Tips on How to Talk to Young People

By Paul Langhorst       July 30, 2012

Talking with young people these days can be a challenge, with the first obstacle getting them to look up from their smartphone and at you. Once that is accomplished, you had better be ready because the attention span and interest level of a young person these days is about the same length as a Higgs-boson particle– the so-called, “God particle,” a

Higgs boson event

Higgs-Boson Event

sub-atomic particle whose lifespan is so short its existence can only be inferred by observing the interaction of particles around it.(In other words, you can only tell if young person was listening by observing what they did as a result of your talk!)

At the Missouri Safe Schools & Colleges Conference, the Missouri Department of Mental Health gave a workshop that included a brief overview on how to communicate with young people. Here are the tips presented by Patsy Carter, Director of Children’s Clinical Services.

  • Be genuine
  • Be careful about using slang
  • Be comfortable with silence
  • Be adaptable
  • Be in the present – don’t talk about when you were a kid!
  • Be respectful, realize that young people’s feelings are real
  • Be accepting, rather than asking for an explanation or making accusations
  • Be aware of negative body language
  • Be helpful with language, without telling them how you feel.

Learn more on how to talk with young people, as well as, the warning signs for suicide and other mental health problems, by visiting the Missouri Dept. of Mental Health – (or the agency in your state.) You will be pleasantly surprised at the wealth of information.

 

School Resource Officers Support Annonymous Bullying Reporting Methods

By Paul Langhorst         July 27, 2012

Anonymous bully-reporting solutions, such as the CyberBully Hotline, are seen by the leadership of the Missouri School Resource Officer’s Association as a valuable and effective tool for combating bullying. This fact became evident when I attended the Missouri Safe Schools and Colleges Conference, held annually by the Missouri Center for Education Safety.  During a roundtable discussion with the incoming president, past SROs Support Anonymous Reportingpresident, and other members of the Missouri SRO Assoc, information was shared that supported the use of anonymous reporting systems to encourage and stimulate bullying reporting.

The roundtable discussion centered on bullying, cyberbullying and what role SRO’s play in bullying incident resolution.  “Bullying and drug use are the two most prevalent problems that SRO’s face,” said Trevor Fowler, incoming president.  “The two really go hand-in-hand. We see those engaged in drug use more likely to be engaged in bully or other inappropriate behavior, and their victims are also using drugs, perhaps as a way to escape their pain.”

Cyberbullying is also now seen as a much bigger issue than traditional physical or verbal bullying. “Mondays and the day after a holiday or long break are the worst days for an SRO, commented Les Martin, outgoing president.” Much of the cyberbullying and online attacks take place over the weekend and then we hear about it on Monday. We take all reports seriously, and with early intervention we are often able to stop things before they get out of control.” Les Martin is SRO for the Jefferson City, MO Public Schools, with enrollment of over 7,000 students.

Knowing about the bullying is a significant part of the solution. “We successfully resolve about 90% of the bullying cases that are brought to our attention, however we believe only about half of the bullying, cyberbullying and harassment ever gets reported,” commented Fowler. “The kids carry these problems around with them, and it can cause other problems such as absenteeism, poor school performance, drug use, and self-harm.”

The SRO readily sees how an anonymous bullying reporting solution fits into the bullying prevention equation.” A service like the CyberBully Hotline would be a tremendous asset to SRO’s,” said Martin.” Just knowing about the problem is half the battle, and many of these kids are fearful of coming forward. If the school offers an anonymous means to report bullying or bad behavior, it will open the door to faster resolution.”

It is not just bully victims, who might benefit from an anonymous reporting solution.” Bystanders, bus drivers, custodians and parents might also be prime users of the CyberBully Hotline,” said Fowler. “There are typically many people aware of what’s happening outside of the bully-victim circle, and often these individuals can be key to surfacing the problems and solving them.”  Martin added, “If bullies know that everyone around them can now anonymously report on them, we believe it will cause them to really stop and think about their actions.”

