Bullying II

I’ve been blogging “My World” for quite a while posting my opinions on anything that sparks my interest.  The way my blog works is that my posts move down chronologically as I add new ones.  But there are some subjects that need to be addressed more than once—like Bullying.

I recently received a comment on my 2014 post on bullying:

I want to suggest you share an important guide which came out last week. I found it was very thorough on child safety online”.  (3/13/18)

In response to this comment I am including: the link to this new information on protecting your children from all sorts of internet abuses including cyber-bullying, a great general bullying information link, and a re-post of my original blog on bullying.

I thank Jackie for her comment inspiring this post and promoting child safety online.  Solving the bullying problem has recently taken on more importance since bullying has become part of the conversation in the tragic school shootings and internet abuse.cyberbullying cartoon

We need to unite to eliminate the bullying problem by following the professional strategies outlined in the links above or we can just “frogimize” the bullies (see the video in my post below).

My Blog on Bullying (2014)

There seems to be a lot in the news about bullying. I guess like underage drinking and drugs it is a topic that will never go away. I’m pretty sure it’s been around since caveman days where the guy with the bigger club and smallest brain is harassing the guy who figured out the wheel and got fire going.

There are two types of bullies: the blatant atomic wedgie, get-out-of-my way, totally abusive moron and the rest of us. That’s right, you too. We all seem to go through an insecure need-to-find-weaker-prey stage to elevate our sagging self-esteem. Even if you’re a caring individual you probably unknowingly participate in these feeding frenzies. It usually starts with the back and forth teasing between friends or siblings looking to one up each other and progresses to include innocent victims who are genuinely hurt by these verbal assaults. It isn’t just the taunts that make you a bully; it’s your self-perceived innocent actions. Social events that exclude a few can really hurt if you’re the excluded and being that guy/girl who’s always picked last for dodge ball or is the first easy target sucks. And you brainiacs who are thinking that I’m sympathizing with you have your own bullying techniques of looking down at the average kid struggling with geometry or physics. I’ve been lucky enough to have flown below the bully radar but I’ve done my share of teasing and witnessing teasing and not intervening. The good news is that most of us grow up to see that the bullying thing is FUBAR so we cease and desist. It’s probably a good thing since a lot of the bullied end up being the boss.

The real problem is the hard core bullies who just won’t let up. These guys/gals are relentless at abusing the masses. I’m not sure what satisfaction there could be in picking on innocents who are smaller, different, or just in their way. Many bullies have documented issues that we should be sympathetic to, but what about sympathy for all the victims of their wrath. Nobody, for any reason, is entitled to invade anybody else’s space unless invited and being smaller or less aggressive is not an invitation to abuse.

Middle schools seem to be the launching pads for bullies. I don’t know why but middle school sucks in all ways and in all communities: rich, poor, urban, rural… This is where wedgies and put-downs are perfected. I know the schools have real challenges but it is their responsibility to create a safe non-abusive environment and be accountable if that standard is not maintained. Some seem to put the quality of what’s served in the lunch room above protection of harassed kids. Many of these adolescent terrorists continue to bully as adults. Think about road rage, oppressive bosses and coworkers, and some of our government officials. And now bullies have an even bigger platform with the cyber world. They can be faceless cowards who attack people and humiliate their victims on a grander scale. Even a mild tease is magnified when it is sent out to the world.

It’s always great to see how neighbors and strangers unite during man-made or natural crisis to help victims. Bullying is a crisis and needs the same team effort to eliminate bullies at all levels. I remember the wooden rulers with the golden rule engraved on it -“do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. We have to add to the rule that we will also “defend all against bullies”. We ALL have to make sure we live by that rule and be ready to step in when we witness those wedgies and educate ourselves to recognize and stop bullying without becoming the bully. I googled bully and got over 28 million results so this subject is getting some attention. If you need a starting point for information on bullying:  http://www.stopbullying.gov/ .

The good news is that there are a lot of great programs addressing the bullying problem including the people behind the links above and as my small contribution to the anti-bullying initiative I have created a fantasy anti-bully app: The Bully frogamizer. This makes light of a serious subject but hopefully can put a smile on the faces of those who have been bullied and give them a little vicarious revenge. This app might be fantasy, but anything that can help to address this problem that is subjecting innocents to bully abuse is a good thing.

My 10 Commandments of Voting

I sent an email to my local councilman asking him why he was voting for an issue when 90% of his constituents were against it.  He responded that he felt that once he was elected he was given a mandate to vote his will and not necessarily in line with his constituents–WTF.  I responded that I thought that he should be polling his constituents on major issues and vote their will—of the people by the people.

