Category: Growing Up

Fight Back Against Bullies with Krav Maga Expert Jarrett Arthur

Are we teaching teens and kids to become a nation of victims that cannot stand up for themselves? That’s one question we posed to Krav Maga instructor Jarrett Arthur, creator of the M.A.M.A. self defense system.

Arthur provides some practical communication tips for dealing with bullies, and also covers some awesome self-defense techniques to use when things go wrong and bullies physically attack. For more info go to http://jarrettarthur.com

Five Surprising Things You Have in Common with Celebrities

The following is a guest post by Mandy Wilkins.

Alright, we admit it: we’re obsessed with celebrities. Whether they’re strutting down the red carpet or gracing the front of magazine covers, we like to follow their every move. But, once we
strip away all their glitter, money, and fame, it turns out that celebrities are just like us. They share our same fears, aspirations, and challenges. Here’s a list of five surprising things you have
in common with your fave A-Listers:

celebrity1. Body Insecurity

How many times have you looked at the cover of a magazine, seeing a celeb in a crop top and tight jeans, wishing you had her body? It may come as a surprise that nearly all celebrities have struggled with the same body insecurity as you do. Even Beyonce doesn’t wake up flawless every single morning.

Demi Lovato admitted back in 2010 that she struggled with anorexia and bulimia because of severe issues with her body image. After years of dealing with her insecurities, she told Seventeen, “I have come to realize that making yourself happy is most important.”

2. Being Rejected­

Has that cute boy in front of you, that so­-called “popular” group, or even the job you wanted, ever completely rejected you? You’re not alone — in fact, it’s happened to seemingly perfect celebrities. A now­-famous television host was fired from her first job as a television reporter because she was “unfit for TV.” I bet Oprah Winfrey is laughing at that Baltimore station today. Even the iconic Marilyn Monroe was told by modeling agencies that she should consider becoming a secretary.

Next time you’re rejected, focus on your strengths, how you can improve, and remember: you could be the next Oprah.

3. Problems Fitting In

­ Whether you’re a self­-proclaimed “geek” or a self-­assured jock, all of us have had insecurities about fitting in. Even Zac Efron claims that “growing up was hell” thanks to his “uncool” interest in musical theater. But, that interest is what landed his gig in High School Musical – and his status as a heartthrob.

Singer Taylor Swift has never fit in with her young musical counterparts; instead of going clubbing or turning to drugs, she has maintained a wholesome image—and several platinum albums.

More often than not, walking to the beat of your own drum is way better than “fitting in.” Who needs to conform?

4. Work/Life Balance Issues

Going to school every single day and then trying to maintain an actual social life is hard enough. Can you imagine having to balance work and life while the paparazzi track your every move?

Yikes.

Some celebs utterly fail in this department, having their personal lives blow up alongside their work (Lindsay Lohan, anyone?) But other celebs, like Angelina Jolie, seem to juggle it all seamlessly. Superwoman somehow manages to have six kids, an amazing acting career, and a commitment to charity.

According to life coach Jasmin Terrany, finding a balance can be done by focusing on what’s important, deep breathing, and leaving some time to relax.

5. Relationship Insecurity

Trying to date a normal human being that makes you feel good about yourself is hard enough – can you imagine trying to do that in front of cameras?

While some celebrities have excelled at finding a normal relationship under the stress of Hollywood (Ben & Jen), others have crashed and burned thanks to disloyalty (Kristen Stewart), lack of mutual respect (Justin & Selena), and who-­the-­heck-­knows-­what (Miley & Liam). But whether we’re making $7 billion a year or $7 an hour at the movie theater, we all want the same thing out of a relationship: someone who understands, appreciates, and supports us.

Mandy Wilkins is a recent graduate from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. She now resides in Atlanta, where she writes about everything from pop culture to children’s literature. This January, she’ll be moving to southeast Asia to teach English

How to Break Up With Mark Zuckerberg (and Other Social Media Stalkers)

Guest Post by Emma Fuller, Omlet

At first, Mark seemed like the perfect guy:  He “shared” regularly, “checked in” often, kept you “fed” with the latest news, and paid attention to what you “liked.”

