We live in a world where we are so consumed with technology. When I was a child, I played outside and made the best memories. Many children today do not enjoy playing unless it is on an ipad.
However, it is not just children who are guilty! We constantly check Snapchat and Instagram and Facebook. We obsess about others peoples lives and we constantly COMPARE ourselves to others. We do not fully appreciate our own lives.
We have become robots!
You cannot truly bond with someone when you are glued to your phone/ipad/laptop. When something happens, we take our phones to record it. How can we fully be present in the moment if we are on our phones? Always look around you. Be mindful. Fully absorb everything around you. Make memories! The best experiences are the experiences you could not take a picture because you were enjoying life too much.
When you are your deathbed, you will not be thinking about technology but rather your favourite memories!
You can use this content in SPHE or non exam LC religion or in Section D in Junior Certificate Religion!
What is the meaning of life? Is it to be consumed by technology?
Am I addicted to my phone? Here are some signs to look out for:
- You check it when you wake up in the morning and before you go to bed.
- If it is not in your hand, you get anxious.
- Hours pass while you are on your phone.
- If your battery goes below 30 per cent, you panic!
- You use your phone on the toilet!
- You use your phone while talking to someone.
- You sleep with your phone on your nightstand or beside you in bed.
- You have a lot of apps!
- Turning your phone off on a flight gives you serious FOMO. (Fear of missing out)
- The idea of leaving your phone in a repair shop freaks you out!
- You think you can listen and text and talk and text but you cannot!
Now here are some tips to beat the smartphone addiction:
Turn your phone off an hour before you go to bed.
Do not use your phone while talking to someone.
Do not use your phone as an alarm clock. Get an alarm clock!
No devices at meals.
Have family rules about technology.
The first 30 minutes of your day should be about preparing yourself for a good day. Get up! Eat breakfast! Shower! Dress yourself! Start your day with positive actions.
Create no-phones zones.
Turn your phone off in the car.
My advice to you now is to look up from your phone and really be present!
This is a really importance lesson that we must teach our students!
This is a great video clip for an online generation. We are slaves to technology.
‘We are a bunch of idiots with smart phones’.
I love this image! It conveys a lady who is relaxed and fully absorbing what is happening. I love how happy she looks! She is not looking down at her phone or worrying about not dropping her phone or if her phone battery is low.
She is a wonderful example of how to fully live in the moment! She shows us how to be mindful and how to be present!
Christmas has become so commercialised! It is important to remember what is really important! It is important to teach our students what truly matters and to always be grateful. Christmas is a hard time for some people too. You never know what someone is going through! Check up on those who you think are struggling. It will mean more to them than you will ever realise!
Always be kind to others and be grateful for everything that you have. Christmas time is really about the religious significance but it is also about being grateful and spending time with your family and friends.
Our students need to learn it is not the end of the world if they do not receive a new Naked palette or Justin Bieber concert tickets or FIFA 16 or COD game! They are simply #firstworldproblems
Appreciate everything that you have and remember those who have nothing. Please give something to another no matter how small it is. I like many others had family members who were affected by the recent flooding crisis.
And then there are all the wars that are happening globally right now. Those people are experiencing grieve and they are in constant fear for their lives!
Christmas is the most special time of year! It brings families/communities together. It is a time where we are thankful for the year that we have just experienced and we prepare for the new year that is just beginning.
Here is a lovely video clip about the strong connection between being grateful and happy!
You could use this video clip in Section D of Junior Certificate Religious Education or LC non exam RE or SPHE.
I am going to end this post with a quote from one of favourite children’s books ‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas’ by Dr Seuss.
I will explain to the students that from time to time we stop and think about our lives and wonder why things are as they are. Human Beings have a need to understand what our life, and life in general, is all about. At such times, we might listen to our favourite music, finding inspiration in the words of a song. People don’t always read between the lines with lyrics when they should because they teach really great life lessons. You may think that some of these songs are not exactly for you but maybe take a chance and listen with your heart instead of just your head, it may make a difference to you.
I will write the questions for the task on the whiteboard.
- What is the song called?
- What is the song about?
- What questions of meaning are raised in the song?
- What answers does the song give to these fundamental questions?
I will ask all the students to read the questions carefully.
I will split the students into groups.
I will give each group a handout.
Each group will receive a different handout.
Each handout will feature a different modern day song lyrics such as:
- Adele ‘Hello’.
- Miley Cyrus- ‘The Climb’.
- Macklemore and Ryan Lewis : ‘Same Love’.
- Avicci: ‘Wake me up’.
- Kodaline: ‘Big Bad World’.
- Thirty seconds to Mars: ‘Closer to the edge’.
- Black Eyed Peas- ‘Where is the love?’.
- Beyonce-‘ I was here’.
- Beyonce – ‘Pretty Hurts’.
- Ed Sheeran- ‘Small Bump’.
- Ed Sheeran- ‘All of the stars’,
- Little Mix- ‘Change your life’.
- Demi Lovato- ‘Skyscraper’.
I will ask the groups to work together and to answer the four questions on the whiteboard using their group’s song lyrics and to write their answers on the back of their handout.
I will give the group’s ten minutes for this task,
After the time is up, I will ask each group to present their work to the class.
We will have a class discussion about each group’s work.
