Bullying: A Symptom of Greater Problems

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Exclusion and Cyberbullying

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When we think of cyber bullying we often think of hateful, hurtful, or threatening text messages, embarrassing stories or pictures being shared online without permission and with the intent to harm, and spreading nastiness about people on social media. It’s more than that and it can make a teenager feel very isolated.

The internet has made it very easy to target specific contacts and contact them quickly and discretely. Everything from e-mail to private events on Facebook to group personal messages allows teenagers to form tight, private groups that easily exclude those they wish to make fun of or isolate. Instead of standing up in front of the class and saying “Party at my place” or putting a poster up in the hallway, you can now make a private event and only invite the people you want.

Now you can talk about it, right in front of people, and they know they’re being excluded. They know there is a place online where other people are getting together where they are not allowed to be and often they know that they are being teased there where they cannot defend themselves.

Remember the Dalhousie University School of Dentistry? A group of young males created a closed group on Facebook and proceeded to post sexist, sexually derogatory, hateful, comments about women in their classes, women they saw on campus, or women they met at clubs. The women had no access to the group and had no idea what was being said about them.

Any teen can do this.

It takes two minutes to create a closed Facebook group. It takes a few minutes more to add the people who are in on the joke. It could take weeks or months or years for the target to find out that everyone in their class or school is making fun of them online.

Yeah, but kids have been excluded from parties for years. Teenagers have been gossiping over the telephone for decades. There’s always someone who will be left out. What’s the difference? Kids are still being bullied. Kids are still being excluded.

True. But now they can be teased, harassed, hurt, and excluded 24/7.

One of the symptoms of depression is the feeling of isolation. You may be surrounded by people and still feel alone. When a person is bombarded my texts containing threatening or hateful messages it emphasizes that everyone else thinks they are worthless. It reinforces their exclusion from the group.

So what do we do?

Telling a teenager to turn off their cell phone or stay off of social media isn’t the answer. Increasingly the digital world is becoming the WHOLE WORLD to these kids. Telling them to stay away from the internet is like saying “They all think you’re different so let’s make you more different.” It won’t work. And just because you close your eyes to the bullying doesn’t mean it goes away.

What we do is we teach compassion. We teach tolerance. We teach empathy. We practice what we preach. We lead by example. We treat everyone with dignity and respect, even if it’s JUST the kids taking our order at the fast food joint or pumping our gas. We do this by donating to charity and then talking to kids about why we donate to charity. We teach kids to see the value of unique and special, and to be tolerant of others who are different.

How? How do we teach these things?

Start young. Talk to your teens. Talk to your children. Talk to them about charity and tolerance. Tell them that all people have value. Provide them with opportunities to give of themselves. Build their self-worth so the world can’t knock them down.

What can you do if you are a victim? Tell someone. Show someone the messages. Report it. Get in touch with organizations like Kids Help Phone or The Canadian Red Cross and get involved in the Pink Shirt Day campaign. Organize talks about bullying, find guest speakers. Report it online at the Canadian Cyber Bullying Tip Center. Be nice to others. More and more we see victims responding to bullying with acts of kindness and maybe even teens can start to lead by example.

There is hope.

The 400 Likes Contest

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CONTEST CLOSED
MarleneMcpherson and WiindRider Taiyang you have both won. Thank-you for leaving reviews on The Roses of Airon. Which book would you prefer a copy of?

As I type this my Facebook page sits at 398 likes. So I’m getting the 400 like contest ready. And the first detail I’m sure everyone is interested in is … PRIZES.

I will be giving away 4 (FOUR) copies of Reimagined (pdf copies) and 4 (FOUR) copies of Rose in the Dark (also pdf).

*Disclaimers – Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, and any other site I use to advertise this contest have nothing to do with the contest and are not responsible for the prizes. Also, the books aren’t finished yet (I hit 400 likes a lot faster than I thought). Reimagined is very close – it’s just being edited and it needs a cover. Rose in the Dark is only half typed. I will record the winners and e-mail out the prizes BEFORE the books are made public.

HOW TO WIN

1) You must like my facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/schreyerauthor
2) For one chance to win you can comment on this blog post, and not just a random comment, but a random comment, I want a silly, random plot twist for a YA fantasy novel.
3) For one chance to win you can download The Roses of Airon (a short story offered for FREE on smashwords – it’s the prequel to Rose in the Dark) and leave a review on smashwords or Amazon. The book can be found here: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/504253

DRAW DATE

I will be drawing for the winners on January 20th, 2015.