His trust-me attitude is typical of what’s wrong with our broken system of government where once a candidate takes office he/she abandons us and follows the money becoming a rubber stamp for party and special interests.

All levels of government, local, state, and federal, are dysfunctional and we need new representatives who are willing to change the status quo.  Demonstrations and letters/emails to our officials demanding change are satisfying, but seem to have little effect.  Even the recent school shootings which rallied the majority of America to demand some sort of minimal national gun control failed to overcome the power of big money special interest groups.

The only solution is to VTIO (vote the idiots out).  2018 is an important year and could be a start to taking back our government.  But change only happens if we all vote and not just for the sake of voting.  The reason the dysfunctionals get elected is that we don’t pay attention and most of us don’t vote. For your vote to make a difference you have to show up and be informed especially if you want to “vote the idiots out”. 10 commandments of voting cartoon

Below I’ve put together my 10 commandments of voting that is my plan to put some of the good guys in office.

  1. Encourage young, smart people to run for office and old politicians to retire.  We must create a new election model: “voting for the best of the best” and not “the worst of the worst”.
  2. Support your candidate: financially, by campaigning, and by showing up at the polls.  I am in favor of many small grass roots contributions over large special interest, corrupting donations–BRIBES.
  3. Don’t vote for anyone with “too-good-to-be-true” campaign promises:
    • Free college for all?”
    • I’ll be too busy to play golf?”
  4. Don’t vote for anyone who has served more than three terms
  5. Don’t vote for anyone who attacks their opponent on a personal level.  The only debate should be about issues.
  6. Vote for a populist (a believer in the rights, wisdom, or virtues of the common people). You don’t truly represent me if your vote is dictated by special interest or political party.
  7. Vote for young and smart.  They should control their future instead of old, white, corrupt lawmakers who won’t be around.
  8. Be an informed voter by knowing the platform of both the the person you are voting for and their opponents before you get to the polls.
  9. VOTE and get as many of your friends’, neighbors and relatives out to vote.
  10. Stay involved after the elections and make sure your elected official fulfills campaign promises and votes with their constituents truly representing “the will of the people”.


Smartphone Usage

Key in my passcode, check for notifications, access my 3 email accounts, open Facebook, Instagram, read my newsfeed, twitter (stupid tweets), Nextdoor, LinkedIn, and every five minutes check them all again—addicted!!smartphone cartoon

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of smartphones.  I love getting reminders for friend’s and family’s: birthdays, anniversaries, or special occasions.  Instant news is great, GPS to get from A to B, my credit card notifications rock, great camera, a way to reconnect with friends and family, follow grandkids lives–both victories and TMI, weather and police alerts, and communication from anywhere with text and phone—amazing tech, but there is a downside.

There’s the distracted while driving/walking thing, total rudeness by ignoring those around you, wasting a big slice of your life, depression from constant stream of bad news and stupid tweets, and “like” envy.

The more time we spend staring at our phones, the more negative crap we view.  And we reinforce our right or left views choosing Hannity or Colbert.  I have a diverse group of friends, so I witness the full spectrum of opinions and often follow or participate in one of those no-win political debates which usually end in some of my fact-challenged friends being shredded—OUCH!

The smartphone is an amazing technological tool but staring at that small screen shouldn’t take over your life.  I experimented (cold turkey) with a smartphone diet.

I cleansed myself for a day by limiting my smartphone usage of social media, news, and apps to once in the morning, noon and evening.  It’s a whole lot easier than giving up smoking or cutting back on sugar and at the end of the day my battery was still at 80%.  My diet crashed the next day as I waited in the eye-doctor’s office.  I keyed in my passcode, connected to free WiFi and entertained myself instead of freaking-out about the usual overly-long wait for my examination (another FUBAR subject).

This experiment forced me to look at my beloved iPhone time and I concluded that the associated problems with overusing smartphones are more about the user than the phone and totally restricting use doesn’t work.  You can be one of “those guys” who constantly talks/text when driving, conducts self-important phone business in the middle of a captive airport gate, or doesn’t turn off your phone at a show OR you can come back from the dark side by being a considerate user.

I do waste some time on my phone but overall, I have pretty good phone etiquette.  Accessing my home security cameras when traveling or receiving a text signed with a heart from a grandkid is part of the smartphone magic.  I’ve realized that the reason we’re always on our phones is because they have changed all our lives, mostly for the good, and we just must figure out a balance between obsession and a sensible use of an amazing entertainment, communication, anything-you-need tool.  Just need a “rude” app to turn off some of those “other guys” phones.