Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Step-Families are Special: Find Out Why

Honey Maid believes that just because a family is broken up, doesn't mean it's broken.

#NotBroken Keys  - pass it on.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Back to School: Starting Kindness Clubs

Schools will be opening throughout our country shortly.

Most schools have implemented anti-bullying policies – and hopefully many have anti-bullying clubs.

Anti-bullying Clubs are now being switched up to Kindness Clubs.
This is a great idea since kindness a direct way to combat bullying.  Finding small ways each day to help someone feel good – or finding community projects your club can participate in, spreading kindness needs to be a way of life.
As school opens find out how you can start a Kindness Club in your school or class this year.  Ask your teacher or guidance counselor.  Get your friends motivated and start by listing how you can spread kindness each day:
  • Tell a teacher you appreciate them
  • Help a student that is being tormented, be an upstander
  • Pass out flyers on bullying and cyberbullying prevention
  • Leave messages for someone that is feeling down, let them know they are not alone
  • Leave messages ‘just because’ it’s nice to do – lift others up everyday
  • Tell a janitor what a good job they did
  • Smile at people – let them know you notice them
  • Make time for those that seem lonely, introduce yourself
  • Offer to tutor students that are struggling academically
  • Compliment others, (their hair, clothes, their smile) – be kind – it matters
  • Eat lunch with new people
  • Be sure new students don’t feel like strangers
  • Look for community projects to participate in – visiting nursing homes, assisted living centers and teaching them about cyberspace!  CyberSeniors love meeting cyber-mentors!
Need some inspiration?  Visit these websites for ideas: Spark Kindness, Ripple Kindness, iCanHelp, Random Act of Kindness, KindnessCounts, and Pennies of Time.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Bridging the Digital Divide: Students Making A Difference

When two sisters realized the difference that the Internet made in their own grandparent's lives, they knew they were on to something.

It was time to make this a community service project and get students involved.  The response was overwhelming and the seniors were excited to learn about a whole-new-world - The Internet!

They have become Cyber-Mentors to the Cyber-Seniors in their community.

These Cyber-Mentors has contests  and taught seniors how to take selfies! Students brought so much joy to these senior citizens!  One video shows a 90 year-old woman that found her home in England on Google Earth – and was brought to tears – yet another elderly woman makes the students giggle as she sings Hallelujah to YouTube for the first time.

Encourage your school to reach into your community retirement centers and open up new worlds to these wonderful seniors!  Paying it forward is a wonderful feeling!

Learn more.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Pause and Think Online Video Contest Winners!

Congratulations to our three Pause & Think Online Video Contest winners!

Common Sense Media was impressed with the creativity, the musicality, and the artistry exhibited in all three. Thank you to all of the students and teachers who submitted videos.
See all of the contest submissions here.

We are so proud of all the digital citizens! - Common Sense Media

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

ThirdParent: Protective Parenting for the Digital World

Digital parenting is part of parenting today.

If parents are not technically connected to their teens, they will be in trouble.

ThirdParent can help you become a digital parent.

ThirdParent pride themselves on giving parents access to the essential information they need to protect a teen or preteen’s online reputation and ensure their safe and responsible internet behavior.

In the interest of online reputation management, our goal is to identify any negative information that could be found in the course of searching for an individual. They will alert you as to whether your child’s online profiles, activity and privacy settings make them overly susceptible to predators.

They scour every major search engine and every popular social network to identify:

  • Sexual inappropriate behavior
  • Racism
  • Cyberbullying
  • Slander
  • Other inappropriate behavior
  • Predator risk
Learn more by visit

Monday, April 7, 2014

No Such Thing As A Bully

Order today!
Does your child talk about being treated badly by his peers, and you don’t know what to do? Does the school tell you to make your child stop bullying, and you don’t know how? You’ll find concrete answers inside this book. For years and years we have talked about bullies and victims. We’ve talked about them enough that the words have shaped the lives of many people. It’s time for a whole new framework.

