Can we stop cyber bullying using parental control apps?

Today’s guest post is from  Paula G.  She participates in a volunteer action against cyber bullying. You can reach her at her Twitter or Google+ profile.  

 Our increasingly connected world created a new platform for bullies to harass our children. This type of bullying is called cyber bullying. It is pretty much the same as the traditional bullying most of us experienced at school. But this type is even more radical: children no longer use physical assaults or pick on other kids at school–now they have social media, emails and text messages. Although you won’t find bruises or scars on your child’s body it certainly doesn’t mean that he/she is not affected. Below, we listed top facts, statistics and ways to prevent cyber bullying.
  •         Over 60% of teens report to experience cyber bullying.
  •          33% of bullying victims report they received text messages with threats.
  •         95 percent of children admit to witness cyberbullying and ignored it.
  •          80% of children agree that online bullying is easier to get away with than traditional bullying.
  •          Only 2 in 10 victims will inform their parents about online threats they receive.
  •          Girls are about twice as likely to get bullied online.
  •          Cyber bullying victims are 3-9 times more likely to think about committing suicide.

Cyber bullying is said to have more radical aspects than traditional bullying due to the so-called “invisibility factor.” As children don’t have face to face contact, they don’t get the feedback, which increases their brutality.
Online bullying occurs through the use of phones, smartphone, iPads, iPods, computers. It can be done through social media websites, emailing, text messages, instant messages and pictures.
Here are several suggestions to prevent cyber bullying:
  •         First and most important is to talk to your child directly and ask him/her about cyber bullying: what does your child know about this problem, has he/she ever witnessed, participated or experienced cyber bullying.
  •          Reassure that the victims have no fault in being the harassed target.
  •          You can also plead to teenage pop stars like Taylor Swift, Luis Tomlinson, Russell Brand and others active celebrities who stand against cyber bullying.

The last but not the least thing you should do is to monitor your child’s online activity. Chances are most kids won’t admit they have been bullied to avoid embarrassment. SMS monitoring apps allows you to track your child’s internet usage, monitor social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, instant messages (Skype, Viber, WhatsApp) etc. In addition, you can monitor all incoming, outgoing and deleted messages, view call logs and real-time GPS location.
As parents, we must stay informed and involved in order to protect our children from the painful and sometimes deadly effects of cyber bullying. 

Men of Honor–Avoiding a Life Lesser Lived

My good friend, Tony Rorie, is the founder of a program called Men of Honor in Dallas, Texas. Men of Honor exists to make passionate followers of Christ by mentoring and training next generation leaders ages eleven to seventeen in the principles of chivalry, honor, integrity, moral excellence, and courageous leadership. They use a three-pronged strategy of life-changing camps, conferences, and curriculum. The camps are weekend encounters where youth go through rites of passage, leadership development exercises, and powerful encounters with the Holy Spirit. The most important is the Father’s Blessing which is imparted by older male mentors to mostly fatherless youth. Camp graduates are then connected to weekly curriculum-based mentoring groups where they are taken through Dr. Ed Cole’s “Majoring in Men” curriculum and taught that manhood and Christlikeness are synonymous. They believe being a male is a matter of birth, being a man is a matter of choice. Tony gave this powerful speech at a recent graduation:
“When this generation was born, there were three parties present: The Lord was there to name them according to their purpose. He named them Victorious Warrior, Mighty Deliverer, Faithful Servant, Overcomer, Light in the Darkness. Next their parent or, if they were fortunate, parents, named them: Dalton, Daniel, James, Lauren, Jordan. Then the enemy named them: Drug-Addict, Pornographer, Suicide Victim, AIDS Patient.

This generation will fulfill two of those three names in their lifetime—which will it be? Thirty-six percent of this generation woke up this morning without their dad in the home. Whoever captures the heart of the next generation will name that generation. Modern marketers have begun their plans long ago. The enemy has begun his plans . . . to kill, steal, and destroy. These forces will spare no expense to see their plans come to reality.