But before you knew it, Mark began to change:  He invaded your privacy, started keeping tabs on everything you did, he manipulated you, and even gave your secrets away to all of his friends. That’s crazy glue! If a guy did that to you IRL, you would kick him to the curb.

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I thought it would be fun to think about our relationship with Facebook like a relationship with a boyfriend. What makes a good relationship, what makes a bad relationship, and how does Mark measure up? For me, the biggest thing is trust. Can I trust someone with my deepest secrets? Can I trust them not to betray me, and share my most private things with other people?

My relationship status with Facebook (in Mark’s own words): “It’s Complicated.” Why? Deleting Facebook sounds great, but is it really practical? No, I don’t think it is. The problem isn’t just Facebook, it’s us. We’ve chosen to be in this relationship, and to share all our personal info with them. We need to start making better choices when it comes to what we share, and how often we share.

Think of it this way: Would you share your diary with the world? I know I wouldn’t even share it with my best friend. All your data adds up, and even if you think your sharing a little, they know a lot about you. Pandora can tell with 80% accuracy what your political leanings are just off the music you listen to!

So how do you set boundaries between you and Facebook?

>>  STEP #1:  Don’t Wait By the Phone

Turn off mobile notifications so that Mark doesn’t message you throughout the day.  Browse and post on Facebook only when it’s convenient for you.

>>  STEP #2:  Limit your “Liking” habit?

Facebook sells your likes and interests to advertisers so that they can specifically target YOU.  I might see an ad on Facebook that is targeted towards 20-25 year old females who like Buzzfeed and the San Francisco 49er’s. We spend time carefully choosing what to like to make our profiles look good to our friends, but rarely do our friends check over it. Facebook encourages this habit so that they have more information to sell.

>>  STEP #3:  Only Post the Big Stuff

Post a photo or two here and there, say “Happy Birthday” to a friend, RSVP to an event, and then LOG OFF.

>>  STEP #4: Only Trust Yourself with Your Data

There are other options for your more personal conversations, whether they be serious, or you just want to share all those photos from the concert you went to last week with your friends. Options that respect you and don’t sell your data.

For example, there’s Omlet a super fun, easy and social chat app that lets you easily message friends, share photos, post videos, and express yourself without Mark or anyone looking over your shoulder. With Omlet you’re as safe as you can be while still keeping in touch with all your friends. It’s your data, you should be able to control it AND still have a fun conversations with your friends and family.

[Note to teens: this guest post was written by someone from Omlet…we are running it because its kind of cute but it is intended as promo and you should keep that in mind]

Stop Bullying – One Teen’s Story

We reached out to teenage anti-bully crusader Rebecca Parkin, from England, to write a piece for us on her experiences and to talk to a few adults about the subject. Here is her article:


bully stopLiving in a society is very hard for everyone. However sometimes people take being ‘normal’ too seriously and bully or harass those who are different or unique. My mission in life is to make my community and those around me bully-free. Not only do I want to create this positive atmosphere around me; I want to inspire people from all walks of life from all over the world. When I was younger I was always the odd girl out. Everyone fit into these cliques, except me. I was the outsider, the one that didn’t fit in, but stood out.

I spoke to several people about their thoughts on Bullying.

