Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Internet Safety Day with Junior High Students in Prince Edward Island - Student Feedback


Saturday, November 16, 2013

How Mainstream Media & Pop Culture Perpetuate Sexual Violence Against Women & Girls

I'm your everyday parent raising a teenage girl in a time where sexual abuse, exploitation and rape culture are glorified in mainstream media and pop culture.  I have gone to great lengths to protect my daughter from sexual content, especially when she was under the age of 16 years. That doesn't mean she wasn't exposed to inappropriate content - you can not avoid school ground chatter, or what your child is exposed to while in the care of others.  You also can not control what is being pushed out by Media of all forms (traditional or digital) and having accidental exposure to x-rated or even soft-porn content.

I recall my daughter coming home in elementary school asking me questions about some very explicit sexual acts.  I was shocked she even knew what these acts were because when I grew up, we didn't learn about these acts until late junior high.  At the time, my daughter was in grade three attending an elementary school that neighbours a large Junior High school.

After doing some investigating, I came to find out a few things there were taking place on the school grounds and at daycare that were very concerning to me.  Some boys from the junior high had passed out porn magazines to the elementary school age children.  This lead to older elementary school age boys attending the same daycare as my daughter, to having sex conversations while at day care.  These boys discussed BJ's and how some girls in my daughter's grade were putting out.  

So lets stop right there for a moment.  At the time, I highly doubt these girls were engaging in sex and had any idea of what was being said about them.  In fact, we had an experience in my own home that proved this point.  My daughter had a group of children in for supper one evening. I had to leave the kitchen to attend to something, and when I came back I heard lots of 'ew gross' coming from the girls and loud laughter coming from the boys.  I knew something was up so I asked what was going on.  Nobody spoke up so I called my daughter out of the room and asked what was going on.  She shared with me the boys were talking about a specific girl in their grade that was giving BJ's and sleeping around.  I made the decision to go into the room and discuss how this is an inappropriate conversation.  I gently asked questions that gave me insight that the kids didn't even know what they were talking about. I put an end to the conversation and established rules with consequences if I heard conversations like this taking place again.  

After these experiences, I made a clear decision to talk very respectfully on the topic, and felt I was forced to discuss the birds and the bees in a very real manner with my daughter ahead of the time I actually expected to share this with her. 

The point of me telling this story - it was the distribution of porn magazines on the school grounds that lead to these children having sexual conversations, which this leads me to write this blog post.

Since being involved in Women & Girl leadership programs, working directly with people who have faced sexual exploitation and abuse, you learn very quickly there is much victim blaming that takes place with little to no accountability held against those who foster and cultivate rape culture.  In recent years, there have been some high media profile cases in Canada that has hit the hearts and conscience of Canadians, sparking debates on how to address the problems associated with sex crimes.

The bottom line is, there is much work to be done and Canadian Adults need to take personal leadership in addressing this matter, as parents and guardians, as professionals, as people who care about treating everyone with respect, love and honour.


Lets take a look at how mainstream media and pop culture contribute and perpetuate sexual violence against women and girls.

Today, both young girls and boys are very confused of what is expected of them. We need to revert back to censorship of sexual content on mainstream media and digital media. Pop Culture glorifies rape culture and sexual abuse, extortion & harassment against women and girls. Turn on the TV and main stream popular shows contain soft porn content. Movies, Music, Teen Magazines, Billboard advertising - it is every where. Our MEDIA in all forms is watering down our societal moral compass - MEDIA produces on-mass the over-sexualization of young girls, just watch CBC Doc Zone Sext Up Kids: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5kiBqc7vyg

While parents and guardians can take measures to ban sexual content from their homes, it's getting near impossible with Push Marketing techniques, where it's in your face all the time. Driving in your car in large cities, you come across billboards and transit advertising  (vehicles, buses & bus stop shelters) that  contain sexual content. Walk through a mall and view the advertising images outside retail outlets, enter retail outlets playing LMFAO, Robin Thicke, Miley Sirus as the background music. Turn on your computer and there are pop-up advertising and banner ads that you are forced to view, even if you have tight security to block sexual content - it often gets pushed through anyway.  Spam email asking for hook-ups coming in to the in-boxes of youth, somehow getting past the filters.  Popular cartoon shows with scantly dressed females, Teen Magazines with pre-teens dressed like young women in their twenty's.  It's very hard to escape, pretty much impossible.

In my opinion it is time to revert back to censorship from the 70's and 80's.  I recall quite distinctly radio and television stations banning sexually explicit content.  I strongly believe we need to revert back to this time when we had 'clean shows and music' being made available to the masses, and in order gain access to such content, you had to purchase at retail outlets that had to require special authorization to distribute it.