NEITHER WILL WE! We will spare no expense to see the plans of the Lord come to light in the hearts of young people. They are created in the image of God and bear His image. They are world changers, Kingdom builders—mighty servants of the Kings of Kings!

Join us in our pursuit of this generation. Pray for Men of Honor as we establish life-changing opportunities for young people to hear the Good News of life through Jesus Christ, see their purpose and potential as world-changers, and stand up in their generation as leaders!”

What a mighty, manly legacy to pass on to a group of boys entering manhood. All males, no matter their age, yearn for significance in their lives. They yearn for a battle to fight that means something. Young men run to the battlefield, not because they want to kill or be killed, but because they want to participate in a battle bigger than themselves—one that matters. They want the world to know they existed. God created them this way to make the world safe and healthy.

When we teach our sons the nobility of using the awesome masculine power that God gave us to help others, we give him the ability to define his life—we channel that natural competitiveness, aggressive nature, and yearning for significance that God gave him into healthy, life-giving outlets. The world has many battles that need to be fought by a group of men and boys banding together. Things like poverty, child and domestic abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, illiteracy, sexual slavery and human trafficking, fatherlessness, and violent behavior. Just like men of lore were adventurers of wild continents, explorers of untamed lands, and conquerors of the unconquerable, we need to give our young men today adventures with noble causes to live their lives for. But without a vision to inspire them many boys settle for a life lesser lived.

Find out more about Men of Honor here: www.honorministries.org

Relationship Wounds–The Great Destroyer

The average person is prone to bring past relationship wounds into their current relationships.  These are particularly destructive because our current partner has no idea what you are talking about or where you are coming from.  So for instance, if a past spouse cheated on you, we often distrust all future spouses.  It’s important to remember that the person we are currently with did not perform the act (or said the words) that wounded us.  Much like our criminal justice system, that person should be considered innocent until proven guilty—they should be given the benefit of the doubt.  Likewise when a person has been wounded by a mother or father while growing up, it is difficult to not reflect that behavior upon on future relationships. 
When you are in a dysfunctional or abusive relationship, fear makes you believe that the next one may be worse, that you may be hurt more and loved less.  Those are false voices based on your wounds and the evil ones who wish to see you tortured.
People who have past relationship wounds are often dependent for their happiness on the happiness of their partner.  They receive validation and contentment by how their spouse treats them or the attitude they display.  This dependency makes it very difficult for either spouse to maintain a healthy attitude. 
But partners who aren’t dependent upon the validation of the other can remain intimate even during times of stress and conflict.  They use each others’ strengths to fuel their relationship instead of allowing their weaknesses to destroy it.  When we allow another person to validate our worth, we give them the control to manipulate our lives. 
Unfortunately, the more emotionally unhealthy a person is the more apt they are to engage in highly dependent relationships.  Because these people don’t handle anxiety well (they aren’t able to comfort themselves), every time their partner becomes upset, they do as well.  And since they are dependent upon their partner for reinforcement, they then spend vast amounts of energy trying to control their partner and the relationship in order to get control of themselves.  That’s a lot of emotional energy getting expended in a generally frustrating and often fruitless cause.  In the alcoholic home I grew up in, whenever my mother got upset, everyone paid for it.  So we each either left the house or spent much of our time and energy trying to make sure she was happy, contented, and anxiety free.  But it was a no-win battle.  She continued to negatively control and manipulate things regardless of what herculean efforts we performed. 
At some point a person gets tired of this game and either individually grows and learns to self-validate ourselves, or leaves the situation–often repeating it in another scenario (like a second marriage).  It’s one of the reasons why second marriages have an even higher failure rate than first marriages.
If you’ve recently been in an unhealthy relationship, give yourself time to heal before getting involved in another one.  Find professional counseling if needed to heal childhood wounds.  Otherwise you’re prone to making the same mistakes all over again or making a poor decision in the choice of a partner.