  • David Nicholson, a youth patron for Ambitious about Autism said; “from personal experience, bullying can have a detrimental impact on mental health, confidence and self-esteem. I was bullied at school and it made me lose confidence. I wasn’t happy. Bullying is unacceptable and we need to stamp it out.” David was different from the other pupils at his school and they used that against him. Nobody deserves to get bullied, not now not ever.
  • Claire Ryan, a parent patron for Ambitious about Autism said; “Talk to someone, get help and support as soon as possible. You don’t have to deal with it alone.” I totally agree here, victims of bullying really need to speak out. Never hide what’s happening even if a bully has threatened you if you do tell anybody; the bully is only saying this because they are scared that others will find out what they are doing, and honestly it is very shameful.
  • Eva Firios, a talent agent and actress from Colorado said “It’s really bad here and the parents of the child who is the bully don’t care and they stand up for their child, saying it his or her right to do so.” This was one statement that I found most disheartening. How some parents agree to let their child continue this awful and damaging behaviour is beyond me. Parents need to understand what’s actually happening because of bullying: there’s more suicides, more depression…what happened to loving each other and compassion?
  • Michael Hering, CEO and President of LodoCinema, during a conversation I had with him about bullying, told me, “One of the biggest problems about bullying is that it causes a decrease in the quality of life by both parties. Bullying is an act of hate — plain and simple. I think the issue goes further than the obstruction of a happy healthy mental attitude of the individual getting bullied. The real issue is the culture and society the bully is influenced by. If we can unlock the root causes that create the need to bully, we can begin to make steps towards a better society.” This is true. We need to educate our children to love one another and show compassion. Parents need to take responsibility too,.If a child is being hateful you need to find out why. Have they learnt it from you? Is something negative happening in their lives they need help with? Are they depressed? All things that need investigating.

bully girlsThe people above are doing great things in the world and understand bullying and the effects it causes with not only young people, but adults too.

I was a victim of bullying, I have Autism and I was labelled the “weird” or “strange” girl in school. I may have been different in some ways, but I still wanted the same things from life; love, happiness and compassion. Because of my Autism I found it extremely difficult to socialise with others my age, as my brain worked in a slightly different way from my peers.

During my younger years I constantly moved schools due to lack of understanding from the educators and my peers. I went to five primary schools and I’ve been to two high schools. At my old high school, teachers would mock me in class in front of other pupils who bullied and harassed me outside of the classroom. There were young people who threatened me online and physically beat me up in school because they wanted to ‘show off’ and look good in front of their friends. I had no friends. I had nobody to turn to during these times.

However I had one supportive teacher who I still have to thank today for helping me during those years. I wouldn’t have made it without her. She spoke to the people who were bullying me because my head of year [in Britain, the teacher in charge of all the students in a particular year in school].didn’t do anything. She was like a friend, someone who cared about me. There was a time when I was afraid of being in school, unaware of what could happen. There were days when I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t want to continue fighting.

The other thing that helped me through was my faith in God. I turned to my religion when I needed help. I prayed and prayed and God answered and he guided me through this life and that’s the reason I’m here today. I have to say that Demi Lovato, my idol was also a major contributing factor to the reason I began to fight — the reason I wanted to follow my heart and show that I have a lot to offer and I’m not just that girl who’s kind of weird and different, but I’m a girl who can change, inspire and influence other people’s lives.

I’m very blessed to have the opportunity to say that I finally made it, it took a while but I’m through the other side and I can’t wait to continue on my journey.

I want every single young boy or girl who’s currently a victim of bullying to know that one day you will make your mark on this world and everyone will follow your footsteps, because you’re the ones that stand out, the ones people are envious and curious about. Just believe and let your heart go wild and never ever stop dreaming!


rebecca parkin facebook

I’m 16 years old and I’m an Anti-bullying Activist, I was bullied when I was younger and this is a subject I am very passionate about, I want to help young people understand and realize there is nothing to be ashamed of and things do get better. I’m a Young Journalist for ChildLine, I write their column in First News. I am a Youth Patron for Ambitious About Autism and I represent the charity internally and externally. I am a member of Rotherham’s Youth Cabinet representing young people’s voice in our community.

I do singing, acting and public speaking in my spare time. I love to express myself using the voice I’ve been blessed with.

You can find me on:

Twitter: Twitter.com/RebeccaAParkin
Facebook: Facebook.com/TheRealRebeccaParkin
My Campaign:Facebook.com/BreathingOurOwnThoughts
YouTube:YouTube.com/TheRealRebeccaParkin