HERE ARE THE IMPACTS OF OVER EXPOSURE TO SEXUAL CONTENT:

1) The younger someone is exposed to sexual content - and the more frequent they are exposed, the more at risk they are for being involved with a sexual crime either as the victim or the predator/criminal

2) For average youth, they are confused. They are being exposed to sexual content that demeans women / girls and are objectified. Boys think this is normal behavior in how girls want to be treated, while girls think this is what boys want - so both sexes find themselves doing things that are criminal. Meanwhile girls do not like being treated like this, and many boys do not like demeaning girls sexually

3) In extreme cases boys are being trained to sexually abuse, harass and exploit girls - they see it as normal because that is what they are exposed to on a regular basis from a young age



HERE IS A PRIME EXAMPLE OF HOW OUR SOCIETY IS FAILING OUR KIDS:

Lets take the song Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke. There is no question this song glorifies date rape and rape culture. Lines like "You're the hottest bitch in this place", "Let me liberate you", worse yet "I'll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two".

In case you haven't taken the time to actually read the lyrics, I suggest you do: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/robinthicke/blurredlines.html

Sure it's a catchy song - but lets face it - any parent who has a daughter would not condone her involvement in this type of relationship, and if her boyfriend forced his power on her - well - that wouldn't go down so well either.   

YET ..... because it's a catchy tune:

1) Many parents and guardians blast this tune in their car, in their house

2) Retail outlets play it in their stores

3) Large commercial business are using it as their theme song in national/international Television commercials

4) Talk show hosts like Oprah & Ellen are propping the artist up and saying they like the song

5) YouTube and Social Media are playing the normal and x-rated versions of the song - soft-and-hard porn immediately available spread on mass across the social web


USING THIS EXAMPLE - WHO HAS FAILED OUR YOUTH?
  1. The artist
  2. The Music Industry
  3. Parents & Guardians
  4. Media & Broadcasting Stations
  5. Social Media Platforms
  6. Advertisers
  7.  Retail Outlets
  8. Office Buildings
  9. Large Corporate Business
  10. Any adult that plays this song or provides access to this song to a minor


I'm sure there are many others - anyone who has glorified this song and others like it are the ones to blame! Each entity in this list has fostered,cultivated and perpetuated sexual violence against women and girls in their support of this song through their own behavior and actions ... keeping in mind adults set the tone of what is acceptable behavior ... in this case ADULTS HAVE FAILED!!

And then some people have the audacity to blame children?

Something that is new to me that I learned through watching the Sextortion of Amanda Todd documentary on Fifth Estate is the new type of Criminal called Caper - this is very scary! How does it come to pass that our young men think that this is normal and acceptable behavior? What is wrong with our society that there would be such a large increase in this type of behavior?



MY FINAL THOUGHTS: At one time, to gain access to sexual content, you had to purchase a porn magazine or video by showing I.D. - usually your driver's license. The 'porn' section in a movie rental place or book store was usually secluded and difficult to gain access - you had to show ID to enter this section. At one time, we had censorship laws that did not allow sexual content in movies, music, tv shows, media. You know, those good old fashion laws need to be re-instated! We need control over the amount of sexual content that is being pushed out so we eliminate over exposure at such young ages. FURTHER - the technology abilities exist that Internet and social media sites can ban sexual content and there should be laws that these sties have to conform with. For adults to gain access to this content - they should have to provide their S.I.N. Number, Drivers License and other pieces of ID into an online form before they gain access to it.









Saturday, October 19, 2013

Appreciating the Silence While Sitting In Sackville Library ....


Here I am on a Saturday afternoon, sitting in the Sackville Public  Library while my daughter is spending the day at Mount Allison University.  Chances are, she'll end up studying her BA of Music here next year for post secondary studies.

It's 3:30 PM.  It's quiet and peaceful here.  This is something I have come to enjoy - peace and quiet. Even though we live in a small city in PEI with a population just shy of 15,000 people, it's incredible how noisy that city is becoming with the hustle and bustle of every day life.  


We live on one of the main artery streets close to downtown, and it has constant traffic on it nearly all day.  We're two blocks down from the junior high school so very often through the day we hear junior high students heading downtown for lunch and back.  We live two blocks up from the most popular dance club so quite often we here people in the wee hours of the morning heading home after a fun night out with friends.