Excerpted from Rick’s new book, Romancing Your Better Half, by Revell Publishing.  To find out more or to purchase a copy go to: www.betterdads.net 


10 TIPS FOR DADS RAISING SONS

• YOU are the biggest influence in your son’s life—you are almost indispensable.
• Fathers have been endowed with a huge generational power/influence to impact their children’s lives for good or evil (sometimes for hundreds of years) just by the things they do and don’t do or say or don’t say today.
• Boys learn how to be a man, a husband, and a father by observing male role models (good or bad ones).  Be their role model.
• Boys learn self-respect and respect of others by being respected by their fathers and the respect they see him give others.

• Character traits like nobility and honor are passed directly from father to son.
• Men and boys long to live lives of significance—they hunger for adventure.
• Your sons (and daughters) may be the only people in the world who want to love and respect you without your having to earn it first.
• You need to resolve any issues between you and your father, before you can grow to become the kind of father you want to be and that your children deserve.  If not, it’s very difficult to break negative generational cycles from being passed along to your son.
• The greatest gift a man can give his children is to love their mother.
• Teach your son (or daughter) self-discipline by holding him accountable for his actions and decisions.
Find out more by purchasing Rick’s book, Better Dads—Stronger Sons: How fathers can guide boys to become men of character, by Revell Publishing.  For more information go to www.betterdads.net

from the founder of BetterDads.net: 10 TIPS FOR MOMS ON RAISING BOYS

from the founder of BetterDads.net: 10 TIPS FOR MOMS ON RAISING BOYS: • Boys need clear, CONSISTENT, unambiguous boundaries. • Boys need to be held accountable for their actions and decisions (no matter how…

10 TIPS FOR MOMS ON RAISING BOYS

• Boys need clear, CONSISTENT, unambiguous boundaries.
• Boys need to be held accountable for their actions and decisions (no matter how much you want to, do not rescue them very often).
• Boys need to learn the correlation between taking risks and success in life—let them get hurt and let him fail.  Males learn best through their failures.  They also develop healthy self-esteem by trying, failing, and persevering to success.
• Boys need to not acquire the habit of quitting early in life (quitting is an easily learned life-long habit for males—again do not rescue too often).
• Boys need (must have) positive male role models in their lives.
• Speak to your son in simple, short sound bite-sized sentences (get to the point within 30 seconds).
• If you need to discuss something in depth, take a hike, shoot hoops, or other physical activity with your son.  Males process information and emotions more easily through physical activity.
• Women have much better communication skills than a boy.  It is intimidating to sit across the table, eye to eye from someone so much more skilled in an area than he is.
• Start discussing sexuality early in your son’s life—it will be easier later on.
• If you are a single mom, don’t be discouraged–millions of good men have been raised by just their mothers.
Bonus tip—best thing a mother can do for her son?  Pray.  For.  Him.

To find out more about Rick’s bestselling book, That’s My Son—How Moms Can Influence Boys to Become Men of Character, by Revell Publishing, go to www.betterdads.net .

10 Tips for Communicating with Women

   Earlier we discuss how to effectively communicate with the male species.  Here are some tips for communicating with the fairer and more complicated sex:

·         A man’s words–both verbal & written–are very powerful to his wife (and daughters).  Notes, cards, and poems (especially if they don’t rhythm) are very powerful forms of communication for women (yes they believe the words on the Hallmark cards you give them).
·         Males typically do not place as much importance on words as females do.  Be aware of the power of your words.  Use words she needs to hear every day like, “I love you” and “You are beautiful.”
·         Females often believe a man’s words even over his actions.  Let your actions speak louder than your words anyway.
·         A man’s anger is very frightening to his wife.  While men frequently blow off steam and then forget about what they said, most women take the words spoken to them very seriously.
·         Your wife craves your undivided attention.  This spells love to her.  Focus on listening to her without being pre-occupied.
·         Listen twice as much as you talk.
·         Understand that females process problems, emotions, and develop intimacy through verbal communication.  Males typically do those things through physical activity.  Listening to her shows her you love her. 
·         Resist the urge to solve her problems—she probably just wants you to listen!
·         Acknowledge her feelings—they are real to her.  Females are emotionally-based human beings.  Her emotions are her reality.  Acknowledge them as important.
·         Be a man of character.  Nothing speaks louder to a woman than a man who lives by honorable principles.

