ReThink: an app to stop cyberbullying

“The adolescent brain is like a car with no brakes.” At 14, Trisha Prabhu found a way to put the brakes on mean comments that tweens and teens write to their peers. Parents, insist your kids install this app! You are paying for the phone and this free app, which stops 93% of mean comments, can save lives by slowing down natural impulses to be mean online. Please share Trisha’s interviews on SharkTank & TED plus the link to the ReThink website with other parents.

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ReThink is an award winning, non-intrusive, innovative, patent-pending
software product that effectively stops cyberbullying before the damage is done.
The world is currently in the midst of a technology revolution. There are 1.8 billion teens around the globe, and technology is in the hands of every adolescent. With more adolescents online, more are getting cyberbullied. Cyberbullied victims suffer from depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and more likely to drop out of school. Several solutions that are in place today address bullying after the damage is done. ReThink is the first ever solution to proactively prevent cyberbullying before the damage is done.
ReThink is conquering this silent pandemic one message at a time.

Here’s that website again! http://rethinkwords.com/

Discussion Questions: Chapter Eighteen

Swept Away by Technology

In Chapter Two, “Enormous Changes in Society,” we looked at how technology has shaped our family systems over the past hundred years. This chapter focuses on how parents can navigate today’s tsunami of media in the best interest of their children.

“Technology enriches our lives, but it also impoverishes our lives. Humans crave connection, and technology connects people to the broader world—but it also allows them to isolate much more easily…. Technology also creates avenues for bullying that we could have never dreamed of even ten years ago.” (P. 322)

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 12.29.42 PMQ: How has bullying changed since you were a child? How is your social life different from that of your parents?

“Everything kids experience in the first six years of their lives is downloaded into the brain. TV programs and commercials can fill children’s ready-and-eager-to-learn brains with the wrong stuff, especially if they watch shows inappropriate for their age level. As a consequence, children are showing up in kindergarten with greater disrespect, incivility, and violence than before. Technological and commercial pressures are hampering healthy development, obstructing the learning of important life skills, and changing the architecture of the brain.” (p. 334)

Q: In your opinion, how are youngsters in general different from when you were young? 

“Years ago, kids came home from school, and then went outside to play until their parents called them in for dinner. These days, grandparents give iPads to their six-year-old grandkids and parents readily buy digital toys for children. These cool, captivating, engaging toys, given with the best of intentions, can hijack and derail a child’s healthy development.” (p. 332)

Q: What real-life experiences are today’s kids missing out on because of their fascination with and addiction to screens?

“Video game developers create what is called a ‘compulsion loop’. The player plays the game, achieves the goal, and is rewarded with new content, which makes the player want to continue playing and re-enter the loop to explore the new content. During this process, the pleasure center of the brain is activated, releasing dopamine. It feels good—it’s fun! (p. 333) “A study suggests that more than 5 million American kids ages eight to eighteen meet the definition of video game addiction. All children are susceptible, but especially those with poor self-restraint and poor impulse control.” (p. 333)

Q: Review the bullet list of those most susceptible. Which especially speak to you?

“Parents feel overwhelmed and helpless. They feel out of control of their lives and their families. The British study shows how popular culture is sabotaging harmony and unity, and creating division. The media has hypnotized children, molding their brains toward materialistic values and raising good ‘consumers’ instead of good citizens.” (p. 330)

Q: Amy Jussel, an expert on how advertising shapes kid’s brains, doesn’t mince words: “It’s nothing short of corporate pedophilia and voyeuristic sleaze fouling up kids’ socio-emotional health, and our cultural compass as a whole.” Do you agree? Are you worried? Or do you see it differently?

“While parents busily try to set limits at home, marketing executives work day and night to undermine their efforts with irresistible messages.” (Dr. Susan Linn, p. 327)

Q: How do you cope with the “Bullies Behind the Screen” as described on pages 328-330?

“Our kids are out of shape, tuned out and stressed out, because they’re missing something essential to their health and development: connection to the natural world.” (The National Wildlife Federation, p. 336) “Playing outdoors gives children a safe and captivating outlet for pent-up stress, agitation, and aggressive energy. Creative, unstructured free play is a remedy for overscheduled, over-programmed, stressful lives. Exercise and exploration in nature is an antidote to negative influences, and can have enormous benefits—including plain old-fashioned fun.” (p. 336)

Q: How are some ways you promote positive nurturing in our high tech/low touch culture?