One thing was certain stemming from the roundtable discussion, the SRO officers fully understand the anonymous bullying-reporting solution, and see it as a valuable tool in the fight against bullying, cyberbullying, and all other forms of harassment.

Thank you to Trevor, Les and all those SRO’s who participated!

 

$100,000 Cyberbully Prevention & Response Grant Announced

By Paul Langhorst      July 17, 2012

The CyberBully Hotline team is pleased to announce the kick-off of a $100,000 bully prevention and response grant program designed to help low-income, high-poverty schools implement the CyberBully Hotline to provide students with improved means to report bullying.

We have heard from many schools and districts that are interested in implementing the CyberBully Hotline program, while the program costs just pennies per student per year, with tight budgets and finances many are looking for help in funding the program.

The CyberBully Hotline Grant Program is just one option to help with bully prevention and response funding. We encourage interested schools and districts to review the program and submit an application if you meet the main criteria – which is a High (31%-50%) or Very High (50%+) Free & Reduced Lunch federal classification. The application is posted online and can be found at http://www.cyberbullyhotline.com/grant-application.html.

Here are some additional ideas for bully prevention and response funding:

  • Utilization of federal “safe schools” funding
  • Commercial sponsorship – CyberBully Hotline materials can be imprinted with the name or logo of a commercial sponsor. Most schools and districts have a relationship with local psychological agency to which they refer parents and students – ask them for a sponsorship.
  • Local law enforcement agencies – we have seen instances where the local police department may have funds earmarked for bully prevention and awareness – ask your local police chief to get involved.
  • PTA/PTO & Student Fundraiser:
    • Create a “Pennies for Prevention” campaign and ask students to bring in their lose change for a week or two and you will easily cover the cost of the CyberBully Hotline.
    • Do Something About It” wristband campaign.  As part of your kick-off campaign hold a “bullying awareness day.”  You can order “Do Something About It.” wrist bands from the CyberBully Hotline. Add a small mark-up to the cost of the wristband to cover the cost of the CyberBully Hotline. For information on ordering, contact AJ Morgan at amorgan@schoolreach.com.

Where there is a will there is way as the saying goes. The CyberBully Hotline team is ready to help your school or district find the funds to help implement our program.

 

 

Fun with Radio Disney and No More Bullying Project

By Paul Langhorst                 July 12, 2012

I just completed an interview at Radio Disney where Emily Zimmerman, Director of Marketing for St. Louis Mills Mall, and I discussed our joint participation in the No More Bullying event being held at the St. Louis Mills. What a blast!  Emily Brown, on air personality for Radio Disney – St. Louis was great.  In fact, we dubbed the event the “Emilie’s and Paul Show” because everyone in the studio was named Emily or Paul!

SchoolReach and our CyberBully Hotline program are co-sponsoring the No More Bullying event along with the Missouri Center for Education Safety, an organization with which SchoolReach has had a long standing relationship. I am very excited to be working with Paul Fennewald, Director of MO CES, on this project. He and Mo CES are committed to making Missouri schools a safer place for our students and its just great that they are involved.

This session marked the first time I met Emily Zimmerman face-to-face and had a chance to hear in her own words why she started the No More Bullying event.  It is clear that she is passionate about her company and its role in the St. Louis area. Here is what she had to say in her own words: .  “The St. Louis Mills is a destination for so many

No More Bully Interview by Paul Langhorst and Emily Zimmerman

Emily Zimmerman and Paul Langhorst following interview at Radio Disney Studios

parents and kids,” said Zimmerman.  It’s a heavy topic, but we are a part of this community and I felt that we had the perfect environment to hold an event to draw attention to the growing problem of bullying and cyberbullying and to provide information on ways parents and kids can make a difference.”

