Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Going too Far?

Here Is an article about an 8 year old who was taken away from his Mom because he weighed 200 plus pounds.  Do you agree with this?  This should be only used as a measure of last resort, in this writer’s humble opinion.  Weight loss is a tricky thing.  If this Mom had been feeding him garbage all the time, not getting him exercise, then maybe he needed to be taken out of the home while he mother got counseling and help. But if he had been genetically predisposed to being big, well that is a whole different matter. Perhaps Mom could be taught to reduce his portions and make healthier meals.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Courtesy Of Operation Bullyhorn

Could You Be Bullying Others? (Operation Bullyhorn's first blog post from Tumblr)

by Katharine Royal on Tuesday, November 29, 2011 at 12:33pm

I've been given a lot of interesting topics to blog about for the next few days/weeks and, for me, the one that has hit home most so far is whether a person can be a bully without necessarily even realizing that their behavior could be categorized that way. The answer, quite simply, is YES.

Allow me to explain. So many times, when people hear the word bullying they think of the big kid in the schoolyard or in the halls at school that shakes smaller kids down for lunch money, knocks them up against lockers, calls them names, etc. It's EASY to understand this kind of behavior as bullying. That said, there are MANY other types of bullying that go on today beyond even just name calling and physical harm to another.

For instance, have you ever been in the supermarket, school, the mall, even at church, and seen and heard people talking about what somebody was wearing, what they looked like, or something they did in a negative way? Maybe it was a remark about the person's weight. Maybe it was the way their voice sounded or their word choice, and maybe it was a wardrobe malfunction they may not have known about. Making jokes about such things, even if the person in question doesn't see to be able to hear you, is a form of bullying.

So where is the line between good natured ribbing and bullying? Well, ask yourself this question. Does the person involved think it's funny; or as the old saying goes, are they being laughed at, or laughed with? If the person doesn't know they are being talked about, they can't be laughing with you. If they do know, do they seem uncomfortable? Sometimes people will laugh out of uncomfortability, not because they are really finding the situation funny. If you're not sure, don't do it. If you don't know if the person finds it funny, err on the side of not wanting to be a bully.

Going along with this, there are two specific phrases I hear used again and again that have become so ingrained in some people's vocabulary that they don't even seem to realize they are saying them....and yet this language is VERY bullying language.

First, likely everyone has heard people describe things or people as "gay" and not meant by that that it's a person who loves somebody of the same gender. "Gay" is a word that sadly often get used to mean stupid, lame, effeminate, dorky, etc. When this word is used to mean anything other than a person who loves somebody of the same gender, it's offensive and is bullying behavior. Same with another all too common one that even I find myself slipping into every now and again; the blonde jokes. They've been around for decades, and are normally in good fun. It's easy not to even think of jokes like that in terms of bullying, but truly there are a great many people who are very offended by the thought that people consider others less intelligent because of something as trivial as hair color.

Lastly in the word department for the moment is one that's gained wide-spread attention of late due to members of the cast of Glee -- the word "retard" or "retarded."

Up until fairly recently these were words used by doctors to descraibe a medical condition affecting somebody's mental abilities. Most medical professionals stopped using these words a short time ago largely as a result of all the stigma that has grown from them.

Much like the usage of the word "gay," "retarded" and "retard" are VERY overused in society. Even in casual conversation, it gets thrown around by people to describe anything from a silly behavior to somebody perceived to be stupid. Along with it's usage are often phrases like "window licker" and "short bus"....even at times references to helmets and the pointed use of the word "special."

Most people when they say things like this, like with the word "gay" aren't really meaning that the person in question has a medical condition that affects their cognitive function. That said, as somebody who DOES have a medical classification which led to that word being one I was called frequently growing up, I know first hand how damaging it is. Most people, when they say it in a casual, "joking" context are merely meaning "that was a silly thing to do" or "that was something that didn't seem to make a lot of sense that person did." However, for so many things perceived as negative to be referred to by the use of a name originally intended to classify people with a disability is quite damaging to many people who hear the words being thrown around so casually.

So here's the simple thing you can do. Realize EVERYONE messes up. Heck, I still say things all too often that I then catch myself on and realize it could easily have hurt somebody even if it didn't mean it hurtfully. You'll never be perfect.

That said, you CAN and SHOULD do your best. You have a cheat sheet here. Even if you just start by trying your hardest simply to avoid the things mentioned here, you're off to a GREAT start. Don't beat yourself up if you mess up, just be mindful. It may help to have a group of friends to hold one another accountable on these things. They may seem minor to you, but stopping the use of words and phrases and behaviors like this will likely help save a life.

Podcast For Monday’s Show 11-21-11

Click Here To Listen To Or Download!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How to Prevent Suicide on Twitter and Facebook: Courtesy Of Lockergnome

How to Prevent Suicide on Twitter and Facebook

Posted by Kelly Clay on Nov 22, 2011 | No Comments

On November 7, 18-year-old Ashley Billasano tweeted 144 times, over a span of more than six hours, about the horrific sex abuse and molestation she had been enduring for years. Recently, people from Child Protective Services told Ashley they did not believe her claims that she had been sexually abused and forced into prostitution by a family member. As happens with many victims of abuse who can’t get the help they need, Ashley could no longer mentally cope. When not even one of her 500 followers responded to her desperate pleas on Twitter, she suffocated herself.

