National Resilience Month

Unfortunately this month doesn't exist but I wish it did. September is National Suicide Prevention Month but I can't say that I'm a fan. Why?

The social media posts such as #22Kill, school posters, commercials, and TV ad campaigns often leave us feeling more depressed instead of inspired/encouraged.  Have you ever felt that way?  Where is the hope?  Why do we talk about the problem but don't offer a solution?  We are aware that there is a suicide problem.  We don't need awareness.  We need solutions.

Renowned therapist, James Lehman, says that "Less than 20% of suicides are caused by depression. The vast majority are caused by a lack of coping skills." In addition, Freakonomics, a group of experts on the issue of suicide say, "We were able to make a direct correlation between suicide stories published in the media and the rate increasing. In other words, every time a story a suicide published, the rate increases."

So, if sharing tragic stories of suicide causes more suicides, what would make it better? 

My suggestion is to tell students stories of resilience and teach coping skills... 

Tell them about the man with no arms and no legs that goes swimming, fishing, and plays golf.
Meet Nick Vujicic

Share the story of the boy who opens doors who went from a target of bullying to Prom King.
Meet "The Doorman"

Introduce them to the woman called the "Uglilest Girl in the World" and how the experience transformed her life for the better.
Meet Lizzie Velasquez

Please SHARE these videos with your student and on your social media.  Lets flip the script and show our kids that they can BE STRONG!

Raising Resilient Kids & Sharing Hope,
Jeff Veley
www.JeffVeley.com

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Jeff Veley

Jeff Veley is youth speaker, bullying expert, and social skills educator.

His mission is to equip students with the social and emotional skills that empower them to face adversity, grow in resilience, and solve their own social problems by exercising the Golden Rule.

To date, Jeff's message has reached over one million people.  Jeff and his program have been recognized by the Interfaith Peace-Building Initiative of the United Nations and are a recipient of the Golden Rule International Award for effectiveness in teaching conflict resolution.  The United Nations officially recognizes Jeff as a Goodwill Peace Ambassador in over 120 nations of the world.

The Best Mindset to Stop Bullying

The infograph below is one of the most POWERFUL things that I can share with you when it comes to bullying prevention, intervention, and response.

When it comes to bullying, there are two mindsets that you can take.  Your effectiveness in helping young people all depends on WHICH mindset you choose. 

Unfortunately until recently educators have been trained in the Legal Approach.  As you can see, students have suffered because of this.  

Thankfully the "Social and Emotional Learning" movement has changed this!  Today programs (like mine) train students, parents, and educators in the psychological approach.  This approach empowers students to peacefully respond to mean behavior and teaches them how to solve their own social problems.  

If we truly want to empower our students, we need to teach them the skills needed to solve social conflict.  When they learn the power of the Golden Rule to change their relationships, it can truly change their life.

This coming fall I'm traveling the country for teacher in-service training, parent events, and student assembly programs.  Preview the program

If you would like to add your city to my tour, reply to this email.


This infograph was created by Golden Rule School, an organization co-founded by Izzy Kalman, NCSP and national social skills educator Brooks Gibbs.  Jeff Veley served as the organizations National Director.  

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Jeff Veley

Jeff Veley is youth speaker, bullying expert, and social skills educator.

His mission is to equip students with the social and emotional skills that empower them to face adversity, grow in resilience, and solve their own social problems by exercising the Golden Rule.

To date, Jeff's message has reached over one million people.  Jeff and his program have been recognized by the Interfaith Peace-Building Initiative of the United Nations and are a recipient of the Golden Rule International Award for effectiveness in teaching conflict resolution.  The United Nations officially recognizes Jeff as a Goodwill Peace Ambassador in over 120 nations of the world.

Teach Your Teen How to Respond to Cyberbullying

It’s a fact that 75% of teens are cyberbullied.  Only 1 in 10 tell their parents.

Since cyberbullying is something that most teens encounter, it’s important that we prepare them to deal with difficult, hurtful, and hateful people online.  

Here are some tips from youth speaker and bullying expert Jeff Veley on how you can best prepare your child for what they may encounter online.

  1. Ask yourself if it is more/less beneficial for your teen to have a certain social media account. Don't cave because “it's the cool thing to do".  Make sure that your decision is rooted in your child's best interest.

