bully or add anyone that is questionable to their list of friends. Not to mention it is a great place to network with other professionals and invites and groups can be created to help in the networking process. It has become a site that is family friendly and is why many flock there to communicate.

Facebook has left some helpful comments that I back up completely. I wanted to list and expand on them from what has already been listed.

1. Only accept friends you know: Many times, people who do business on Facebook will add strangers to their lists because they are interested in networking. If this is the case, do not put up personal photos or give a lot of personal information. Also, if one is underage, they do not need to be adding adults that they do not know. As for adults, they do not need to be adding anyone under 18 years of age. Again, some of these teens have parents on their lists and you do not want to be accused of subjecting something that could be considered inappropriate to their children who are underage. Teens please add other teens you already know and if you do add adults, make sure you know them. Adults, please stick to other adults on the site. Unless you know the teen, you really do not need to be interacting with them.

2. Stop abusive behavior: Please, if someone is abusing you on the site, take that person and block them. The block feature is excellent as once you block a person, it is as if they do not exist at all. They cannot see you, what you are doing, who is on your friend list or anything else. People come to the site for various reasons and I am sure nobody wishes to come and engage in any flame wars or useless drama. Block the bully!

3. Report trouble directly to Facebook: Again, Facebook is taking this problem very seriously and if you are encountering a bully on the site, let Facebook know. Show them what has been sent to you and posted on your profile. You can cut and paste it and save it on your computer. They have people who work to investigate and stop this behavior. Get others to report on your behalf as well.

4. Keep your information private: Again, if you do not want anyone to know something about you, the last place it belongs is on Facebook or any other place online. Use good and safe judgment here. Share limited information about yourself. Also, keep your status updates reasonable. What I mean is that not everyone is interested in what you ate for lunch, if you went to the store or how many times you went to the bathroom. Do not post anything that could tip off where you are located. Facebook has a settings area where you can set you level of privacy on the site.

5. Do not react to bullies: block, report or delete them. Again, do not engage with them in petty arguments. Once you flame right back at them you are no longer in a situation where you are being abused. It has then become a full blown flame war between two people. Bullies want you to react and waste your time indulging them with drama. They live for this behavior. If someone is posting gossip or spreading rumors then please save the information they have posted and get others to help you collect it. Send it to Facebook when you report them. Block and delete them from your list. Facebook calls the shots on the site and therefore, its better that you allow them to take control of the situation. Building alliances, flaming each other back and forth is no longer a bullying scenario but again, it’s a full blown conflict between two parties. Let them create the trouble alone and that way, they become responsible for their actions. Plus, it becomes easier for Facebook to see who they real bully is.

Again, it is great to see Anti-bullying Week in full force. Social sites are full of this behavior and it is refreshing to see one that takes this problem seriously. Again, I back Facebook up 100% and the fact that they take this cyber-bullying seriously gives me greater confidence in them. At the end of the day, people just want to go to Facebook and do what they need to do without any hassles. We all deserve a safe online experience.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dallas Divas and the Mean Girls

Wow! Another reality show and one that we get to see mother/daughter duos in action. This show Dallas Divas and Daughters airs every Sunday evening at 8pm EST on the Style Network. During this half-hour, we get a glimpse into the lives of five sets of mothers/daughters who live in Dallas, Texas and are considered members of Dallas high society. There has been a polo match, joint birthday party, fashion shows, preparations for the Debutante ball, lunch dates, shopping and many other excursions in the Lone Star State. I have to say that these ladies live some exciting lives. Even though I do not know these people, never met them and can hardly judge them, I can certainly comment on what I have seen on the show thus far.