- Adele – ‘Hello’
In Adele’s ‘Hello’, her first single in three years, the British songstress is greeting someone for the first time in years. Who exactly is on the other side of that “hello”? Judging from Adele’s other work, the obvious answer would seem to be an ex-boyfriend. It’s theoretically in the same vein as songs like “Someone Like You” and “Rolling in the Deep” from 21, her second album. The video depicts her calling an old lover. However, the song is far less literal than that. The meaning of ‘Hello’ isn’t about reconnecting with an ex-boyfriend. “Hello” is about Adele reconnecting with herself. Everyone goes through times in their lives when they lose themselves. In her Twitter announcement of 25, her third studio album and first in four years, Adele talked about growing up and finding herself again. She called 25 a “make-up record” because, as she put it, “I’m making up with myself. 25 is about getting to know who I’ve become without realizing,” she wrote. So in the opening lines of “Hello,” Adele greets someone. “Hello, it’s me/ I was wondering/ If after all these years/ You’d like to meet/ To go over everything,” she sings. Taking “Hello” as a song addressed to herself, these lines become about a woman looking to rediscover who she is after years of not knowing. That jibes beautifully with 25‘s stated mission. In the chorus, Adele says hello from two different places: “the outside” and “the other side.” The former would seem to refer not to location, but to thinking a bit beyond herself to better understand who she is now. The latter is similar — it’s about a woman who lived through a very difficult relationship, as detailed in 21, and the influx of fame and came out on “the other side” of it. Much has been made of the use of a phone in both song and video form of “Hello.” In the song, Adele sings about calling someone at home “a thousand times.” On its surface, that seems odd. Why in 2015 is she calling someone on their land line? Taken as Adele trying to connect to herself, however, it makes sense. “Hello” is not a literal song. The “million miles” she says separates her from the person she’s addressing aren’t physical — they’re emotional. No one who’s been through what Adele has could possibly be in the same place psychologically. In four years, she’s grown leaps and bounds. “Hello,” and by extension 25, are an exploration of what it’s like to come together with yourself after such growth. With the release of this song, Adele seems to be saying she has met herself. Now, she’s ready to introduce this new Adele to us.
2. . Miley Cyrus- ‘The Climb’.
This song reminds me that everything I do, I do it for a certain reason because one day I will look back and remember that there were certain hardships to get where I am, but it was all worth it in the end! This song has a serious message behind it that everyone should take a little from. Miley (back in her somewhat normal days of Hannah Montana and before she discovered twerking) wrote music to inspire young girls, mainly, to overcome any obstacles they face. ‘The Climb’ sends out the message that no matter what is thrown at you, you will be able to face it and overcome it. Miley sings to the audience,
“There’s always gonna be another mountain, I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle, sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there, ain’t about what’s waitin’ on the other side
It’s the climb”
Life is sometimes a game and were not always going to win. Thats an important thing to always remember when facing difficult challenges. These lyrics really bring out a great message in life. Even though sometimes we may lose never give up hope. If you set a goal for yourself, don’t base it on how long it takes you to achieve that goal but rather if you actually get there one day. Push yourself to all limits. As Miley says, “its all about what’s on the other side,” meaning it’s all about what you gain in the end.
I’m sure we have all heard that life is about always taking chances. I really think these lyrics explain how no matter a situation the end result is always worth it. Miley says that no matter what even if she does not know it, the struggle and obstacles will always be a remembrance for her. Most of us can probably relate to this because you’re making a memory even if it seems like an issue at first, you may get something really great out of it in the end.
“Keep on movin’
Keep the faith baby
It’s all about, it’s all about the climb”
Lastly, it’s so important to always keep on moving. Whether it’s a minor or a major issue lyrics can always remind you and can make you connect.
The climb is the final step to you are going through. It is the feeling of success that you actually made it, even though you felt at times that you would’nt get through it.
3. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis- ‘Same Love’.
‘Same Love’ is a great song for using for the search for meaning. “Same Love was a song that I wanted to write for a long time but I didn’t know exactly how to address the issue,” he explains. “I knew I wanted to write a song about gay rights and homophobia within the hip-hop community and the world.” Macklemore, whose uncle is gay, said it wasn’t just the issue of marriage equality that fuelled the song, but also the flagrant use of ‘gay’ as a derogative term in the hip-hop industry, and the world. A couple of years ago, Ryan and I would say ‘that’s gay’ because it’s so embedded in our culture,” he admits. “You have a conversation with a couple of people and they kinda call you out about it and all of a sudden you stop saying it.” The musician believes it’s only a matter of time before rappers and hip-hop artists stop using words like ‘faggot’ and ‘that’s gay’ as just another lyric. I think it’s happening right now… It takes a little while, but eventually you eliminate that type of vocabulary from your everyday life and I think that hopefully that is what a song like Same Love does, that it makes people second guess their language.
“From the people that come to our shows, a lot of feedback from them is, ‘I used to say those words, not I think twice, now I don’t say them any more.’ It’s really about awareness.” While more and more pro-gay music artists are coming out, Same Love marks the first time a male mainstream hip-hop artist has rapped positively about homosexuality.
Ellen DeGeneres is a fan, saying “no other artists in hip-hop history have ever taken a stand defending marriage equality the way they have.”
4. Avicii- ‘Wake me up’
This song is about finding your purpose in society. It actually has a deep, important lyrical meaning about the power of dreams. It’s okay to dream, since that can be your saving grace.
“Feeling my way through the darkness / Guided by a beating heart / I can’t tell where the journey will end / But I know where to start / They tell me I’m too young to understand / They say I’m caught up in a dream / Well life will pass me by if I don’t open up my eyes / Well that’s fine by me.”
That sentiment celebrates the fact that life is a journey and not just the destination and that sometimes, throwing caution to the wind is the best thing you can do. There’s nothing wrong with being a dreamer, because dreams can and do come true. Dreaming is not a waste of time, especially if the dreams are an escape from a harsher reality.