No more will we speak of bullies and victims. No more will we give power to the idea that bullying is inherent in our society, or that “Kids can be cruel”. This new framework throws traditional bullying theory on its head, examining bully actions and victim responses, instead of labelling children. It teaches lessons that help each and every one of us, adult and child, stop ourselves from falling into either category.

Use the information and lessons to learn the information yourself. Use the activities to teach the information to your children. People who communicate well and have developed a strong self-concept, balanced thinking, balanced approaches and empathy for others are less likely to use bully actions or victim responses. It’s simple. All children need the same skills. Children aren’t “bullies” and they don’t need to be “victims”.

They just need to be provided opportunity to learn. All children need the same skills. “It was a pleasure to read your book and see how well you present your valuable ideas and strategies for removing the horrible effects of bullying behavior, victim behavior, and bystander behavior. Your writing is beautiful, clear, passionate, and meaningful. If all parents, children, teachers, and administrators could be exposed to your ideas and methods, we would soon have a safer childhood experience for all our loved ones.” Ralph Kilmann (Thomas Kilmann Conflict Indicator)

 *This book is part of a community wellness system created by Kelly Karius and Dr. Ron Graham, which includes this book for parents, lesson plans and strategies for schools, full community training (Community Immersions) and a website that supports schools, parents and community, an anonymous reporting system through TIPS Awareity and a safety app promoted by aBeanstalk.

For more information about the full system, please see

Order on Amazon today!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Being Good: A Book of Values to Stand For

Being Good is a book to help kids and parents define and discuss the values that are most important to them, and why.

Take a sneak peek on the inside of this book and you will see why it makes a perfect gift for parents and their children.

It offers inspirational and empowering words of encouragement.  It also gives offers a "living space" where you can add your own thoughts.

Today it is nice to have a tangible book - digital is great, but to have your own thoughts, feelings and a book the gives you wisdom is priceless.

Visit Papersalt and learn more about their educational and inspiring books!  They all make great gifts for baskets or on their own!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Words Wound Video Contest

Across the country, schools are looking for solutions to curb the rising problem of online bullying. Justin Patchin, Ph.D., and Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D., the authors of the new cyberbullying prevention resource, Words Wound, think the answer lies in teens themselves. Full of strategies for dealing with online bullying, their book also shares stories from teens who are working to make their schools and communities kinder places.

We believe that teens are uniquely positioned to put an end to cyberbullying. More than parents, teachers, counselors, coaches, and law enforcement—teens have the power and ability to make it cool to respect and care about others.

This is where the Words Wound Video Contest comes in: We want to hear your ideas about how teens can use technology and the Internet to make schools better, safer places for other teens. How can we delete cyberbullying and make kindness go viral?


Create a short video (three minutes or less) responding to this question, “How can teens use technology and the Internet to make schools better, safer places for other teens?” Share efforts that are successful at your school or dream up completely new solutions. Get creative! Perform a slam poem, make a mini-documentary about your school, or act out a scenario using stop motion animation. Your imagination (well, that and your video editing skills. . .) is the only limit.
All entries must be posted on YouTube.  Do not send your video to Free Spirit.  After posting your video, email the link and following information to Submitted videos will be accessible to the public via the Free Spirit YouTube channel. All entries made by students under age 18 must be submitted by a teacher, parent, or guardian.

Contact information should include the following:
  1. The name and email address of the teacher, parent, or guardian submitting the entry.
  2. The name(s) of the student or students that produced the entry.
  3. The name of the school or K–12 academic institution that the student(s) attend.
  4. The link (URL address) to the YouTube video.
The winning entry will receive a $250 cash prize along with a $250 gift certificate for their teacher or school library.
The winning entry will be selected by Free Spirit’s Teen Advisory Council. Entries will be judged based on:
  • Creativity of the solution
  • Perceived effectiveness
  • Quality of the submission—Is it both informative and entertaining?
April 15, 2014: Last day to submit an entry. Submissions close at midnight.
April 30, 2014: A winner will be notified via email and announced on the Free Spirit blog.
Participation in the Contest is subject to the Official Rules, which are available here.