We had a blast doing the interview and it was amazing to watch Emily Brown work. She was so comfortable behind the mic and with just a few notes conducted a 30-minute interview that just flew by.  Disney is all about fun and family and it is so wonderful to see them involved in the No More Bullying event. I think it fits with their mission, and by bringing the Radio Disney Road Crew to the event, Disney will help more kids and parents get exposed to the important information and messages delivered by Tina Meier, of the Megan Meier Foundation, and the Alex Boyles of the Unwritten Letters Project.

We at SchoolReach and the CyberBully Hotline are very pleased to be involved in the No More Bullying event!

 

 

Average age by which first moblie phone received is 11.6 years old.

By Paul Langhorst                           July 10, 2012

Happy 11th birth day!  Here’s you new smartphone, now figure out how to use it properly with virtually no supervision or rules. Believe it or not, that is the “new normal” in parenting.

According to an article in OnlineMom.com referencing a study by Verizon and Parenting.com, the average age at which the first mobile phone is received is now 11.6 years old – and falling!  Shockingly, almost 1% of the kids surveyed received their first phone at less than 7 years of age! Almost 50% of the kids survey received their phone by age 12, which means there are kids far younger than 11 years-old being handed devices more powerful than the computers on the Space Shuttle and being expected to sort out how to use them in a complex social media driven world.

Consider these stats first phone stats:  (Age range when first phone received)

  • 6-7 years: .7%

    Mobile phone use by age study

    20% of kids survey received their mobile phone by age 10

  • 7-9 years:  9.9%
  • 10-12 years: 32%
  • 13-15 years: 39.7%
  • 16 + years: 10%

Not surprisingly the study also found that parents are not doing a very good job of communicating with their children on appropriate use of their new found technological wonder, concentrating mainly on when to use it and not on appropriate content and on internet safety precautions.

In an article I also posted today, titled Cyberbullying – Rampant on the Internet, I share that there are now 7.5 million users on Facebook under 13 years of age. As noted above, nearly 90% of kids who receive a mobile phone receive it by the age of 13-15, and a large percentage of those mobile devices are now web enabled.These two colliding statistics should be a huge cause for alarm in the education community as younger and younger children now have 24/7 access to social media and the internet with very little adult supervision. With immature brains, incapable of solid reasoning, logic or the ability often tell right from wrong and to see correct social meanings, kids are ill equipped to deal with this new reality – and its being gleefully allow by parents who increasing strive to provide their kids with the latest in mobile communications all under the banner of increasing their safety, when in fact eroding it.

 

 

 

Why add anonymous bullying reporting? One school’s story.

By Paul Langhorst                            July 6, 2012

Adding an anonymous bully reporting solution as part of an overall bullying prevention effort is a solid plan. Here is the story of one of our newest clients, and why they implemented the CyberBully Hotline – a texting-based anonymous reporting program:

Re: Case Study – Adding Anonymous Reporting

St. Christopher School East Hartford, CT

St. Christopher School implemented the CyberBully Hotline to help families report mean behavior before it becomes bullying.

The challenge of how to stop mean behavior before it becomes bullying is one that faces principals and teachers.  If we knew what was going on in places away from direct adult supervision that we could intervene quickly and solve the problem. Bullying does not happen when a teacher is standing next to a student.  It happens on the playground, in the cafeteria, while lining up, or in the restrooms, places away from the adult in charge.  We hear from students and parents that they thought the problem would go away, that they wanted their child to take care of what was happening to him or her, or the saddest statement…it would get worse if we told the principal about it.

The question becomes, how can the staff learn quickly enough about mean behavior to stop it before it becomes bullying? The ability to report anonymously helps to answer that question.  This is why St. Christopher School has chosen to implement the Bullying Reporting System through SchoolReach.  This reporting system will allow our families to let us know about mean behavior before it becomes bullying.  This system supports our mission of providing a safe educational environment so all children can learn and grow.

– Kathleen Madej, Principal  St. Christopher School, East Harford, CT