“So wake me up when it’s all over / When I’m wiser and I’m older / All this time I was finding myself / And I didn’t know I was lost.”
The chorus is catchy, and it’s lyrically simple but powerful. Sometimes, you learn the most and find out who you really are when you didn’t even know you were looking. Blacc is essentially singing about experience making you who you are. The only way to know life is to live it. Sometimes, that requires living it in your mind, when you are bound by circumstance and can’t just take the first step of the thousand-mile journey whenever you feel like it.
“I tried carrying the weight of the world / But I only have two hands / Hope I get the chance to travel the world / But I don’t have any plans.”
Again, Blacc sings about going with the flow and moving with the wind, without any firm plans. It also suggests that the narrator might not have the chance to travel the world due his situation or station in life. Perhaps he is poor. Perhaps he is committed to a family. Perhaps he doesn’t have the means. Even so, that shouldn’t prevent him from thinking and dreaming about what could be. Sometimes, when you are in a situation over which you have zero control, the best faculty you have is your mind, and even your daydreams can help make that harsh reality a little bit better.
5. Kodaline- ‘Big Bad World’.
The speaker of this song is confused.
‘Maybe I’m wrong or maybe I’m right’.
We have to grow up and go out into the world by ourselves and fend for ourselves. We have dreams of what we want our live to be like, and we try to make these dreams come true but sometimes life gets in the way.
‘We go out on our own
It’s a big bad world outside
Carrying’ our dreams and all that they mean
Trying to make it all worthwhile.’
The speaker then starts questioning life. Is there a God? Maybe we will live until e are old or maybe we will die young. We should live everyday like its our last and enjoy life.
Or maybe don’t care
Shit, maybe there is no god in the big white clouds up there
Maybe live long
Or maybe die young
Or maybe live every day like it’s your last day under the sun.
6. 30 Seconds to Mars- ‘Closer to the edge’.
This song is about living, taking risks for what you want and what you believe, and not regretting it, It makes you who you are. And you shouldn’t be ashamed of the decisions you make in your life. It is a very beautiful song. It’s about how he lost himself from all the hate and sadness inside of him. He wanted to erase all of that and not remember it, but then he found the truth. He wanted to live his life with no regret, happy with all his choices, and not focus on the things he thinks he needs in order to be happy. The sun (happiness) is born and dreams die because he no longer is seeking for something to happen for him to be happy and fulfilled with his life. He is closer to the edge because he is almost completely transformed into someone who is internally fulfilled.
7. Black Eyed Peas -‘Where is the love?’.
This song is a classic.The song is about exactly what the title is asking. Where is the love? The bible says: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Look around you. Think about the relationships you have with people. Is it really love?
This song is telling us what this world of ours is turning into without love, true genuine love. It states all these awful things that are going on in the world. Not to bring you down nor to make you feel guilty BUT to open your eyes. To love people. Not just your family, friends, boyfriend/girlfriend. To selflessly love everyone else as well.
It is about the disintegration of society’s values.
“But if you only have love for your own race
Then you only leave space to discriminate
And to discriminate only generates hate
And when you hate then you’re bound to get irate, yeah”
Racism is being expressed in violent/humiliating methods nowadays.
“As I’m gettin’ older, y’all, people gets colder
Most of us only care about money makin’
Selfishness got us followin’ our wrong direction”
Materialism is getting more common. Making money seems to be the most important thing in people’s minds now.
“Wrong information always shown by the media
Negative images is the main criteria
Infecting the young minds faster than bacteria
Kids wanna act like what they see in the cinema”
It seems that the youth are easily influenced by the media. This leads to the rise in juvenile crime and violent acts.
8. Beyonce- ‘I was here’.
Life is about being remembered for the positive impacts that you have had on others in the world and the things you have done to make it a better place rather than how rich, famous or successful you were. We should live life to the fullest so we do not have any regrets and that means that when we have the chance to do good and choose not to because of its “inconvenience” in our lives, that will remain with us and is not the piece of ourselves that we wish to leave behind on this earth. This song emphasises that Beyonce wants to do positive things in peoples lives. She has achieved to point of more than what she thought, but she still wants 2 do more. The 2nd verse reminds us that she wants to be remembered for her good deeds. She wants to make a difference and make her mark on the world. It reminds me think of how valuable life is and how we all impact the world somehow. She wants to leave her footprints in the sands of time.
7. Beyonce- ‘Pretty Hurts’.
This song is an assault on the pressures that women face to attain physical perfection in life. It has a really strong message. The singer plays a beauty pageant contestant whose name “Miss Third Ward,” is a reference to the Houston neighbourhood where she grew up. Miss Third Ward does everything in her power to look flawless but she still can’t achieve perfection.
The concept of the video is really a behind the scenes look into society’s take on beauty and how it doesn’t bring you happiness and it doesn’t move you forward in life,’ says Melina.
“Well I think we definitely wanted to speak to as many women as we could and all the pain and struggle that we go through as women to maintain this impossible standard of beauty,” Matsoukas explained to MTV News. “We wanted to give it a darker edge and take it there and not give you the Disney version of that struggle. And Beyoncé was more than willing to go that far with it. And I applaud her for that.”
It was Beyoncé herself who suggested that Miss Third Ward loses in the competition. “Originally, I had her win and I had it meant nothing,” Matsoukas said. “And then she didn’t want to win. And then, actually, the woman who wins is an albino woman. And we thought it was really important and interesting to break those ideas of what the classic beauty standards would be and to do this with this beautiful albino woman, I thought was really great. And to show ‘Yeah she’s not perfect, she doesn’t always win and you put your best foot forward and you may still lose.'”