10 Tips for Communicating with Men

·         GIVE HIM SPACE–One strategy that works well with men is to tell them something you want their feedback on and then ask them to think about it for a day before answering. It takes men time to process information—especially emotions. 
·         SIMPLIFY–Learn to simplify the conversation. If you talk to your man like you do your girlfriends he will just stop listening. Men have about a 30 second attention span. If you don’t get to the point by then their mind will start looking for other problems to solve.
·         ONE TOPIC AT A TIME PLEASE–Stick to one topic at a time and let a man know when you’re changing topics. Letting a man know when you are changing topics allows him to shut off the problem solving mode and be open to the new topic.
·         BE CONSISTENT–Consistency is very important when communicating with men. Men generally cannot process more than one thing at a time.
·         LEARN HIS LANGUAGE–Men are much more literal in their conversations than women. When he asks you what is wrong and you say, “Nothing” he will likely take you at your word.
·         GIVE HIM A PROBLEM TO SOLVE–Men love to problem-solve. Rather than nagging him about an issue that’s troubling you, say something like, “Honey, I have a problem that I’d really like to get your help with.”
·         GET PHYSICAL–Since men are action-oriented, go for a walk or hiking, play a round of golf, or even drive on a deserted highway together (so he’s not distracted by traffic) when you want to talk with your man.
·         TIMING IS EVERYTHING–If you bombard him with complaints the minute he walks in the door from a hard day at work, he’s not likely to be willing to listen. Oftentimes, giving him a half-hour to change clothes and decompress will do the trick.
·         FIGHT FAIR–Men and women argue differently. You cannot take to heart much of what a man verbalizes when he is upset. He doesn’t think about what comes out of his mouth, especially in the heat of the moment. Unfortunately for men, women do.

·         SPEAK PLAINLY–Remind him often that you just need to be heard, you are not looking for a solution. Tell him that at the beginning of the discussion so that he can switch off his “problem-solving” mode.