Learn more.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Crumpled: Words Matter

The power of a word is underestimated. 

This is why we, as a society, have to take online harassment seriously.

Bullying doesn't discriminate. No one is immune to cyberbullying. From schools to workplaces to playing fields to cyberspace -- at any age, you can become a victim of vicious keystrokes and harsh words.

Crumpled is the name of a video created by a group of students that are on a mission to Delete Negativity on Social Media with the #iCANHELP Campaign. The video speaks for itself, the message is powerful and one you need to pass on to others.

These students call themselves The Positive Warriors! It started when someone created a fake Facebook page to make fun of a teacher at their school. Instead of retaliating with cruelty, they decided to come back with kindness by spreading positive messages throughout social media and their school.

This crusade has spread through 100 schools in their state of California. Their goal is to go national.

Will it start with you? Talk to your school about it today.

 Join #iCANHELP on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. The movement can start with you locally! To crumple or uncrumple, the choice is yours...

Words matter, keystrokes counts, use them with care.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

@Sophie Takes a #Selfie - Rules & Etiquette For Taking Good Care Before You Share

By J. J. Cannon

“Sophie” symbolizes every young girl, tween and teen (maybe even Mom or Grandma) in possession of a smart device, which the Author likens to a stick of dynamite if used without proper guidance. The whole wide world opens up to Sophie who can now be in constant communication with friends and share anything in an instant on her favorite social media site…but should she?

Sophie loves KiK-ing it and snapping selfies on Instagram but realizes that things can get complicated in a hurry! Why are people leaving mean comments? How come she wasn’t invited to the party she’s seeing pics of in her feed? Why are kids bullying each other with hateful and humiliating words? Sophie is not perfect. She is going to make mistakes but, together, we can try to guide her in a healthy direction.

With her own young daughters in mind, the Author gives us the #SweetSixteen, thoughtfully written “Rules” with a touch of humor, starting with #Keep It Classy. This first rule encourages young people to consider the many alternatives to overused, less than lady-like acronyms. “All of this LMFAO and OMFG-ing is worn out” Cannon writes, and laments the poor letter ‘F’ being needlessly dragged through the mud. The incredibly adorable illustration accompanying this rule is “My Fair Sophie”, a nod to the timeless brilliance of Audrey Hepburn in “My Fair Lady”. #Be Kind, asks readers to refrain from using, liking or sharing hate speak of any kind and includes suggestions about what to do if you see it. #Beware the Over-Share asks young people to think about the kind of digital footprint they want to leave and consider future colleges and/or bosses who will likely Google first and ask questions later.

The overall message throughout the uniquely named, positive reinforcing rules like #Take 5, #Worry Not, #Practice Perception, #Be Queen Bee, #Find Your Balance, #Protect Your Privacy, and the rest is to stop and think before you react to anything online. “@Sophie Takes a #Selfie” is about self-love, self-respect and self-worth.

Sophie learns the proper etiquette for sharing, reposting or tagging photos or artwork without permission, along with the age old, still relevant “if you can’t say something nice…”, and stresses that it is not ever, under any circumstance, necessary to tell someone he or she is ugly. “You should just go kill yourself.” The sad fact is that some kids do.

This book includes some eye-opening social statistics and invites readers to continue the conversation with the Author on the site she has created specifically for this book. She shares current information pertaining to kids and Social Media and, should you find yourself in a sticky social situation, feel free to “Ask Sophie”.

Order today on Amazon.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

It's time to talk about this topic, although many parents and youth think that it can never happen to them.

Talking about it and raising awareness are the first steps to ending it.