9. Ed Sheeran – ‘Small Bump’.
This song doesn’t need an explanation. It is a beautiful song about the joy of pregnancy and the sorrow that comes with a miscarriage. Sheera wrote this song for a friend who had a miscarriage at 4 months. He discusses what would have happened if the baby had been born and was okay. ‘wrap my fingers around your thumb’. He also questions what happened, ‘maybe you were needed up there’.
10. Ed Sheeran – ‘All of the Stars’.
Ed Sheeran wrote this beautiful ballad for what may arguably be the saddest cinematic love story of all time, “The Fault in Our Stars.” It is the teenage version of ‘The Notebook’. The 2014 film is based on John Green’s best-selling Young Adult novel of the same name, which depicts the beautiful yet tragic love story of two teenage cancer patients that fall in love. The song is a perfect tribute to their short-lived earthly love affair that is destined to play out eternally in the stars. It can be found on the deluxe version of X.
11. Little Mix- ‘Change your life’.
This song is about some girls and how they have made a few mistakes in their lifetime. But everyday is another day to “Change Your Life” and start over again. It is also about bullying. about standing up for yourself and having confidence in your self. it is also about your dreams, if you have a dream, go for it and don’t let anybody stop you. It is about getting over what other people think because there are plenty of other people that feel the exact same way. It is about starting new and forgetting the past. It’s about people crushing your dream. But Little Mix is saying ‘Ignore it… Go for your dreams and CHANGE YOUR LIFE” If you have a dream, don’t let ANYONE bring you down. Go for whatever your dream is. You’ll get through all the criticism and the hard times. “You got the right to show the world something never seen before. We wanna hear you scream it out, you’re not alone!” That means go for your dreams, show everyone you can do it. Show everyone that you have got what it takes.
12. Demi Lovato- ‘Skyscraper’.
This is a great song. It has a very powerful message. Demi Lovato has been through a lot. She suffers with bipolar disorder and also anorexia and she had a drug problem. She spent awhile in rehab but now she has risen above it all. This song is all about fortitude and rising above the trials and tribulations that we face in our lives. Everyone is battling something and I think many people can relate to this song and find it relevant to their lives. In the first verse of the song Demi sings, “Skies are crying, I am watching”. The way Demi refers to rain is very interesting to me. The “skies are crying” creates a depressing mood. Rain is often associated with sadness and she is watching as if to manifest in this sadness. The next line “catching teardrops in my hand” represents the connection she feels to the sadness symbolized by the rain. The next line reads, “Only silence as it’s ending like we never had a chance”. I think the “like we never had a chance” part refers to the struggle you are facing. You never have the chance to be happy if you focus on your struggles and let them ruin you. Silence can be very peaceful. As you end your relationship with your struggles and pain, you will find peace. The last line in the first verse “Do you have to make me feel like there’s nothing left of me?” is a rhetorical question and emphasizes how little you can feel when people break you down until you literally feel like you are out of willpower. It’s an awful feeling and no one deserves to understand that pain. But she tells people to rise above it and be a skyscraper.
The Kardashians/Jenners. Love them or hate them they are major influencers of teenagers today. In fact, both Kendal and Kylie Jenner were both included in Times list of 30 Most Influential Teens of 2015. You might not like Kylie Jenner but she is using her social media platform to highlight anti-bullying. As a celebrity, Kylie faces bullying everyday as people comment about her life or her looks or her relationship. Kylie is keen to use her very public persona in an effort to shed light in a topic that is very important for her and plenty of other young people around the world.
In June of this year the Kylie admitted in a Snapchat video that she has experienced bullying of her own. She told her fans, ‘I thought of the idea because, almost my whole life, since I was 9, since I have been in the spotlight, that comes with so much bullying and attacking,” she reflected. ‘Everything I do, there’s a huge light on it. I’m okay with that because it is what it is, it comes with the lifestyle. But it has still affected me a lot. But I wanted to take a different approach and pretty much let other people that I found who have been through bullying and overcome it, to use my platform and just kind of bring awareness to it’.
‘A few months ago, I decided that bullying is my thing, and I am passionate about it, and I want to help other young boys and girls going through the same thing. I felt I could be a leader. I am a teenager going through the same things as they are, so we can go through it together. ‘
The legacy Jenner wants to leave behind is simple. ‘That I have helped people and that it was not just about me,’ she replied of her hopes of having a lasting impact. ‘That I was an inspiration for young girls. And it was not just getting your lips done and having good hair, but being a good person and inspiring other people to not bully other people and do good things and be nice to everybody.’
On September 1st 2015 she set up an anti-bullying campaign called ‘I am More Than’ on her instagram and Twitter.
Kylie has 41 million followers on Instagram. Nearly all of these followers are young girls/teenagers.
She also recently wore blue lipstick in support of Anti-Bullying Day. She posted a photo on her instagram and urged her followers to ‘spread love’.