I used to like white noise in the background ... in fact I couldn't stand complete silence.  Now it's quite the opposite.  I find constant noise very agitating.  When I'm home alone, I like to turn off all the 'noise pollution' in my house - this includes radio's, tv's, computers, telephone ringers ... all I'm left with is the silence.  I sometimes take out the batteries in clocks to eliminate the 'tick-tock-tick-tock' noise.

Silence, complete silence - how I cherish this!  Our brains need down time. It's like our digital devices, take smartphones for instance ... if electricity is always running through the device, it can get bogged down and stop running smoothly.  You have to turn it off, take out the battery, and clear out the cache in the apps in order for it to work properly and smoothly again.  This needs to be done on a regular basis.

Our brains are the same - we need to unplug and sit still in complete silence.  Every time I make time to sit in silence, I feel 100% better - I feel rejuvinated , I feel more at ease and at peace.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

People are Not Problems ,,, Problems Are Problems!

Being the mother of a 16 year old daughter  who is entering her final year of high school this fall, I have to say navigating the teen years can be very overwhelming. One thing I have learned, and still learning, it is very important to always put things in proper perspective. Quite often we get lost in the moment, and what appears to be selfish teen behavior, can actually be signs of something else.

I started reading a really great book called "Parenting a Teen Girl" by Lucie Hemmen.  it is full of good advice and I highly recommend the book to any parent or guardian of a teen girl.  Here is an excerpt from the book on re-framing our thoughts from pessimistic to optimistic thinking:



Through my work, it seems many parents, myself included, tend to fall towards negative pessimistic thinking when we experience teen drama. We tend to get lost in the moment and give way to pessimistic thinking.  As parents, we need to learn the skills to help navigate, mentor and guide our teen through adolescence.  A foundation block is having our thoughts in proper perspective and ensuring we take an optimistic mind set to raising our children.

This is much easier said than done. It takes being Mentally Fit!   It requires a significant amount of self control and discipline, being mindful of our own actions and behaviors, and remaining calm even when our teen is having a complete melt down.

Keep in mind, People are not problems ... problems are problems ... we need to focus our attention on the behavior and addressing it.  The behavior is a symptom to the problem. When we discover the problem, we can help our teen overcome it.


Friday, June 14, 2013

Facebook Safety Tips for Teens

PLEASE NOTE:
  1. Please allow content to load.
  2. Original Source is USA Today website.
  3. There is a one minute advertisement prior to the main story

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Protecting Our Children Online



Thank you to Queen Charlotte, Stone Park, and East Wiltshire for hosting our parent session on "Protecting Our Children Online".


There are two more applications and platforms I would like to make you aware of, that are known to attract predators and pedophiles:

    1) Chatroulette: Online Video Chat site 

2) Kick: An iPod App

A few parents came up to me after the presentation to share some sexually explicit stories their elementary school age children (age 9) were involved in. A child of 9 would not know sending a picture of themselves to a stranger is dangerous, unless they are aware of the various Internet & Social Media perils.

I posted a question on Facebook last evening (June 5) asking if anyone was aware of these two apps/platforms, and I received instant replies from some parents whose children came face to face with pedophiles on these platforms.  They are very dangerous.  

Further, there is a lot of pornography and foul language used on these platforms that children and youth are being exposed to, way too early in life.

As we learned last evening, children who are exposed to pornography, whether it is hardcore or soft porn, are at a higher risk of being involved with sex and abuse crimes.

Please block these apps and platforms, along with Omegle.

If you have any questions, or would like to comment and provide feedback on the presentation, please post a comment on my facebook page, or send me a tweet:
Twitter: @nbguptill

Friday, May 10, 2013

10 THINGS YOU MUST DO IF YOUR CHILD IS BEING CYBER BULLIED


If your child is being cyber bullied, remember this, he/she is in control. Here are 10 steps to deal with the matter:

(1) GET PROOF & EVIDENCE: Use parental control software thathas the ability to capture online conversations and take pictures of the computer screen, or use screen capture software such as SnagIt or Jing

(2) REPORT THE BULLY: Facebook has the ability for you and your child to report the person and their comments. Visit: https://www.facebook.com/help/420576171311103/ Other social media sites have similar capabilities - search their help section or do a Google search to learn how to report 

(3) TELL THE OTHER PARENT: Inform the other parents that their child has committed the crime of cyber bullying. Send them the evidence, ask them to get their child to delete the posts. Inform them if the content is not taken down, or if anything else appears you will file a report with the police for cyber bullying.

(4) APPROACH THE BULLY: Depending on the age of the child, if in junior high or older, send them a message saying they are committing the act of cyber bullying and to immediately remove all posts and refrain from doing it in the future otherwise you will report them to the police for cyber bullying.