  2. Have a conversation about your expectations online and write a contract together... What's appropriate?  What isn't?  What's an acceptable amount of time online?  Can your child connect with someone they haven't met in person or someone that you don't know?  Writing a social media contract together insures that both you and your teen are clear on expectations. 

  3. Engage in ongoing supervision of these accounts.  Remember that your teen may have accounts that are not visible to you.  They may also add additional accounts/apps on their computer or smart phone over time, so it’s important to check back frequently.  You may find it helpful to use a parental supervision program like “Truth Locker” or “Zabra”  to help you monitor your teens’ online conversations and texts.

  4. Prepare a response to cyberbullying before it happens.  Create some scenarios with your teen and rehearse appropriate responses  with them.  The best way to respond to someone that is being difficult, hurtful, or hateful online is to stay calm and be kind to that person.  The person that is bullying wants your teen to get upset and react like a victim.  If they don’t get upset the bully often loses interest and moves on.  Responding with unkind words or embarrassing the aggressor only fuels their anger and escalates the situation.  Instead of responding with hate, teach your teen to respond in love by staying calm and treating the other person like a friend.  They will quickly see that it takes away the aggressors’ power and makes it more likely that others will step up and tell the bully to stop. 

  5. Use inappropriate posts as conversation starters with your teen about the consequences making poor choices online.  Every post contains a teachable moment.  Most of all, don’t overreact when you see something inappropriate!  Staying calm will help your teen feel more comfortable coming to you in the future.  Cyberbullying is an incredible opportunity for you to teach your teen how to respond to negative people/comments using your family values.  In addition, it presents a unique moment for your teen to practice appropriate social skills and build resiliency.  Help them form their response and coach them through the situation.

  6. While it's best to respond in love (using the Golden Rule) in most situations, there are also times that teens must set a clear boundary and make a report, especially if someone is in danger or being threatened.  Often teens feel guilty if they "unfriend", "block", or "report" someone online because they are afraid of the backlash that could happen when they set a boundary.  Make sure that they understand that it isn't rude to set a boundary with someone that repeatedly mistreats them.  This will help your child know that they have the right to set standards in relationships regarding how they are treated and who they are willing to interact with. 
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Jeff Veley

Jeff Veley is youth speaker, bullying expert, and social skills educator.

His mission is to equip students with the social and emotional skills that empower them to face adversity, grow in resilience, and solve their own social problems by exercising the Golden Rule.

To date, Jeff's message has reached over one million people.  Jeff and his program have been recognized by the Interfaith Peace-Building Initiative of the United Nations and are a recipient of the Golden Rule International Award for effectiveness in teaching conflict resolution.  The United Nations officially recognizes Jeff as a Goodwill Peace Ambassador in over 120 nations of the world.

The Bullycide Myth... Misleading Teens to Kill Themselves

Bullying and suicide are two issues that have become all too common for teens living in today's culture. This year alone, 18 million young people will be bullied in America where suicide is the third leading cause of death among teens. With awareness rising, a new term was coined in 2001; "bullycide". "Bullycide" is defined as suicide attributable to the victim having been bullied, either in person or via social media.

As a bullying prevention specialist, I recently sat down to coach a teen that I'll call Melissa. Melissa shared with me her story of being bullied at school and ended by saying, "If it doesn't stop, I'll have to kill myself!" Her reference to suicide was concerning but what really caught my attention was her use of the words "have to". After all, what would cause a 13-year-old girl to think that she "had to" kill herself? She answered this question by saying, "That's just what kids do when the bullies don't stop."

As the young girl began to share "bullycide" stories from TV and YouTube, it hit me... Melissa's statement showed me that our verbal engineering of the word "bullycide" had some clear consequences.

  1. Use of the word "bullycide" had created the idea in the minds of teens (and adults) that there was a direct link between bullying and suicide. Bullying was now believed to be a main cause of suicide, although this is untrue.

  2. The media's frequent coverage of "bullycide" stories had caused social-norming. It appeared to teens that committing suicide as a result of being bullied was normal, or at least a common response.

Although the media often links bullying with suicide, StopBullying.gov reports that "Most youth who are bullied do not have thoughts of suicide or engage in suicidal behaviors". While bullied children are identified as being at-risk for suicide, many other contributing factors such as mental health, an unhealthy home environment, and previous trauma should be taken into consideration.