The ‘I Am More’ campaign portrays all varieties of people who have been a victim of bullying. In her ‘#IAmMoreThan’ Kylie announced she plans to share six stories over six days of ‘people who have become heroes in their own way by taking #bullying and turning it into something positive. She is actually still sharing stories and it is now the end of October as the campaign was a massive success. She now shares a story every Tuesday! With thousands of posts on Instagram using the hashtag already, it looks like the #IAmMoreThan movement isn’t going away for a while and I am really happy about that. I think it is an excellent campaign! Kylie meets up with and interviews each person and then she shares it on her instagram as part of her campaign. She is sharing stories of selected victims of bullying who are now able to speak out and help others n their situation. As she wrote in a caption of a photo introducing the campaign, ‘I’ve gotten to talk and bond with all of these people whose stories you will see on my page. I think you will all fall in love with them just like I did. I want to encourage you, my fans, to share something positive about yourselves. I’ll be reading as much as I can so that some of you can be apart of this as well! Let’s do this.’
It would be really worthwhile to show your students’ this campaign either as part of non-exam Religious Education, SPHE, or as part of Anti-bullying/Friendship week or Health week.
It is a really positive campaign that portrays how lucky everyone is to have something unique about them. By telling the stories of women who have been bullied and fought back, Kylie is inspiring others who have been bullied to refuse to let it ruin their lives.Sadly, bullies are everywhere and bullying on social media is even easier and more cowardly to do than in person. Cyber-bullying is a massive problem in schools all over the world.That’s why it’s wonderful that Kylie is using social media to give support each week to an individual who refuses to bow down to bullying.
One of the stories she shared with everyone was about plus size model Erica Schenk. Erica responded via Instagram and re-shared the photo, taken by photographer Enrique Vega. She thanked Kylie in the caption. ‘Thanks Kylie for the shout out and for supporting so many women that struggle with body image.’ Erica recently featured on the front of Woman’s Running. In a ground breaking attempt to break fitness stereotypes, the magazine chose plus-size model Erica Schenk to be on the cover in the upcoming August issue. Diverging away the commonly used skinny and muscular models, Editor-In-Chief Jessica Sebor wants to stress ‘runners come in all shapes and sizes.’ Erica is really inspiring for teenagers today. Tell your pupils to be proud of their body!
Kylie shared the story of a college student called Renee DuShane who was born with a genetic disorder which affects how the bones in her face fuse together. She is a twenty one year old college student who was born with Pfieffer syndrome. Renee recently got a tattoo of her life motto which is ‘stay strong, always love’.
Kylie also introduced her followers to Em Ford who runs My Pale Skin Blog on instagram. Em Ford is English and she is a former model who suffers with acne. I am a big fan of Em as she is inspirational for teenagers and also adults today. Her posts of her make-up fre selfies resulted in over 100,000 crazy negative comments on her pictures. She made an incredibly powerful video highlighting the negative comments she received on her social media after her make-up free selfies. The comments were horrendous! The video racked up 8 million views in the first week and it has now been viewed nearly 17 million times. She is just trying to be brave and honest and convey to other acne sufferers ‘that it’s okay not to be perfect’. Acne is the pain of so many young people’s life. Em fought her bullies back by making and posting a dramatic and moving video showing her naked face, then covering it with make-up and finally removing it again while bullies ridiculed her with harsh comments on-screen. Em’s very inspiring message is that ‘beauty is all about how you feel INSIDE. The moment you let other people’s poison enter your mind is the moment you start to fall. Calling us ugly because of a skin condition does not make you any more beautiful. I could fix my skin and you’ll find something else to hate me for and that says more about you than I care to think about.’
Another excellent case study to use with students is the life story of Lizzie Velasquez.
Lizzie Velasquez discusses appearing on Kylie Jenner’s instagram as part of the #IAmMore campaign. It starts at 3:10 minutes in the video clip.
Lizzie who is 26 was born with an extremely rare congenital condition in which she has zero body fat and she has never weighed more than 64 lbs. She is unable to gain weight, has to eat many small meals and snacks to survive, is blind in one eye and has a weak immune system. The condition is so rare, only two other people in the world have it. She was first bullied at school for looking different and then online as a teenager. When Velasquez was 17, she came across a YouTube video labelling her “the world’s ugliest woman” that had been watched over four million times. One of the comments said: ‘Do the world a favour and put a gun to your head.’ Others called her a ‘monster’, told her parents to ‘kill it with fire’ and said they should have aborted her. But instead of causing Velasquez to hide away from public life, the video inspired her to start an anti-bullying campaign that led to the 2013 TED talk bringing her to international attention. Footage of her inspiring speech now has almost 7.2 million views on YouTube and its success inspired the creation of the documentary. ‘I know what it is to be bullied and what is to be bullied online, and I want to be the protector of those who think it won’t get better,” said Velasquez. ‘Instead of just taking shelter of my tears, I chose to be happy and realise this syndrome is not a problem but a blessing that allows me to improve myself and inspire other people.’ She set up a Kickstarter campaign entitled ‘The Lizzie Project’ to raise $180,000 towards a documentary on her life. The campaign has now raised $215,000 from 3,564 backers and ‘A Brave Heart’ is ready to hit the screen. ‘Lizzie has such an inner strength and sense of humour that anyone can relate to her,” said Sara Bordo, a first-time director working with Velasquez on the film project. “We all have difficulties in life, but nothing compared to what she has been through. Her positive attitude elevates the spirit of any person in the world.’
Velasquez has also written three self-help books and is currently lobbying for America’s first federal anti-bullying bill.
Fortunately, her condition is not terminal and despite her challenges, she attended Texas State University and she has written two books for teens including the story of her journey titled Be Beautiful, Be You. Nevertheless, she has been mocked and called ‘the world’s ugliest woman’ by nasty cyber-bullies. However, Lizzie has refused to be deterred by small-minded detractors, and has taken that negative energy and has turned it around by travelling around the world doing motivational speeches. Lizzie gave her followers this great advice: ‘I try to convey that all you need to have is a brave heart to accomplish whatever you want to achieve. Let the negative build you up instead of knocking you down.’ She released her own film this year about her struggle. The film is called ‘A Brave Heart’.