This show is full of relational aggression and mean girl behavior. For starters, we have a group of five mothers where two of them do not get along. The catty comments they mutter under their breaths towards one another is pretty pathetic. These are not teen girls here but middle age women! One of them has stated it is “fun” to get under the skin of the other. We get to see them attack each other at the graduation party of one of the girls in the group. Then the other catty mother is having a birthday party which is shared with another lady in the group and we learn that the other mother/daughter team is not invited over silly reasons like being late. Sure, being late is rude, I agree but this appeared to be done in a mean spirited fashion on the birthday mothers part. Right there, we have the issue of exclusion. All she had to do was gently remind this woman to be on time. The uninvited mother made a comment that they were adults and this was high school and mean girl behavior. Yes, this looks really stupid in a group of middle age women. It was two of the women who had the birthday party yet one seemed to dominate the spotlight. If that is not bad enough, one mother puts down the daughter of the other mother when she is getting her debutante photos made.

The daughters are catty too. We see two of the girls who are in competition with one another. They are debutantes together, worked at a fashion show together and we see them try and one up each other every time. One girl got four tickets to see a band and it excluded two of the six in the group after promising everyone that they could come. Instead of picking in a fair manner like drawing names, we see the girl pick her three to go and they rub this in to the other girls who did not get picked. Then, we have a 17 year old who has stated that she will bully her mother until she gives in and gets her a Range Rover for her upcoming birthday. At this graduation party, the mother throwing the party had a specialized portrait of herself made for her daughter to carry to college with her. In the interviews, we heard all of the nasty comments from the other mother/daughter teams of the group. One said if her mother gave that to her for graduation she would throw it in her face!

Only one mother/daughter team has managed to stay away from jumping in the catty pool. The daughter is working with her sister to find her mother a boyfriend while we see the mother date. Its refreshing to see at least one team on there not to behave like they are entitled or behave in a rude manner to the others in the group. Sadly, we do not see much of this pair on there.
Folks, this is nothing but exclusion, backstabbing, put downs, silly competition and entitlement of a group of women and daughters. How can we expect these girls to stop their own mean girl behavior if their own mothers participate in this? I have been saying all along that Peer Abuse is an adult problem and am seeing it now more than ever on this show. Why can’t the two women who do not get along put their differences aside and try to get along? Why couldn’t the girl with the tickets have picked her guests in a fair manner? What sort of example is this setting for the daughters? One daughter admitted to bullying her mother! Please, do not use this as a model for your own children. Teach them good values and to treat others as they wish to be treated. At the end of the day, aren’t we better off having a friend rather than a foe? Or a frenemy for that matter?

Friday, November 06, 2009

Zero Tolerance needs Flexibility

As I was watching the local news last evening, I happened to see a segment on the issue of zero tolerance on there. Basically, local school districts were giving their policies and procedures as to how they handle this problem within their schools. The parents were complaining that zero tolerance was too strict and needed to be handled on a case to case basis. Schools have implemented this policy for quite some time in order to cut down on criminal behavior, catch the bullying going on and to basically keep weapons off campus so school will be safe for all students.
Recently, a kindergarten child was suspended for bringing a camping utensil to school. Another case happened when a first grader brought a knife to school. There was an incident in this nation where a 3rd grade child brought a kitchen knife from home to school. Why? A 5th grade bully threatened to rape him the next day. So, it was brought for protection. True, there are some who have brought weapons to school to start a fight or to do harm to others. It is important that we catch those who are planning to do harm to others in some way.

Lets face it; zero tolerance is too strict. It needs to be handled on a case by case basis. Gangs who bring weapons to school to hurt others should be suspended or expelled. Same with anyone who brings a weapon to do any harm to another person. However, what is a five year old going to know about a camping utensil? I highly doubt this child has threatened another in some way. Also, many bullied kids bring weapons as a way to protect themselves. When a school does not listen and the child is continually abused on a daily basis, he/she begins to feel helpless and looks for a way for protection. Its not going to come from peers or the school so they bring a weapon to school. The student gets caught and gets expelled for having the weapon while the bully walks without any punishment. After all, zero tolerance is zero tolerance.

Folks, the concept is not a bad one. Its just that in cases of Peer Abuse and the B word, the wrong kids are being caught and punished. In doing so, it reinforces the kid who is being abused that their rights, feelings or self as a whole is not nearly as valued as that of the bully. We all know life is not fair. However, must we continue to reinforce this to these kids already in pain? We all have rights in this nation, lets not ever forget that.