3 in 4 parents have never talked to their children about domestic violence.
What are some of the warning signs of a potential abusive relationship?
It can be difficult to tell the difference between a healthy, unhealthy and abusive relationship. While there are many warning signs of abuse, here are ten of the most common to look for:
  1. Checking your cell phone or email without permission.
  2. Constant put-downs.
  3. Extreme jealousy or insecurity.
  4. Explosive temper.
  5. Isolating you from family or friends.
  6. Making false accusations.
  7. Mood swings.
  8. Physically hurting you in any way.
  9. Possessiveness.
  10. Telling you what to do.
It's important to remember that no two relationships are the same and these behaviors occur across what LoveIsRespect call the "Relationship Spectrum."  If you or someone you know sees the warning signs in their relationship, help is available.


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Community Empowerment Series 2014

Our children are our future leaders, we have to empower them.

St. Johns County, Florida is listed as the number one school district in the state of Florida. They are also home to The Community Empowerment Series.

St. Augustine High School, on Saturday March 29th, will be the place to be!

Starting at 9:00am will be National speakers and authors that teachers, parents, students and the entire community will be learning from about topics that are important today.

These topics are:

Bullying, cyberbullying, cyber safety, stranger danger, body image and peer pressure.

This event is FREE to the public!  Online registration is now open!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens

By danah boyd

What is new about how teenagers communicate through services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? Do social media affect the quality of teens’ lives? In this eye-opening book, youth culture and technology expert danah boyd uncovers some of the major myths regarding teens' use of social media. She explores tropes about identity, privacy, safety, danger, and bullying. Ultimately, boyd argues that society fails young people when paternalism and protectionism hinder teenagers’ ability to become informed, thoughtful, and engaged citizens through their online interactions. Yet despite an environment of rampant fear-mongering, boyd finds that teens often find ways to engage and to develop a sense of identity.

Boyd’s conclusions are essential reading not only for parents, teachers, and others who work with teens but also for anyone interested in the impact of emerging technologies on society, culture, and commerce in years to come. Offering insights gleaned from more than a decade of original fieldwork interviewing teenagers across the United States, boyd concludes reassuringly that the kids are all right. At the same time, she acknowledges that coming to terms with life in a networked era is not easy or obvious. In a technologically mediated world, life is bound to be complicated.

Order on Amazon today!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Data Privacy Day 2014

Privacy is a word that is becoming more and more in hot topics today.

Thursday, January 28th, presented by StaySafeOnline is Data Privacy Day. 

Data Privacy Day, encourages everyone to make protecting privacy and data a greater priority. DPD is an effort to empower and educate people to protect their privacy and control their digital footprint. 
Some quick privacy tips from StaySafeOnline for teens and young adults:
Do you own your online presence?Use the safety and security settings on online services and adjust them to your own comfort levels of sharing. Think about how and with whom you share information.Be smart online and keep your reputation in mind.

Are you old enough?Many online services, including social networks sites, require you to be a certain age. Be sure to check before creating a profile. Popular sites like Facebook require you to be 13 or older.  Sites that are for younger people have special requirements about how they handle your information. Don’t lie about your age. For a list of sites for younger people visit

Do you know this person?Be cautious about who you “friend” and communicate with online. Make sure you really know the person. People aren’t always who they say are or what their profile includes. As always, be leery and limit or have no contact with strangers.

Would you want your teacher or grandmother to see it? Things have a way of getting around on the Internet. Just because you send a photo or a message to a friend does not mean they are the only ones who will see it. Think before you send something and make sure to keep your online reputation in mind.

Would you want someone else to do the same to you?Respect others and only post or share something online if you know the other person is comfortable with the content.

If you have a smartphone, are you protecting it?Make sure to secure it with a strong password, understand how the location services work and can be adjusted, and know what personal information your apps use and share.

Would you give a stranger your personal information? Never share personal information online, like your phone number, home address, passwords, full date of birth, class schedule or vacation plans.

