Trolling & On Line Bullying

trolling and online bullying

There is something about the internet that can often tap into a dark place. You are virtually connected to millions of people via social media at any given time you log on,  yet it’s easy to feel you are removed or anonymous as your eyes skim endless pages of images and data – you are on the outside, looking in. Often, the instances where we peruse the internet are the times we are alone; perhaps it is in the evening when time frees up; perhaps you are in a different state of mind as the stress of the day or feelings of fatigue or loneliness may creep in.

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Social Media and The Careful Curation of Self

social media and identity

A recent New York Times article highlighted the lives of teen girls as they begin to build a curated social identity around Facebook and other networks. Social media may allow us to take control of the ways in which we want others to perceive us, though it doesn’t necessarily represent how we truly feel about ourselves, nor does it paint an accurate picture of the people in our lives. Is this dangerous, or a necessary way to assert our identity though social “decoration” – our updated baubles and painstakingly perfect selfies holding up the ideal version of our best selves on a good day?

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Love Letters: High School Hierarchy & Finding Your “Lobsters”

Love Letters

‘Love Letters’ is a Petal + Sass blog feature that regularly asks a group of diverse women in their 20’s and 30’s about their experiences with health, sex, emotional wellness, body image, college, careers – and what they wish they had known themselves as teenagers. Visit the Love Letters’ To My Former Self page to learn more about the contributors.

Question posed: What “cliques” existed when you were in high school? Did you belong to one (whether you wanted to be in it or not?) What advice would you give to teens about “popularity” (or conversely, unpopularity) in high school?

Connecting with New People: Sharing Our Stories

meeting new people

What is it that makes a good friend?

Particularly in middle and high school, friends seem to wade in and out of our lives. Often you gravitate toward people with common interests, or perhaps someone who is in two or three of your classes- or maybe on your field hockey team- and you become friends situationally, bonding over a certain project or event. Some friends you can just laugh and have a good time hanging out with; others, you can trust with your deepest secrets.

For some people, finding friends is as easy as getting dressed in the morning. For others, making (and keeping) friends can be a tremendous source of anxiety. Whether you are a person who thrives in social situations or someone who winces every time you have to “find a partner” in science class, we all have a responsibility to get to know each other, even those who you might think you have nothing in common with.

Why get to know each other? What’s the big deal?

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5 Tips for Keeping it Clean in an Era of Over-sharing

One time, at Band Camp...

One time, at Band Camp…

Constructing an on-line identity is powerful tool, both socially and- eventually- professionally. It’s hard to imagine when you open your first facebook or instagram account and post that amazing selfie (the light was perfect) that you are starting a life-long trail of personal images, thoughts and even emojis that will follow you into your 40’s and beyond. The internet is such a commonplace, every day tool for social interaction and research that it’s sometimes hard to fathom that it can also be used against you! Whether you plan to apply to college, a part time job, or to be the future President of the United States or Late Night talk show host, it’s critical to be aware of the persona you are putting out into the word via the web. You will see yourself again someday- frozen in time as a 15 year old. You’re pretty great, but you might not want your 1-D obsession following you to law school.

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Burnbook: New App, Old Concept, Changing Rules.

burn book & cyber bullying

Many high schools across the country are dealing with bullying and fall-outs from the new app, Burnbook. While anything in the latest app-form seems cutting edge, the idea of the “Burn” or “Slam” book has been around for as long as composition note books and pencils (note: even before the movie Mean Girls80’s YA novels dealt a heavy-handed lesson when it came to anonymous bullying.) Burnbook, however- an app that lets users target and attack specific people with name-calling, public shaming, and even violent threats- is slightly different in today’s ever-shrinking, all-too-public world, thanks to the viral capacity of social networking. What was once “name-calling” on the playground has evolved into a tweet or comment that can reach thousands of followers in just minutes, and the results can be long-lasting, deeply damaging, and even deadly.

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