(5) APPROACH OTHER PEOPLE: If the posts were on someone else's wall or on a picture that was posted, send a message to that person asking for the negative posts to be removed. Advise them the act of cyber bullying was committed and they have a responsibility to protect others online and to shut down cyber bullying if it's happening on their account even if it's someone else that is instigating it.

(6) BLOCK THE BULLY: This is the simple solution - block the bully from your child's friend list. This way you shut-down the bully and take back your child's power

(7) TALK TO THE SCHOOL & EXTRA CURRICULAR PROGRAMS: Make sure the cyber bullying is not spilling over into other areas of your child's life. If they are being cyber bullied, it is likely they are being bullied somewhere else. Take the evidence to the school and to the program coordinator of any extra-curricular programs your child and the bully attends - ask them to protect your child while in their care, and to report any incidents immediately.

(8) INSTILL CONFIDENCE IN YOUR CHILD: One of the most important things you can do is tell your child to not take it personally. As much as it hurts, educate them that bullies usually have personal problems that leads them to hurt others and if your child were to watch the bully, he/she is bullying others to. Give lots of love and positive affirmations over your child's life and have them understand there is nothing wrong with them. Healthy minded people respect others, insecure troubled people bully others.

(9) POSITIVE EXPERIENCES & RELATIONSHIPS: Spend time with your child doing fun, positive activities. Give them experiences that bring them joy and confidence. Get them involved with activities they are good in and positively encourage them to work hard and do their best. Surround your family with positive people, where there is mutual respect and appreciation in the relationships. The more you build up your child's life with positive influences, the better they will be able to deal with unpleasant experiences in their life.

(10) REPORT & SEEK HELP: If the cyber bullying continues, report the bully to the police and school authorities. Meanwhile, your child's mental health is of utmost importance. If the cyber bullying is emotionally harming your child to the point it is crippling him/her, seek professional help from a family councilor.

One last point:  We as adults need to set the tone and behavior of appropriate online conduct. We are the role models so we must demonstrate being a good cyber friend and using the internet and social media for good. This means refrain from online complaining against others, including brands, companies and individuals. There is nothing wrong with sharing your opinion, just do it in a respectful manner.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Sexual Harassment & Sexual Bullying

We've all heard a lot about bullying. But did you know that in high school (and middle school), some bullies use sexual messages or actions to make a person feel intimidated, small, or uncomfortable? This sexualized type of bullying is called sexual harassment or sexual bullying.
What Behaviors Count:  Some images, jokes, language, and contact are called "inappropriate" for a reason. If a behavior or interaction makes you uncomfortable or upset, talk to a trusted adult. It may fall into the sexual harassment or bullying category.

What Are Sexual Bullying and Harassment?

Just like other kinds of bullying, sexual bullying involves comments, gestures, actions, or attention that is intended to hurt, offend, or intimidate another person. With sexual bullying, the focus is on things like a person's appearance, body parts, or sexual orientation. Sexual bullying includes spreading gossip or rumors of a sexual nature.
Sexual bullying or harassment may be verbal (like making rude comments to or about someone), but it doesn't have to be spoken. Bullies may use technology to harass someone sexually (like sending inappropriate text messages or videos). Sometimes harassment and bullying can even get physical.

Sexual harassment or bullying can include:
  • making sexual jokes, comments, or gestures to or about someone
  • spreading sexual rumors (in person, by text, or online) - sexual rumors include gossiping about someone's sexual preferences, for example saying someone is gay or lesbian when they are not, or vice vesa, saying someone is straight when they are not
  • writing sexual messages about people on bathroom stalls or in other public places
  • showing someone inappropriate sexual videos or pictures
  • posting sexual comments, pictures, or videos on social networks like Facebook, or sending explicit text messages
  • making sexual comments or offers while pretending to be someone else online
  • touching, grabbing, or pinching someone in a deliberately sexual way
  • pulling at someone's clothing and brushing up against them in a purposefully sexual way

This article was written by http://kidshealth.org. Full Article can be found here: http://kidshealth.org/teen/sexual_health/girls/harassment.html?tracking=T_RelatedArticle#


Saturday, April 6, 2013

True Story on Bullying & Cyber Bullying

Today I had the pleasure of attending our Area Toastmasters competition. I was a Counter and Sergeants-at-Arms, and enjoyed sitting back to watch my fellow Toastmasters compete.  It was delightful.

One speech really hit home with me ... it actually brought me to tears. Perhaps it's due to me  working so closely with different schools, families, children and youth, community groups and organizations on the very matter he spoke about so I understand the personal tragedy individuals, families and administration face.

