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Monday, May 23, 2011

Cyberbullying Tips For Parents

• Give kids a code of conduct. Tell them if they wouldn't say something to someone's face, they shouldn't text it, instant message it or post it.
• Ask if they know someone who has been cyberbullied. Sometimes kids will open up about someone's pain before admitting their own.
• Establish consequences for bullying behavior.
• Monitor their media use.
• Tell kids not to share passwords with friends.
• Use privacy settings.
• Remind them... all private information can be made public.
• Tell kids what to do if they're harassed: Block bullies and inform parents or trusted adults. Save evidence in case it is need for reporting.
Source: Common Sense Media

Friday, May 13, 2011

5 MYTHS - Keeping neighborhoods locked into crime!

For decades, community leaders have perpetuated myths.

Myth #1 Police can keep us safe.

The national average is 2.5 police for every 1000 citizens. The job of police is to react when crimes occur.

Myth #2 Money will solve problems.
Taxpayers spend billions on programs, security, swat teams, training, scanning equipment and surveillance cameras. Money has not stopped gangs, demand for drugs or violence on streets. When an area receives funding, violators move.

Myth #3 Laws control behavior.
Laws have limited power. Law-abiding citizens obey laws. Criminals, gangs, pimps and drug dealers pay little attention.

Myth #4 Racism keeps the community down.
Blaming people who look different perpetuates anger. Anger gives disconnected youth an excuse to be violent. Gangs, like warring tribes, turn youth into uneducated men who end up in prison.

Myth #5 Poverty keeps people from progressing.
Politicians gain power with an illusion of compassion. The on going, “War on Poverty” and “War on Drugs” cost billions. In our zeal to “help” the poor, we can destroy self-confidence and create dependency.

Myths have some truth but they don’t change community behavior.

Crossroads…will security require more surveillance and less freedom or will we focus on supporting neighborhoods and strengthening families?

A national goal: strengthen families.
Children need support to discover their self-protective conscience. When youth have a supportive network of family, friends and church family, they learn they have potential and make responsible choices. Most city youth, do not join gangs, take drugs or become violent but they do need a safe city.

Creating peaceful cities will take:
1. A spiritual awakening to raise children with a conscience.
2. Community participation to build strong neighborhoods.

City leaders can train citizen “community coaches”
to work with neighbors to reduce anger and overcome fear. Coaches who speak the language within a neighborhood can educate people so they won’t become victims. Neighbors can stop bullies and destructive behavior at an early age. As people work together, youth see new role models.

Civic and church groups can adopt one block to bring people together and build relationships. They can plan activities; a block party, plant a garden, sponsor a safety fair or prepare for emergencies. Involved neighbors become teachers and mentors.

As community support grows, city residents can heal and cities will become safer for everyone.

Stephanie L. Mann, Crime and Violence Prevention Consultant
Author: “The Adopt-A-Block Guidebook: 10 steps to a safe and healthy neighborhood.”
“Street Safe Kids: 10 step guide to building self-esteem and staying centered.”

Friday, May 6, 2011

STOPPING TERRORISM… a winnable challenge!

“Must stay on guard,” (Bay Area News Group 5-2-11), is a message for all citizens. However, Americans need to know what they can do to reduce this dangerous threat to our safety.

Terrorism is an unholy war with evil leaders spreading fear to promote their agenda. Terrorists want to rule the world and convince followers to sacrifice themselves for heavenly rewards. Na├»ve followers don’t question and become extremely dangerous.

For centuries, charismatic men have twisted religion for their own purpose. American examples include:
- Rev. Jim Jones persuaded followers to relocate from San Francisco to Jonestown, Guyana where 909 people died.
- David Koresh and 74 followers perished in Waco, Texas.
- Timothy McVeigh blew up the Oklahoma City federal building, killing 168.

Dictators and gang leaders also spread fear to manipulate the “spiritually blind.” However, they could not survive without a culture that glorifies ego-driven men who play god in other people’s lives. Uninformed, uneducated citizens allow ruthless leaders to prosper!

The Challenges Ahead for America
Many Americans don’t understand the power of the human spirit to be renewed and enlightened. When citizens are disconnected from support, they may not be self-aware or aware of their surroundings and “on guard.”

Responsible religions strengthen support for families. They discover the human spirit can develop a self-protective conscience and intuition. When we learn to trust our instincts and gain self-confidence, we grow with courage, speak up and take action.

Neighborhood involvement strengthens families. When neighbors communicate, they become observant and pay attention to neighborhood safety. Connected neighbors share information and build trust. In the process, they stop the social isolation that allows criminal behavior to go unnoticed.

Americans must stand together to win this unholy war. Informed, involved neighbors can PREVENT future attacks. When our enemies see how we value families, neighborhoods and communities, we will send a message that we stand for peaceful co-existence for all.

Stephanie L. Mann, Crime and Violence Prevention Consultant