February 24, 2010

Twitter Warnings - Cyber Safety for Youth

Twitter is a great networking tool. It truly creates a global conversation, where anyone can provide and receive advice and input from others around the globe. However, there are some dangers with Twitter.  There are three specific warnings for everyone entering the Twitter conversation:

- Shortened URLs. Each Tweet must be no longer than 140 characters.  If people need to send a links to something on the web and their web addresses are too long, leaving no space for actual tweet, they use of URL-shortening sites. These sites act as a proxy for the "real" site, but with a much shorter name. The name itself has nothing to do with the actual content.
The danger here is that we have no indication of where we are being taken, other than the text of the tweet. Clicking on the link could result in pornography, phishing schemes, malware or any other unseemly or dangerous site. As with email, be very wary of clicking on links in Tweets that are from people you don't know well.

- Twitter Spammers. Twitter makes it easy for those who many have similar interests to find you and follow your tweets.  You post some tweets, and those who like what you are saying will find you and follow you. You don't seek out followers - they naturally find you based on what you are discussing.
There are many, however, who turn this paradigm on its head. They follow anyone and everyone - not because they want to receive updates from these people, but because they want to make these people aware of their existence. Since Twitter includes images with each Tweet, many of these Twitter spammers will use pornographic images  - thus spamming you with an image that you neither requested nor sought out.

The best we can do is to use the Twitter "block" feature, and block them from following us. Unfortunately, that means we need to:1. Know about them. 2. Know what they represent, and 3. Decide we don't want their influence on our Twitter page.4. Specifically "block" them from following us.

-Relationship of trust. Every con artist will first attempt to build a relationship of trust before scamming you. A common problem with all social networks is the relationship of trust that in inherent in these networks. If a scammer can leverage that existing relationship, it makes their job much easier.
Remember that at any time anyone can have their account compromises - it only takes someone discovering the username/password combination and they can start posting as if they were that individual. If any of your online friends ask for personal information, be wary of providing it online. Their account could have been compromised, and you may be handing your information over to a complete stranger.

Don't let these warnings prevent you from entering the global conversation, but when you do decide to join in , please do so with your eyes open to the dangers, and be vigilant in protecting your digital footprint. Be sure you are not associating with those that would do harm to your online reputation.

by Ken Knapton, author "Suber Safety"
Our Anti-bullying programs with supporting materials address bullying issues in Primary and  High Schools including cyber bullying:
Please check our Schools Programs Page or call us for more information on 02 9542 4029.

February 5, 2010

A Happiness Is Relative To What?

Real life women share their own experiences and thoughts about A Woman's Happiness Is Relative To What?

Sometimes it only takes a minute to create happiness. One thing that I've found that makes me happy is to make my bed on a daily basis. I've resisted this for years and just recently embarked on a major decluttering of the home I've lived in for 25 years. Although that did make me happy, it is the one minute it takes to make my bed that I see throughout the day that reminds me that I'm worth the effort.
My happiness thought of the week? A major happiness blocker is expectations, especially when manifested as entitlement. Especially a sense of entitlement that leaves you feeling wronged by the universe not giving you something. So I'm trying to become more aware of those these days. Awareness is the cornerstone. Have you tried a full on meditation retreat yet? There is no such thing as "being" happy. Save for brief, transitory reactions to events in our lives that give us pleasure. Except, perhaps, for retarded people.
For me happiness is a practice. Not of something I feel but of who I am. It's got nothing to do with being upset, angry, or having things going my way. As long as I hold on to the knowing that my life is perfect just the way it is, with its ups and its downs, I remain happy. Steadfastly happy even in deep sorrow.
It has been my experience that happiness , like so many other things in life, is a choice. We choose to be happy, just as we choose to love. These things are not emotional feelings. They are perspectives and actions. They are independent of circumstances, social status, monetary situations, geographic location etc. It cannot be found in a person, fame, a job, a hobby, a bottle, or a billfold. If you chase it, it will always be just out of reach. Happiness is found between our ears. It is a state of mind; an attitude. It is a way of seeing the world around us. It's the way we choose to see and interact with the world around. It is a choice. But, hey, that may just be me; what do I know.
So many of the happy people I know -- especially those who have faced big happiness challenges -- say exactly the same thing: happiness is a choice.
I think the problem is that for many people, it's hard to understand how to"choose happiness" in everyday life. Even if they want to, it's hard tofigure out how to put that into action. I know it's hard for me. I have trouble with aims that are abstract, like "be more optimistic," "find more joy," "enjoy the present," and "choose happiness." That's why I focus on smaller, very concrete, actions. They lead me to the same result, but easier for me to take steps.
My happiness project began three months ago. After years of battling to save my daughter from spending half of her time with a molesting father, I was broken inside. So unhappy, my teeth were ground down to broken. So broke I was nearly bankrupt. And one day, tearfully, I told myself, "I'm going to be happy anyway." I did not know how. It did not mean I was going to quit trying to save my daughter. But it did mean that I was committed to happiness. You see, it's hard to believe you deserve any happiness if something terrible is happening to one of your children.
Well, I can't say the experiment is over. But my mantra is the same. "I'm going to be happy anyway." And sometimes, more often than if I hadn't, it is working. I hope that the little bit of extra light in me will light the way for my children, and that it can continue to grow. So that they can heal and be happy, too.

February 3, 2010

The Caregiving Years

When you expect a child, the community (your family, friends, co-workers) rally around you and your spouse. When you expect your first child, you receive gifts, well wishes and the encouragement that you are entering a wonderful, albeit challenging, chapter in your life. As you prepare to welcome your child, you feel pride at the thought of your role as parent: How you will shape the mind of a youngster, impacting him or her with your wisdom, insights and knowledge.

Now think about a similar life experience, just one on the other end of the spectrum. An aging relative, a spouse, a parent, a grandparent, needs your help. And, you want to help–you believe in making the most of the years you have left together. But, when you tell your friends, your colleagues, even other family members, the comments you may hear are a far cry from well-wishes. “I could never do that! Why do you?” Or, the more common response: “Why don’t you just put your mother (or your wife, or your grandfather) in a nursing home? That way you won’t be so stressed out.”
With support like that, no wonder you might find yourself fighting self-doubts during your caregiving journey, asking yourself, “Why me? Why am I the one to do this?” These self-doubts can erode your ability to handle your caregiving responsibilities effectively and efficiently. Even worse, these self-doubts cloud your ability to understand how important this caregiving journey is–to your care recipient, your family, yourself.
Which is why I’ve developed The Caregiving Years: Six Stages To A Meaningful Experience. Much like books for expecting parents, The Caregiving Years describes what to expect throughout the journey. By having information about your role as caregiver–you understand what information to gather and the actions to take–you can spend more time making this experience meaningful, for your care recipient, your family, yourself.
The Caregiving Years is separated into six stages; you’ll find a keyword, purpose and action plan for each stage. Your care recipient’s illness and diagnosis will determine how quickly or slowly you pass through the stages. While the length of time spent in each stage may differ for each caregiver, the emotions and experiences will remain constant.
~ Stage 1 – The Expectant Caregiver ~
~ Stage 2 – The Freshman Caregiver ~
~ Stage 3 – The Entrenched Caregiver ~
~ Stage 4 – The Pragmatic Caregiver ~
~ Stage 5 – The Transitioning Caregiver
~ Stage 6 – The Godspeed Caregiver ~
Enough is Enough thanks for this article www.caregiving.com.

Enough is Enough starts a Vicarious Trauma Support Group for caregivers of children or adults who have a disability, mental health problem, chronic condition or who are frail and aged. Find more information here