Tag: kids

SA ranks high in global survey on cyberbullying

South Africa showed the highest prevalence of cyberbullying in a recent report by Ipsos Global, based on research in 28 countries. The report showed that more than 80% of South Africans said they were aware of cyberbullying and almost three-quarters of South Africans believe that the anti-bullying measures that are in place are insufficient. A Vodafone survey from 2018 ranked South Africa fourth for teen cyberbullying out of 13 countries, and Dean McCoubrey, founder of MySociaLife, a South African in-school Digital Life Skills Program teaching digital life skills program for schools, says that it’s likely even more prevalent, based on student feedback.

Vodafone survey

Cyberbullying is real, it’s here, and it’s harming South African children and teenagers daily, with its effects often being mistaken for ‘kids just being kids’ by parents who are yet to understand how rife and damaging cyberbullying can be. Anti-Bullying Week 2019, from 11-15 November, is a good time for schools to pay attention to the extent of cyberbullying, and for parents to get a handle on what they can do to avoid and deal with it.

“The challenge with cyberbullying is that parents can’t permanently monitor their child’s devices,” explains McCoubrey, whose programme teaches thousands of students, parents, teachers and psychologists to help children feel safer and behave smarter online.

“Parents and teachers need specifics – not just the broad term of ‘cyberbullying’ – as this is a broad and elusive form of ‘warfare’ on these devices – and parents will definitely find it difficult to track or understand what’s actually going on.

He shares the five faces of cyberbullying:

  • Children can use negative, harmful, false images or text, chat, apps or social media posts to embarrass or threaten someone.
  • The sharing of personal or private information that may cause the victim to feel embarrassed or humiliated. This can surprisingly hail from a friend (a practical joke) or a former friend, turned enemy. In that event, the controlling of a person’s account, posting photographs, starting rumours, or changing profile photos can also occur.
  • Faking profiles, known as ‘catfishing’, when bullies create new accounts and borrow profile photos and names and pretend to be a person to create a false relationship – sometimes sharing the personal and confidential declarations made in confidence.
  • Sexting or sextortion is the sharing of nude photographs either within group chats, or on social media sites, or websites (although less likely due to the possibility of tracking the source of the publisher). Sextortion is focused more on the threat and bribery associated with publishing photographs, rather than the act itself.
  • Video shaming is the sharing of videos of someone being embarrassed, threatened or hurt, and then publishing these to allow the content to go wider, or even viral, compounding the psychological harm.

Students and parents have a few options:

  • Record: Most importantly, kids need to be reminded to record the cyberbullying event by using the device to take a screenshot, and even send the screenshot to a safe place (email, storage) so you can take it off your device. This can be used to prove the problem exists as bullies are cunning and cover their tracks.
  • Don’t take the bait: As difficult as it may seem, reacting is what the bully wants, and kids need to avoid the situation, and remove themselves from groups or feeds which aren’t supporting their mental health. It may be hard but it’s necessary.
    Seek support: Parents and schools need to create safe spaces to discuss the issues and not ‘freak out’ – students often say that reactive parents and teachers who tackle the issue too abruptly can snowball or magnify the problem. Adults need to handle situations calmly with patience and maturity.
  • Engage: From a mental health perspective, students need support, but it’s essential to select a trusted expert. This may be a counsellor or senior figure in the school to assist with the situation. Alternatively you can seek out a social media lawyer or the police, dependent on the extent of the harm. Suggestions include SafetyNet for bullying, or the South African Depression and Anxiety Group for mental health concerns.

In conducting MySociaLife’s interactive social media and safety program, which includes a module about cyberbullying, McCoubrey has been surprised by students coming forward and admitting they had no idea of the extent of cyberbullying, the different sensitivities of human beings, and how different images, social media posts, chat forums and messages can hurt people, and impact them long-term. McCoubrey explained that of the ten modules they teach; cyberbullying is the #1 problem followed by mental health and self-esteem, then privacy and security and sexuality online.

But cyberbullying is an issue which starts early and continues throughout. It’s the nature of social media – we feel we have a voice to say good and bad things! “These are kids, and because they look savvy online, it doesn’t mean they have the maturity to handle the device.

“Four out of 10 kids don’t want to share their concerns. We need to find a way to engage, a safe platform to discuss these concerns, without withdrawing them from their community, unless of course that’s a necessity to keep them safe.

According to Commonsense Media, there are four parties involved in a cyberbullying situation: the cyberbully that’s using digital tools to deliberately upset or harass their target – the victim of cyberbullying. The bystanders are aware that something cruel is happening, but who stay on the side-lines out of indifference or fear of becoming targets themselves. The upstanders are the kids who actively try to stop the cyberbullying cycle, whether it’s by sticking up for the victim, standing up to the bully, or notifying the appropriate authorities about what’s happening.

“Parents and teachers can use Anti-Bullying Week to make children aware that it’s everyone’s responsibility to make the online and real life worlds a safe place,” says McCoubrey. “Anyone can be an upstander by reporting a bully, flagging a cruel comment, or even just choosing not to forward or share cyberbullying content. Doing so will stop a cyberbullying episode from escalating, and will reduce or even remove the bully’s power.