If the World Were 100 People [Infographic]

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TwistedSifter

World-as-100-People_infographic

London-based designer Jack Hagley has created an infographic based on the simple premise of: what the world would like if it were represented by 100 people. The statistics cover a broad range, including: gender, age, race and religion. You can find the original source of the data used here.

Hagley specializes in infographics. To see more be sure to check out his website for more interestingness. Prints of the above infographic are also available here.

[via Washington Post]

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Rose in the Dark Preview

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To celebrate The Roses of Airon reaching 100 downloads I am sharing the prologue of Rose in the Dark.
The Roses of Airon is the prequel to the Rose Garden series. Rose in the Dark is the first novel in that series.
If you haven’t read The Roses of Airon you can download a copy FREE: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/504253
Please leave a review!

17th of Star Rise, 24th Year of the 11th Rebirth, Golden Hall, Capital City of the Province of the Metalkin – The Wedding of Princess Mallory Jewel-Rose

Princess Rheeya Stone-Rose liked weddings. She liked the silky feeling of her new red dress. She liked the sparkling lights and the sparkling wine.
I only hope my wedding is this lovely.
Rheeya was seated at a finely set table with three other young women; the princesses of the Evergrowth, the Animal-People, and the Sun-Temple. The four of them had grown up together at the Temple of the Sun but they had spent the last twelve years in their separate provinces. And then, six months ago, they had been called together by the High Priest of Vinturuth. His story had shaken them all.
“A fifth princess?!” Rheeya had asked.
“Of course,” the High Priest had replied. “One for each province. Didn’t you ever wonder where the princess of the Metalkin was?”
Betha, the Princess of Evergrowth, had rolled her eyes. “Obviously the last Metalkin princess didn’t have any children.”
“That’s not how this works. You are not the children of the last Rose Princesses; you ARE the last Rose Princesses reborn. And you were not born here. You were born far from the Isle of Light and you were brought here as infants.”
“So, where is the Princess of Metalkin,” Betha had asked.
“We never found her. She’s still in the other realm. And if we don’t find her soon our realm will be in grave danger.”
Rheeya shook her head and turned her attention back to the feast at hand. Servants were bringing out silver platters of roasted meats and steaming vegetables. Other servants moved between the tables with golden pitchers refilling goblets with sweet wine or strong ale.
At the head table sat Mallory Brock Jewel-Rose, the newly found Princess of Metalkin. Her white dress and elaborately braided hair were adorned with roses, the symbol of the princesses and their pact with Vinturuth, the Sun God. Beside her sat a broad-chested and dark-haired man with eyes as cold as iron. Rheeya shivered.
I hold out hope that my own prince, my soul mate, will be warm and gentle. But I am the Princess of the Stone Clan. What warmth is there in stone?
The music started and Rheeya forgot about other realms and dark spirits and her fear of a cold, unfeeling husband as she clapped her hands and smiled. Mallory is so lucky. What a beautiful wedding. Beside her the other princesses also laughed and clapped, celebrating the beginning of a prosperous time for them all. With five princesses sitting on the five thrones, upholding the pact and the sustaining magic of the realm, the realm could now begin to heal.

Happy New Year

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So, 2015 has finally rolled around to my corner of the world. 2014 was a good year, and 2015 looks to be, well, busier, at least. Better will have to wait until the end of 2015 to be decided on.

2014 marked one year in my own house, we had my niece’s first birthday, my sister-in-law got married and announced her pregnancy, my son started kindergarten, I went back to work (and quit), I published a book, my cousin attempted suicide but is 5 months clean from cutting, my husband passed his first set of courses with his apprenticeship … yes, it was a good year.

2015 will mark my fifth wedding anniversary, my second year in my own home, the birth of my second niece or my first nephew, the publishing of two more novels (I hope) plus a collection of stories and poems and some workbooks on bullying … and who knows what surprises are waiting for me.

My list of writing resolutions, with a publishing timeline can be found here: https://casiaschreyer.wordpress.com/2014/12/29/writing-resolutions-2015/

Personal Resolutions:

* yell at my kids less
* get back in shape
* rediscover my silly side

So, whatever you have planned for 2015, I wish you the best of years. May the year be full of silver linings, rays of hope, helping hands, laughter and love, and the beginnings of peace between us all.

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