Ashley is not the first person to turn to social networks as a last cry for help. In 2009, a Twitter user from San Jose, California sent a Tweet to Demi Moore threatening suicide. Moore replied to their tweet and added: “hope you are joking.” At the time, Moore only had 370,000 followers, but many of those followers saw Moore’s tweet and helped contact authorities in San Jose, who were able to locate the Twitter user and take him into protective custody.

Unfortunately, it is more typical for social media users to ignore, or not know how, to react to suicidal messages posted on Twitter or Facebook — especially when the message is a result of bullying and a teenager might be afraid to respond to another for fear of backlash against their own reputation. Dozens of children and teenagers die every year as a result of suicide because of bullying, whether it starts at school or online. In today’s Web 2.0 world many of these children — like Ashley — have an expansive social network. But when they need help, when they are desperate for just anyone to listen or care — will you?

How to Prevent Suicide on Twitter and FacebookKnowing how to respond to a suicidal message on Facebook or Twitter is critical to help save lives. You don’t actually need to know the right words to talk them off of their proverbial ledge. However, if you respond to the person in crisis and assure them that there is someone who wants to talk to them, which can be either you or a person at a crisis center, and be prepared with a a phone number that they can call for help, you just might be able to save their life.

Amanda Lehner, online communications manager for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, advises that social media users take every threat they see on Twitter and Facebook seriously and first try to identify their location first. If you know where they are, try to contact their local emergency department and have them respond — the person may have already tried to physically harm themselves. If you don’t know where they are located, the next best thing is providing the person with a crisis hotline that can listen to and talk with the person. Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK) is one such crisis hotline and an operator there will direct the person to their local crisis center, where someone will talk with them and help them find medical care. (If the person is not in the US, Befrienders is an international suicide prevention resource that can help you find a crisis hotline for anyone around the world.)

If you do see a suicidal message on Twitter or Facebook, be sure you at least do something to help. In fact, the chances are that the more followers or friends a person has, the more unlikely someone is to do something due to the bystander effect, which theorizes that the more people witness an assault or accident, the less likely anyone is to help the victim, since everyone thinks someone else will react. The more friends and followers also means the more likely the suicidal message will get swept away by other messages in their friends’ feeds. If you don’t feel comfortable offering your own voice as help, or you are afraid you will say something that will further aggravate their emotions, be sure you provide them with a resource that can help them — or at least try to figure out how to provide their local authorities with enough information for emergency services to provide the immediate help they desperately need.

And while knowing how to respond to suicidal messages is critical to save lives, social media users must start responding to the warning signs that a “friend” might be sad and depressed before they arrive at a state of total despair. Social network users are overwhelmed with incoming messages and media, and many users acquire thousands of friends and followers whom they’ve never met and don’t personally care about (and vice versa). When users look to their social networks for attention, validation, or someone to just listen, they often won’t find it because their message gets lost amongst the others. Will you know when your friends are going through a tough time — or even when they hit rock bottom? Social media users need to clear out the clutter if they want to be able to read the warning signs of a friend in trouble — let alone know when to react when they have hit rock bottom.

If you are looking for more help, either for yourself or a friend, consider visiting To Write Love on Her Arms, which provides a list of additional lifelines and resources. Other great resources include the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and SAVE.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Be Fruitful And Multiply?

Reading about Bob And Michelle Duggar, the reality tv stars who are the parents of 19 with 1 on the way.  Why would anyone want to have 20 kids?  I know that they are religious people, and good family people, so that’s probably one reason.  There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as they’re doing it because they want to have a big family, and not because they want to take advantage of the system.  It used to be that large families were the norm, but these days. with all the economic problems, is it feasible?  A large number of pregnancies has got to put a strain on a woman’s body. Here’s hoping that they have a healthy baby!

Podcast For Friday’s Show 11-11-11


Click Here To Listen To Or Download!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Driven Under By Scandal

Joe Paterno was right when he said he should have done more.  Even if he didn’t understand what his graduate assistant said he saw former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky doing with a 10 year old kid in the shower at the Penn State locker room, he should have at least did some investigating.   As for the other times he was told, and told his bosses, he could have at least checked back in a few days and seen if they had done anything, and call the police if the hadn’t.  Technically, he did the right thing, but morally, he really should have followed up.  He, the college president,  the 2 officials who were charged with perjury, the grad assistant, and anyone else involved should be ashamed with their actions.  Hopefully Mr. Sandusky will get the book thrown at him, and spend the rest of his life in jail.  Also, let’s not forget the kids: They were between 8 and 13 when this happened. NO kid should have to go through abuse, especially at the hands of an adult that they trusted. Hopefully, they can/are getting therapy for this, and they can have a good life.