Follow Data Privacy Day on Twitter using hashtag #DPD14

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Privacy in the Age of Big Data: Recognizing Threats, Defending Your Rights, and Protecting Your Family

By Theresa Payton and Ted Claypoole

Digital data collection and surveillance gets more pervasive and invasive by the day; but the best ways to protect yourself and your data are all steps you can take yourself. Digital devices make our lives easier, with just-in-time coupons, directions, and connection with loved ones while stuck on an airplane runway. Yet, these devices, though we love them, invade our privacy in ways we might not even be aware of. Our devices send and collect data about us whenever we use them, but that data is not safeguarded the way we assume it would be.

Privacy is complex and personal. Many of us do not know the full extent to which data is collected, stored, aggregated, and used. As recent revelations indicate, we are subject to a level of data collection and surveillance never before imaginable. While some of these methods may, in fact, protect us and provide us with information and services we deem to be helpful and desired, others can turn out to be insidious and over-arching.
Privacy in the Age of Big Data highlights the many positive outcomes of digital surveillance and data collection while also outlining those forms of data collection to which we may not consent, and of which we are likely unaware. Payton and Claypoole skillfully introduce readers to the many ways we are ‘watched,’ and how to adjust our behaviors and activities to recapture our privacy. The authors suggest the tools, behavior changes, and political actions we can take to regain data and identity security. Anyone who uses digital devices will want to read this book for its clear and no-nonsense approach to the world of big data and what it means for all of us.

Order on Amazon today!

Monday, January 13, 2014

All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood

By Jennifer Senior

Thousands of books have examined the effects of parents on their children. In All Joy and No Fun, award-winning journalist Jennifer Senior now asks: what are the effects of children on their parents?

In All Joy and No Fun, award-winning journalist Jennifer Senior tries to tackle this question, isolating and analyzing the many ways in which children reshape their parents' lives, whether it's their marriages, their jobs, their habits, their hobbies, their friendships, or their internal senses of self. She argues that changes in the last half century have radically altered the roles of today's mothers and fathers, making their mandates at once more complex and far less clear.

Recruiting from a wide variety of sources—in history, sociology, economics, psychology, philosophy, and anthropology—she dissects both the timeless strains of parenting and the ones that are brand new, and then brings her research to life in the homes of ordinary parents around the country. The result is an unforgettable series of family portraits, starting with parents of young children and progressing to parents of teens. Through lively and accessible storytelling, Senior follows these mothers and fathers as they wrestle with some of parenthood's deepest vexations—and luxuriate in some of its finest rewards.

Meticulously researched yet imbued with emotional intelligence, All Joy and No Fun makes us reconsider some of our culture's most basic beliefs about parenthood, all while illuminating the profound ways children deepen and add purpose to our lives. By focusing on parenthood, rather than parenting, the book is original and essential reading for mothers and fathers of today—and tomorrow.

Order today on Amazon!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Clean: Overcoming Addiction (Now in Paperback)

By David Sheff

From the bestselling author of Beautiful Boy, David Sheff brings you Clean.

A myth-shattering look at drug abuse and addiction treatment, based on cutting-edge research
Addiction is a preventable, treatable disease, not a moral failing. As with other illnesses, the approaches most likely to work are based on science — not on faith, tradition, contrition, or wishful thinking. These facts are the foundation of Clean.

The existing addiction treatments, including Twelve Step programs and rehabs, have helped some, but they have failed to help many more. To discover why, David Sheff spent time with scores of scientists, doctors, counselors, and addicts and their families, and explored the latest research in psychology, neuroscience, and medicine. In Clean, he reveals how addiction really works, and how we can combat it.

Order on Amazon today.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Stand Tall Against Bullying

Order today!
By Dennis Vanasse

Matthew is one of the bravest eight year old boys you will ever meet. Unfortunately, Matthew is bullied at school; he is called names, spit at, and even has his lunch money taken away by a bully named Bobby. Matthew just wants to feel like he fits in and that he belongs somewhere, just like everyone else.

But Matthew is extremely special and courageous because he never physically fights back; he knows what the right thing to do is, and that's telling people he trusts about being bullied. Matthew's story sends a powerful message to readers,"If we all stand together, bullying will end."

Order on Amazon today!