“Nice” Twitter Accounts Used to Combat Cyberbullying

By Paul Langhorst                        August 15, 2012

I’ve been reading about students creating “nice” Twitter accounts to combat “negative” Twitter accounts that are started to harass and bully students.  This is a very encouraging trend and I hope one that continues to gain momentum.

An example is  @OsseoNiceThings, a Twitter account started by 17-year old Kevin Curwick.  As reported on KARE-11 (Minneapolis-St. Paul), Curwick, one of the football team’s captains, decided he could no longer sit on the sidelines when online bullying became a spectator sport in his school.

Several anonymous Twitter accounts had sprung up that were ripping on individual students. Curwick was not a student being attacked, but had had enough.  He started tweeting nice things about students who were targeted by the negative accounts.  Finding good things to say about them.

In a very short time, the negative Twitter accounts that were harassing students ceased to exist – an example of Good overpowering Evil.  And, a prime example of how bystanders can step in and stop bullying quickly.  Bullies are empowered by the inaction of their peers. They see no action as acceptance and it emboldens them to do more.  When bullies see that their peers do not accept their behavior, and take proactive steps to bring the bullying behavior to light, the bullying stops.

Examples of other “nice” Twitter accounts reported by KARE-11 are:

Way to go Kevin Curwick!!! The CyberBully Hotline salutes you!

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.

 

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!

 

 

CyberBully Hotline Speaks at CharacterPlus Confernce

By Paul Langhorst                      June 28, 2012

The CyberBully Holtine team of Vikki Burton and Paul Langhorst exhibited and presented at the annual CHARACTERplus® conference held at the St. Charles, MO Convention Center this past week.

CHARACTERplus is a LEA (local education authority) and is a project of the Cooperating School District of MO (CSD) and is a fabulous bully prevention resource, working to advance the cause of character education and sustain its impact on the lives of educators and students by:

  • designing, promoting and facilitating processes and best practices;
  • serving educators and enhancing their commitment to character education;
  • actively recruiting and developing community support; and
  • continually evaluating the impact of our programs and services.

Started in 1988 by a concerned group of educators, parents and business leaders who decided that something had to be done about the deterioration of basic values, CHARACTERplus now reaches more than 600 schools in over 100 districts, 25,000 teachers and more than 300,000 students throughout Missouri and Illinois.

CHARACTERplus helps schools build consensus about what values or character traits to teach and which programs to use. Using the CHARACTERplus Process, each school develops a character education curriculum and program that meets its community’s unique needs.

The CyberBully Hotline was pleased to take part in this event and enjoyed the opportunity to network with CHARACTERplus users and show attendees.