Her instagram name is LITTLELIZZIEV and her Twitter username is littlelizziev
Lizzie’s own personal website is http://imwithlizzie.com/
Here are some video clips about Lizzie Velasque.
Lizzie Velasque at Ted Talks.
She must eat every 15 minutes. Listen to her inspiring story.
Lizzie Velasquez Shares Inspiring Story & Anti-Bullying Advice.
Woman called ‘World’s Ugliest Woman’ becomes inspiration to all.
A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story Official Trailer (2015).
Bullying is a huge problem in schools all over the world. It is something that happens everyday. It is not just not an issue that should be dealt with on Anti-bullying week but all year through. As teachers we must be educated about bullying. How else can we help if we don’t understand? You can use the content in this blog post to simply educate yourself, to use in your Religion, SPHE class or for anti-bullying/friendship/health week in your school.
What is Bullying?
First of all, we need to define bullying.
Spunout defines bullying as the on-going abuse of another person through physical or mental torture. To make matters worse this torture is often conducted in the presence of others. The humiliation felt by the victim is hard to understand if you have never been bullied. If it happens over a long period of time it can have devastating effects on a young person’s mental health. In Ireland 1 in 4 people suffer from mental health issues.
“Bullying is defined as unwanted negative behaviour, verbal, psychological or physical conducted by an individual or group against another person (or persons) and which is repeated over time.” Department of Education & Skills ‘Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools’ (Dublin: 2013)
“Bullying is a behavioural problem which affects the lives of thousands of school children and their families. The humiliation, fear, frustration and social isolation and loss of self esteem which children experience when bullied results in absenteeism from school, poor or deteriorating schoolwork, personality change, illness, depression and unfortunately sometimes suicide. Bullying knows no boundaries of age, sex or socio-economic background. It can take many forms; it can be short term or continue over long periods, even years.”
Anti-Bullying Centre, ‘Bullying at School; Key Facts” (Dublin: 2001)
“Cruel, abusive behaviour which is persistent and pervasive and causes suffering to individuals which is severe and sustained”
K. Rigby, ‘Bullying in Schools and What to do About It’ (London: Kingsley, 1997)
“Isolated incidents of aggressive behaviour, while they indicate a problem that needs to be sorted out, do not constitute bullying. However, where there is an imbalance and abuse of power and the behaviour is systematic and ongoing, it is bullying”
Sticks and Stones Handbook, (Dublin: 1995)
“Bullying can cause physical, mental, psychological, emotional and mental harm to a person or group. It is premeditated, pervasive, persistent, and cruel treatment which is meant to hurt or harm, and is enjoyed by the bullying perpetrator.”
David Fitzgerald, ‘Bullying in our Schools; Understanding and Tackling the Problem’ (Dublin: 1999)
The different types of bullying
- Verbal Bullying:Teasing, jeering, name calling, slagging, mimicking.
This can leave students feeling angry, frightened and powerless. If students are unable to share their feelings with someone else, verbal bullying can leave them emotionally bruised and physically exhausted. Their powers of concentration can suffer, adversely affecting their capacity for learning. Verbal attacks can be of highly personal and sexual nature. They can be directed at the child’s family, culture, race or religion. For example: Malicious rumours.
- Physical Bullying: Something that is physically done to an individual, or their belongings.
Fighting, hitting, pinching, spitting, tripping, pushing. It’s often written off as ‘horseplay,’ ‘pretend’ or ‘just a game’ when challenged. Both boys and girls indulge in physical bullying, boys sometimes more so because it’s socially acceptable for them to be more physically aggressive, and their games and sports can allow for greater physical contact. There’s a misconception that physical bullying has to hurt, it doesn’t. It can be the “accidental” bumping into someone in the corridor, crowding them at the locker, invading their personal space. It is something that someone physically does to another.
- Gesture Bullying:Threatening signs, dirty looks.
There are many different forms of non-verbal threatening gestures that can portray frightening messages, for example gesturing a gun to a head or gesturing slitting a throat, or giving someone a dirty look. It’s very important to recognise the power of gesture bullying, sometimes adults can be dismissive of a child who reports that another child “is looking at me” but it’s a very easy way to maintain a constant level of threat against another child, and it’s so subtle it can be happening right under a teacher’s nose. Look out teachers! If a student comes to you wit this complaint, take it seriously.
- Exclusion Bullying:Leaving someone out, ignoring them on purpose.
This is mean and hurtful because it isolates the student from his/her peer group and it is very hard for the student to combat as it directly attacks their self-confidence, self esteem and self-image. It is very hard to prevent this. However, one successful way is by getting the students to empathise with each other.
- Extortion Bullying:Getting someone to do something they don’t want to do. Threatening, Forcing, Blackmailing.
Younger students for example first years are particularly vulnerable to extortion bullying. Demands for lunch money, possessions or equipment or food may be made alongside threats.
- Cyber-Bullying:in an ever-more technologically advanced world, a new strain of bullying has emerged amongst students. Cyber-bullying utilises web pages, on-line gaming (on the PS4/XBOX),Snapchat, Facebook and text messaging to abuse, intimidate and attack others. Facebook and Snapchat are the most common ways of cyber-bullying.