“It’s also important to have open paths of communication with everyone and to continue talking about how to prevent cyber bullying from happening. That is why every school should have a digital life skills program in place,” he says.

10 cute Christmas crafts to do with toddlers

By Crystal Bassler for Moms.com

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Every child’s head is filled with thoughts of Santa and what presents might end up underneath the tree. Meanwhile, parents are buzzing around like bees trying to get things ready so that they can have the perfect Christmas. There is no doubt about the fact that the holidays can be stressful, so why not take a break, sit down, and do some fun crafts with your little ones to get the most out of this Christmas?

Doing crafts with your little ones will create memories that they will always have and keepsakes that you can store away for when they are older. This is great bonding time and the perfect opportunity to explore your crafty side. Take a look at these 10 cute Christmas crafts that are perfect for toddlers.

Fingerprint Christmas lights

Fingerprint Christmas lights are a fun and easy Christmas craft for kids of any age. This craft is super easy to do and requires very little supplies. Go to your local crafts store and grab some finger paint and some construction paper and then you are good to go.

Simply let your child pick out the color of construction paper that they want, what color paints they wish to use, and give them a space to work on that you don’t mind getting messy. Let them dip their fingertips in the paint and get creative with their lights as seen in the picture above.

Paper plate Santa

This is another craft that is super easy and great for young children to do. For this one all you will need is some markers, a paper plate, cotton balls, and some glue. Have your child simply color in the top of the plate red for Santa’s hat, make two eyes, and a nose.

You will then have your child glue one cotton ball at the top of his hat and then a bunch of cotton balls on the bottom of the plate making Santa’s beard. This is a cute craft that you can store away and keep forever.

Construction paper tree

This is a simple craft you can do with your toddler that requires very few supplies. You’ll need green construction paper, a pencil, scissors, and some sequins. If your kids are younger, they may need some help with the cutting, so stay close by and offer them help as needed.

Simply trace out the pattern of a tree on the green construction paper, cut it out, take the glue, and start decorating! Super easy, fun, and adorable. As with many of the crafts on this list, be sure to pack it away and treasure it forever.

Reindeer masks

Reindeer masks are super fun and easy to make, not to mention the fact that your child can wear it on Christmas instead of it just being something that they put on the fridge to look at. For this fun craft, you will need scissors, construction paper, ribbon, and of course, some glue.

Cut out the shape of a mask, you might need to measure your child’s face to do so. Let your child then help make the antlers, nose, and ears. When all of that is done glue some ribbon to both sides so that your child can put on the mask.

DIY ornaments

If you don’t feel like investing in expensive ornaments that might end up broken, then this one might be a fantastic idea for you. Have your children make their own paper ornaments, get some string, and let them hang the ornaments from the tree. To do this you will need a ton of construction paper of all different colors, scissors, a hole puncher, and some string.

Simply cut out the shape of a typical ornament, punch a hole in the top, tie a string through the hole, and have your kids decorate them however they would like to before hanging them on the tree.

DIY snow globe

The next cute Christmas craft on our list might get a little bit tricky, but it is super cool when finished. For this, you will need two paper plates, sequins, markers, a stapler, and some saran wrap. Have your toddler color on the inside of one of the plates, be it a Christmas tree or a snowman.

While they are doing that you will want to cut out the middle of the other plate and tightly wrap Glad wrap around to cover the hole. When your child is done with that have them sprinkle the sequins on the plate that they coloured then staple the two plates together.

Pinecone Christmas tree

This Christmas craft we like to think of as the Christmas equivalent of easter eggs. To do this you will need pinecones, paint, paintbrushes, some of those little pom pom balls, and some glue from your local craft store.

To start, have your children paint the pinecones after they dry your kids will then glue the pom poms on as if they are ornaments, and if you want to make them shine feel free to add some glitter for a little extra fun. These could look really neat as a centerpiece for the table at Christmas dinner.

Toilet paper roll snowman

Who doesn’t love building snowmen? Everyone does of course, but what happens what it doesn’t snow and your kids are feeling bummed out about not being able to make a snowman? Well, we have the next best thing for them.

Gather up the rolls to empty toilet paper rolls, tape some white paper around them, push some small twigs inside of it for the arms, and use cotton balls, pom poms, and markers to decorate your snowman. It might not be as good as the real deal, but it sure is fun to make.

Fingerprint Santa sleigh

This craft is very similar to the fingerprint Christmas lights. Break out your construction paper and let your kiddos pick out whatever colour they want.

When that is done, you’ll want to get out the finger paint and allow them to use their thumbprints to make the Santa, and the reindeer and three prints together to make the sleigh. A small paintbrush would then take care of the rest. This would be an adorable craft to add to your fridge for all to see.

Construction paper puppets

This next craft is especially fun because once you are done making it you can put on a show! Construction paper puppets are relatively easy to make and all you will need it scissors, tape, glue, and of course construction paper. To do this you will want to staple two pieces of paper together leaving a hole for your little one’s hand to fit inside of.

You will then use the additional construction paper to turn the puppets into fun things like Santa and his reindeer or even an elf. After the puppet is done, have your little one put on a show for you using them.

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