“Kids who are not developmentally ready for what the mainstream media has to offer are the ones who are most at risk. It is therefore the parent’s job to decide how much a child can watch or play.” (p. 338)

Q: How old are your children? What strategies on pages 339-342 do you use to manage technology? What new strategies from this list will you try?

This question is always a good one:

Q: What sentence, paragraph, or idea popped out at you, or stuck with you after reading?

Reply in the Comments, below!

Looking for resource links? Click here.

<< Chapter 17 | Chapter 19 >>

A Parent’s Place in the War on Cyberbullying

In a recent AP article,  Dr. Victor Strasburger talks about a new policy put forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics policy that extends the 2-hour screen-time limit to include social media.

Because cyberbullying takes place away from parental supervision, the AAP recommends strict limits on smartphones, computers and other Internet-connected devices, going as far as saying  TV and internet access have no place in a child’s or teen’s bedroom except for homework.

“Kids are getting way too much computer time,” says one parent. “It’s bad for their socialization, it’s overstimulating, it’s numbing them.” Screens in bedrooms not only interfere with child’s sleep, causing them to be more vulnerable to bullying during school, but they provide access to anti-social modeling. Says Dr. Strasburger, “I guarantee you that if you have a 14-year-old boy and he has an Internet connection in his bedroom, he is looking at pornography.”

A two-hour time limit may feel impossible to today’s families, but when children share your goals for them (health, well-developed talents, a positive social life), and parents limit themselves as well, you will find more cooperation.

Bully-Stopping Apps for Kids

Here are a few anti-bullying apps that AT&T shared last year for pink shirt day to help prevent text bullying:

  • BullyBlock – (Apple iOS, Android – $0.99) – This app captures and block bullies that are causing you and your family harm. The Bully Block app allows users to covertly record verbal threats and harassment, block inappropriate texts and pictures (e.g. sexting), and utilize auto respond features. Bully Block blocks bullies that utilize private or unknown numbers to engage in cyberbullying. Bully Block also has instant reporting features that allow the user to email or text abusive behavior to parents, teachers, HR departments, and law enforcement. All audio, messages, and calls are stored on the phone SD card.
  • TipSubmitMobile – ( Apple iOS, Android – Free) – TipSubmit Mobile allows tipsters to submit secure and anonymous tips to Crime Stoppers, law enforcement agencies or school safety officers and administrators. Thousands of communities, schools and government agencies are covered by this application since it connects directly with TipSoft, the world’s largest and North America’s only, truly anonymous tip reporting system. Tipsters could receive rewards of up to $1,000 in the U.S. and up to $2,000 in Canada for information submitted to Crime Stoppers and nobody will ever know your identity.
  • Bully Stop – (Android – $1.29) – This app helps protect your children from bully calls, texts and picture messages. The app gives your children the ability to block calls and messages from people they don’t want to hear from. Bully Stop uses a Block List to block unwanted callers and texters. The app maintains a password-protected call log of all attempted contact with your child so you can approach the relevant people, parents, teachers or police and show proof of the bullying communication.
  • Bully Button – (Apple iOS – $0.99) – This application is for helping when the user is in trouble. It lets them record and send an email with audio attachment with text by tapping “Record and Send” button. Children can call a parent, friend or school by selecting appropriate options.
  • Rindin by CrocPond – (Apple iOS –$0.99) – This anti-bullying awareness app is based on the story and DVD Rindin. It includes an animated short movie, story book and adventure game. The app encourages children to be creative, while helping them to recognize the value of tolerance and getting along.
  • Bully Shield – (Apple IOS, Android – $0.99) – This app is for kids being bullied, family members who care about them, teachers and school administrators. Users can build and save an action plan to create a bully-free zone and then email the action plan to friends and family.

via Text Bullying on the Rise – Jermaine Spight’s Blog – Oakland Township-Lake Orion, MI Patch.

via Bully-Stopping Apps for Kids.