- Prejudiced based Bullying
- Prejudice, or identity, based bullying targets young people because of who they are or who they are perceived to be. This can be on the grounds of age, disability, gender, race, membership of the travelling community, religion or sexual orientation. Young people can also be bullied for being perceived to belong to one or more of these groups, or for being associated with a member of one or more of these groups. It includes Racist and Homophobic Bullying.
Signs of being bullied-TELL-TALE SIGNS OF BEING BULLIED
- Unexplained bruising, cuts or damaged clothing.
- Visible signs of stress/anxiety. Many students will often refuse to say what is wrong with them.
- Unexplained changes in mood or behaviour e.g. becoming withdrawn; clinging; attention-seeking; aggressive behaviour toward brothers, sisters and parents.
- Out-of-character behaviour in class e.g. disruptive, attention seeking due to a dare or threat.
- Deterioration in educational attainments; loss of concentration, interest and enthusiasm in school.
- Bad attendance due to reluctance to go to school.
- Lingering behind in school alter classes are over (parents may notice a child’s requests to be accompanied to and from school)
- Increased requests for pocket money, or stealing money.
- Loss of or damage to personal possessions or equipment
- Artwork expressing inner turmoil
- Alcohol/drug abuse
- Attempted suicide
There are lots of myths about bullying, such as
- “It’s a fact of life…everyone is bullied at some stage.” FALSE
- “It toughens you up and prepares you for real life.” FALSE
- “We all have to learn to stand up for ourselves…bullying helps us to do this.” FALSE
- “There’s nothing you can do about bullying.” FALSE
YOU CAN ALWAYS DO SOMETHING ABOUT BULLYING!!!
The truth about bullying
- Not everyone is bullied but it’s estimated that around 30% of young people experience bullying at some stage.
- Rather than toughening you up for life it can make you miserable and and it can kill any self-esteem you had.
- Bullying can leave you feeling guilty for not standing up for yourself but it persists because it is almost impossible for the victim to stand up to the bully.
Who is likely to be involved?
- “THE VICTIM”
- Any pupil, through no fault of their own, may be bullied. Sometimes all it takes is for the student to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Therefore, it is not uncommon to find that there are many student victimised through bullying, who are popular and socially well adjusted. However, bullies will try to justify their actions by emphasising that the victim is different in some way, i.e. in terms of accent, clothes, physical appearance, size, social class, religion or by having learning difficulties. If there is no real difference pupils who bully may invent a reason for their behaviour.
- Students who Bully are encouraged by the vulnerable and distressed reactions of their would-be victims. This gives them a “sense of power” and of “being in control” and makes them feel ‘cool’. Shy students are more likely to be targeted.
- It is now recognised that many of the negative and unsympathetic characteristics that are often ascribed to victims may be the result of long-term bullying rather than a cause of Bullying. There are, of course, some students who unwittingly invite attacks by behaving in ways that cause tension and irritation in their immediate vicinity. Such students, often referred to as “provocative victims”, may have inadequate social skills or learning difficulties.
- Sadly however, research shows that no matter what the true origin of the bullying episode is,students who are bullied tend to see the cause of bullying in themselves and feel or imagine that there is something “wrong” with them.
WHAT CHARACTERISES THE STUDENT WHO BULLIES?
As all bullying is aggression, a distinctive characteristic of students who bully is their aggressive attitude not only towards their peers but also towards adults, i.e. parents and teachers.
While constitutional factors play a part in aggressive behaviour, it is recognised that factors within the house, school and wider society influence the development of aggressive behaviour.
FACTORS WHICH CONTRIBUTE TO AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOUR IN THE HOME ARE:
- Lack of love, care and attention.
- Too much freedom.
- Inconsistent discipline. They feel like their parents do not care about them.
- Aggressive behaviour.
- Physical abuse/punishment.
FACTORS WHICH CONTRIBUTE TO AGGRESSION IN SCHOOL ARE:
- Inconsistent discipline/rules
- Poor staff morale.
- Inadequate supervision.
- Curriculum that affords too few feelings of success and achievement. The school needs to have a positive and happy environment.
What to do if you’re being bullied
When you’re dealing with bullying it can feel like there’s nothing you can do about it. You can convince yourself that trying to stop it might make things worse.
If it’s happening in school, telling a teacher maybe the last thing you want to do. Will your parents freak out and make a big fuss about it?
Everyone has the right to live, work, study and play in an environment free from bullying, harassment, discrimination and violence.
No one deserves or asks to be bullied and you certainly shouldn’t go through it on your own. Don’t forget that. There are things you can do about it.
Asking someone for advice
Telling someone else is really important. If you feel threatened or you think you might be in danger. Don’t keep it to yourself.
You’re not giving in and there’s nothing weak about reporting it or asking for advice. Anyone would need help with bullying.
If you’re dealing with bullying – be it verbal, physical, online or on your phone – it can really help by telling someone and asking for advice.
This can take a bit of courage, but you’ll be amazed by how much better you feel just by getting it off your chest.
Who to ask
There are loads of people who might be able to help. Talk to your friends, or to older brothers or sisters if you have them. They might’ve been through this stuff and will understand.
If it’s happening in school, think of a teacher you trust. Teachers and counsellors are specially trained in these situations. It’s their job to help.
Also, it’s good for the school to know it’s happening. There might be other people going through it and they need to figure out how to prevent it.
So think about it as helping other people.
Talking to family
It’s understandable you might be worried your parent or guardian will completely explode if you say anything and run down to the school screaming their head off.
We can’t say it won’t happen, but remember they want to help, and they actually might.
They’re also probably more clued in than you imagine, so explain to them if you don’t want them to do that and they might well get it.