Furthermore, it's often believed that the root cause of suicide is depression. This certainly seems to make sense, but nationally-known child behavioral therapist James Lehman shares that "Only about 20% of teen suicides are caused by depression. The vast majority are actually caused by a lack of coping skills."

In talking with Melissa, Mr. Lehman's words really made sense. She described suicide as something a teen might do when they are at their wits end and out of other options. If we truly want to reduce teen suicide, we need to eliminate the term "bullycide" from our vocabulary. Most importantly though, we must equip our young people with healthy coping skills and encourage them to reach out to caring adults.

If you are a parent or educator, consider bringing a bullying prevention program or youth motivational speaker that teaches coping skills to your community.

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Jeff Veley

Jeff Veley is youth speaker, bullying expert, and social skills educator.

His mission is to equip students with the social and emotional skills that empower them to face adversity, grow in resilience, and solve their own social problems by exercising the Golden Rule.

To date, Jeff's message has reached over one million people.  Jeff and his program have been recognized by the Interfaith Peace-Building Initiative of the United Nations and are a recipient of the Golden Rule International Award for effectiveness in teaching conflict resolution.  The United Nations officially recognizes Jeff as a Goodwill Peace Ambassador in over 120 nations of the world.

Dangerous Apps for Teens

1. KiK Messanger

Kik is growing in it's popularity with teens.  It allows users to send video and picture messages that cannot be seen by parents.  In addition it is extremely difficult to find the personal identity of a user on Kik, which creates a high sense of security for child predators.  Kik is a preferred app for sexting as it leaves little trail.  Want to know if your child has a Kik account?  You may find a clue by checking their Facebook or Instagram.

2. SnapChat

SnapChat seems very "safe" to teens because they think that once a picture (known as a "Snap") is sent, the message "disappears".  Unfortunately Snaps can easily be saved by the reciever (especially by taking a screenshot) and can remain online forever.  SnapChat is known as a common app for sexting as the evidence seems to disappear in a ... snap.

3. Ask.fm

Ask.fm allows users all over the world to ask questions on the user's profile and, if they choose, remain anonymous.  The site is known as a platform for crude language, sexually explicit text, and cyberbullying.  In the media, Ask.fm has been widely criticized for it's involvement in a number of teen suicide cases.  

4. Whisper

Known as a hub for people to share their confessions, Whisper encourages teens to share secrets.  While users remain anonymous, a GPS feature displays to other users the geographic region that you are posting from.  Online relationships have formed over this app which have led to teens being contacted by adults and sexually assaulted.

5. Omegle

Their tagline is "Talk to Strangers" and this happens via text and live webcam video, often containing sexual content and nudity.  Within one click. a user can enter the chatroom.  Once inside they can be exposed to pedophiles who commonly troll the site in search of kids to prey upon.  Many will try to get the underage user to contact them through an app like Kik so that their identity cannot easily be discovered.  Many teens and even younger children use the website regularly.

6. Tinder

Tinder, a dating app has quickly grown a reputation for being a "hook-up" or "one night stand" app.  It connects people by suggesting other users nearby.  Each user can then choose whether or not they are interested in the other person by viewing their profile picture and clicking on a green heart or red "X".  The communication is anonymous until both people have shown interest, then both can message each other.  Tinder says that their product is appropriate for "12+ due to Infrequent/Mild Sexual Content or Nudity; Infrequent/Mild Profanity or Crude Humor; Infrequent/Mild Mature/Suggestive Themes." This is surely one you will want to block.

Parental Tools

You can help keep your kids safe by installing cyber monitoring software on their devices.  Here's one to consider...
Zabra

* These tips are brought to you by Jeff Veley.  Neither Jeff Veley nor Where You Going Productions, LLC endorse any website and/or software product referred to in this article. 

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Jeff Veley

Jeff Veley is youth speaker, bullying expert, and social skills educator.

His mission is to equip students with the social and emotional skills that empower them to face adversity, grow in resilience, and solve their own social problems by exercising the Golden Rule.

To date, Jeff's message has reached over one million people.  Jeff and his program have been recognized by the Interfaith Peace-Building Initiative of the United Nations and are a recipient of the Golden Rule International Award for effectiveness in teaching conflict resolution.  The United Nations officially recognizes Jeff as a Goodwill Peace Ambassador in over 120 nations of the world.