The “Zone” of Marriage

Being married is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves. A large body of research confirms that married couples are happier, they live longer, they are healthier, they are better off financially, and they have fewer psychological problems than people who are not married. Americans also highly value marriage—when surveyed, people consistently rate a good marriage and having a happy, healthy family as their most important goals.
So if marriage is so good for people and society, why can about half of current marriages expect to end in divorce? Why are young people increasingly reluctant to marry—they yearn for a lifelong loving relationship but are skeptical of its possibility? Why are about 40 percent of children born out of wedlock and likely will not have a marriage relationship modeled for them? These children are significantly more inclined than kids born and raised in a “traditional” family to have children out of wedlock themselves.Are we seeing the results of the disintegration of marriage in our culture today? If so, how do we erase the decline and help people understand the value of a good marriage?
Just like laying a stable and solid foundation is the key to building a house that lasts, building a solid foundation for our relationship is one of the important keys for a marriage that lasts.The structure of that foundation is a relationship based on healthy intimacy, which in turn creates an environment where couples can grow together long enough for a deep and nurturing love to take place.
The truth is that love and marriage are difficult. When Hollywood and Madison Avenue sugarcoats them and makes romance seem like a walk in the park, they do a great disservice in creating unrealistic expectations for millions of young couples.
Loving a woman is, on the one hand, very easy. On the other, it is very difficult—sometimes nearly impossible. Frequently it doesn’t take much to make a woman happy—a kind word, an unexpected expression of love, or a romantic gesture with no expectations. Other times, no matter what a man does, it is never enough. Likewise, women probably find men perplexing as well (although nowhere near as complicated).
Most men, if they are lucky, marry “up.” They value their wives as a greater “prize” than they deserve. My wife is a better wife than I am a husband. She’s certainly a better person than I am, and if I’m being honest, she’s likely a more mature Christian as well. Not only that, but she probably rates higher on most of the positive character traits than I do. She’s more compassionate, tolerant, patient, loving, kind, gentle, caring, and humble than I am. She might even be more honest, faithful, loyal, and good than I am (okay, maybe more intelligent as well).  I’m a lot stronger physically than she is, but that might be the only advantage I’ve got on her. (This works well for my main roles around the house as jar opener, garbage remover, bug killer, and heavy furniture mover.)
I’ve noticed that there are times in life when everything just seems to go right. I have experienced these phenomena in sports, in business, and in relationships. For brief periods of time nothing you do can go wrong. In sports they call it being in the “zone.” Every basket you shoot goes in, every baseball coming toward the batter’s box looks as big as a beach ball, and every pass you throw is perfect. You feel “at one” with the field or court, your teammates, and the flow of the game. In business there are usually short periods times when every decision pays off. You feel like King Midas—everything you touch turns to gold.
And there are times in a relationship when things go perfectly—when you are in the zone. When she gets and actually appreciates all my jokes (instead of getting offended), when I am able to artfully articulate exactly how I feel, when I am smooth and suave in everything I do, and when she looks at me like I am all that matters in the world. That “zone” to my wife probably looks like this: he focuses all his attention on me without being distracted, he spends time with me, he’s open and shares his innermost thoughts and feelings with me, he treats me like a queen.
Those times probably seem to be infrequent to both spouses,but they happen just often enough to encourage us to have hope. Hope that they will come again—usually when least expected. Those marriage “zones” are when my world seems best. Like the infrequent surprise sunny day in Oregon, they make all the other dreary times seem worthwhile.


Excerpted from Rick’s upcoming book, Romancing Your Better Half: Keeping intimacy alive in your marriage, by Revell Publishing, 2015.

Marriage Fraud–What’s the Character of Your Marriage?

[Marriage] is the merciless revealer, the great white searchlight turned 
on the darkest places of human nature.
—Katherine Anne Porter
Two (usually young) people start out in life together under the bliss of hormone-induced euphoria.They have well-intentioned but unrealistic ideas of what their lives together will be like.What starts out as an innocent, uncorrupted, and pure bud of love, over the years morphs into an old gnarled, scarred, and weather-beaten tree stump of friendship and devotion.And yet within this hoary old trunk beats a vibrant heart of the strongest white oak hardened by its perseverance and longevity to withstand any challenge that man, beast, or Mother Nature can throw against it.Those marriages that last for decades begin to discover the peaceful joy and contentedness that can only come from a lifetime of companionship and working together to rise above obstacles.
Many partners enter into marriage as frauds—showing only the best of themselves. But marriage has a tendency to expose the truth about two people and shine light on their true character.What was kept secretly under wraps while dating soon becomes apparent in the light of day during marriage.
When that happens, the character of the individuals either nourishes the relationship or destroys it. A healthy marriage relationship is comprised of the traits of trust, honesty, humor, faith, and commitment.Marriage in turn teaches us patience, selflessness, and humility.
Overcoming challenges is what makes us successful and grows us as human beings.Whether in a sporting event, at the workplace, or in a science lab, the person who is able to overcome the greatest difficulties is celebrated as a winner.Why should marriage be any different?When the hardships of a relationship confront us, we shouldn’t easily quit but rather give it the same effort we would any other worthwhile challenge in life.Certainly a good marriage is more important than throwing a basketball through a hoop in the larger scheme of things, yet people go to great lengths to improve themselves in sports when they won’t spend nearly as much energy trying to overcome minor obstacles in their marriage.  
Certainly marriage is the greatest gift we can give ourselves and our spouse.  That’s worth fighting for.  Don’t you think?

Excerpted from Rick’s upcoming book, Romancing Your Better Half: Keeping intimacy alive in your marriage, by Revell Publishing