My fellow Toastmaster gave a very moving speech on the impacts of bullying and cyber bullying in story telling format.  He recounted the real life events of the death of his nephew, who took his own life, as a result of severe bullying and cyber bullying.  

This handsome, talented, intelligent, creative young man was just two weeks away from graduating from high school ... a young man with a promising future. It broke my heart to hear his story. I fought to hold back the tears, however, the story was so moving I eventually felt the sting of tears in my eyes that spilled out and rolled down my face.

As my fellow Toastmaster shared his story, I thought of the many parents, children, youth and school administrators I have spoken with over the years, but more so in recent years as a result of the work I am doing in Cyber Safety, Internet Safety and Digital Footprints. In all cases, it boils down to one thing .... Bullying hurts ... Cyber Bullying makes it ten times worse because of how public the bashing and humiliation becomes and there is no escape.

Recently, I gave a Cyber Safety presentation to PEI Service Providers.  The participants included Executive Directors and front line staff working in crises centres, women centres, people with disabilities.  When speaking about Cyber Bullying, it was interesting to hear the workshop participants share they see a resounding number of adults, more so than children and youth, committing the acts of Cyber Bullying and Internet Defamation.  It was also interesting, yet not surprising, to learn some organizations and specific individuals working within them, are Cyber Bullied by outspoken individuals and organizations. When asked the nature of attack, whether it is personal or professional, they said it was more professional, stating people reacting to the work they do on social issues, social justice and serving the needs of the public.

This leads to me sharing a key message with all adult audiences:  Yes, bullying and cyber bullying are prevalent amongst children and youth ... however ... take a good look .... how are you, your friends and social media connections setting the tone of behavior online?

Do you ever bash brands, politicians, organizations or even individuals for that matter with derogatory comments?  Do you re-post pictures and links to articles that are malicious and condescending in nature?  Do you tweet or post negative comments, then ask others to contribute?  Once you tweeted or posted something, have you ever asked yourself this question: `If my comments were made about me by another person or entity, would I be embarrassed, hurt or humiliated if  someone talked about me in this manner?'

As adults, we need to set the tone of behavior and be positive role models  on using the Internet and Social Media for good.  There is nothing wrong with advocating for change or speaking up on matters that are important ... we just have to do it in a respectful manner, otherwise, we commit the act of cyber bullying and internet defamation ... others will model that behavior including children and youth.

Change starts with each of us on an individual basis.  If we want respect we must give it.  If we want children and youth to act accordingly online, then we as adults, must do the same.  Many people talk the talk ... but fail to walk the talk.

Be a Digital Leader, Be a Good Role Model, Demonstrate Appropriate Use of Social Media and the Internet.

Going back to my fellow Toastmaster, while his story was tragic with a very devastating outcome, I was blessed by his message and hold him in very high regard to have the courage and confidence to advocate for change.  More needs to be done in addressing the very real issues children, youth and adults face with bullying and cyber bullying.  I stand along side of him in raising the awareness and championing his cause. 



About The Author: Nancy Beth Guptill is an Entrepreneur & Small Business Owner, Founder of Sweet Spot Marketing Canada and a Motivational Speaker for Women & Girl Leadership. As an Internet and Digital Marketing veteran, Nancy Beth has vast experience in Online Internet Safety and Protecting Your Digital Footprint.

Since 2010, Nancy Beth has been highly sought after to share her message on being a Digital Leader, using the Internet & Social Media for good, and how to safely navigate the Social Web.


Monday, April 1, 2013

Getting Started - Blogging About Cause Marketing and Social Issues

Since 2010, I have been working with two amazing organizations, one is a non-profit, the other a private business.  The work we have been doing is very important, relevant and exceptionally rewarding. We are working on projects that make a significant difference in the lives of others.

Through the different projects I have been privileged to work on, I have been exposed to some very interesting trends and social issues which are pretty important for people to understand.  My knowledge base has been expanded, and I feel it very important to start sharing some of the information and experiences I have had through being involved with these projects.


The projects include:
  1. Gender Diversity in the Technological Workplace
  2. Women On The Move - Job re-entry program
  3. Live Your Dreams, Love Your Life
  4. Women & Wellness 
  5. Girls & Social Media 
  6. Girls & Their Online Behavior
  7. Protecting Our Children Online

I am just getting started with this blog, and have created a main website under my own name  Nancy Beth Guptill.   Feel free to comment on my blog posts, include your thoughts, perceptions and feedback.