They could have suggestions you had never even thought of. Even if you don’t want them to do anything, it lightens the load, and that in itself is pretty good.
If it’s getting you down
If dealing with bullying is getting you down and affecting your day-to-day life, there are loads of people who can help, listen and support you.
Tips for getting help
- If you’re worried about speaking to someone, take a friend with you. If you don’t feel like you can talk about it out-loud or face-to-face, write it down or put it in an email.
- Talk to whoever you tell about what they’re planning to do. They might have a responsibility to act if they’re a teacher or counsellor and they’re worried about your safety, so make sure you check with them. They should run all of this by you first. Be clear about what you want and don’t want to happen.
- If you don’t feel as if you’re being taken seriously, or if no action is taken, it doesn’t mean what’s happening is OK. You were right to bring it up. Tell someone else and keep at it until something changes.
Dealing with bullying can be really tough. It affects your self esteem and your confidence, and it can end up affecting your work and your relationships too.
It’s really important to do something about it. If you feel you need a hand dealing with the impact of it, speak to someone like a therapist/counsellor to help you work on these feelings.
Working it out yourself
Always ask for help when you are being bullied but you can also decide to help yourself also.
Here’s some ideas that might help with this:
- Be confident and assertive
People who hassle other people usually set their sights on someone who seems nervous or unsure of themselves because they think they won’t stand up to them.
The old “turn the other cheek” doesn’t really work. Walking away and trying to ignore can still be the reaction that the person bullying wants to happen.
Being confident about who you are can actually be your best defence. Stand firm and look them in the eye.
Let it be known that you don’t think is OK. Even if you don’t feel it, as the not-so-old saying goes, “fake it ’til you make it”.
Suggestions for using your confidence to deal with bullying:
- Tell them to give it a rest/leave you alone. Don’t be aggressive, just be calm and sure of yourself.
- Be assertive and confident. Look them in the eye and keep your body language firm.
- Be nice – killing them with kindness can throw them right off track.
Selena Gomez recently released a new single called ‘Kill em with kindness’. She wrote this song as a response to her bullies. She was badly bullied during the summer for her weight.
- Use humour – it can throw them off.
- Use positive self talk tell yourself you’re a better person than all that. Don stoop to their level. You are a better person than they are.
- Have a mantra – a saying or a statement that you repeat to them, like “whatever” or “well, if that’s what you think”. This can make you feel confident enough to just block them out (could be a line from a song or a film, whatever works).
Remember it does not matter what they think about you, it what you think about yourself, that matters!
Also remember there are people who accept you for you who are. They are the ones that matter.
This might sound daft and it won’t work for everyone, but it can keep you from getting overwhelmed. Picture yourself as being miles taller than whoever’s bullying you, or imagine them in some ridiculous costume. This can help you realise they’re only human, and probably not as tough as they make out.
It can be hard to remember your good points when someone is doing their best to put you down. However, try to think of all the things you’re good at and proud of and stuff that makes you laugh.
You are amazing, never forget that!
Some of the world’s brightest, funniest and most talented people get a hard time when they’re young. Remember this will pass, and loads of people get through it and go on to do amazing stuff with their lives.
Safety in numbers
You’re safer in a group, so hang out with other people when you can. If you’re by yourself and worried about being hassled or feel threatened, be aware of places nearby where there’ll be other people.
Sometimes no matter how you or other people try to resolve a bullying situation, there might be no real solution other than to move school or change your job. This can seems like a massive deal, but sometimes making a fresh start is actually the simplest way forward.
This isn’t always a possibility and it’s not the first option. When it’s the right thing to do it can actually be the best decision you ever make. You’re not giving up up, just moving on.
Parents can sometimes be resistant to the idea of moving school, but talk to them about it and explain how you feel. That way you can figure out what your options are.
Some great organisations that deal with bullying are:
Sticks and Stones Anti-bullying Programme™ is Ireland’s leading award winning anti-bullying programme for schools, primary and post-primary. They believe that every child should be able to fulfil his or her potential free from the damage that bullying causes. They offer a Whole School Approach to addressing bullying in Irish schools, primary and secondary.
Here is their website – http://www.sticksandstones.ie/
Their programme elements can be taken individually or preferably together.
Sticks and Stones Anti-bullying Programme™ offers a three strand approach for the whole school community
- “Be The Solution“workshops for students
- In-service training for teachersand school staff – “Understanding Bullying – Putting Policy into Practice“
- and an information evening for parents and carers – “Understanding Bullying – Beyond the Myths and Stereotypes“
Look at Reach out to inform yourself about bullying. Click on the inform yourself tab and then click on bullying. http://ie.reachout.com/inform-yourself/bullying-and-personal-safety/what-to-do-if-youre-being-bullied/?gclid=CPrLiNuH48gCFWGr2wod6y4M-g
ISPCC-Always here for children- The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC) is Ireland’s oldest and most well-known children’s charity. The ISPCC has a long, proud history of service delivery and advocacy on behalf of children.
Barnados facts about bullying
Stop the Bully Ireland is an anti-bullying service which empowers people at all ages with the tools to effectively deal with bullying. Bullying in Ireland has become a serious concern . If you are a parent in turmoil about a bullying situation, a teenager who is having difficulty with others or a school who wants a program to educate, empower and really help their students then we can help you. Stop the Bully is the brainchild of one of Ireland’s leading anti-bullying figures Pat Forde. Pat has worked with bullying targets, families and schools all over Ireland empowering them with the skills and knowledge to effectively deal with bullying situations and also improve confidence, assertiveness and self-esteem.Pat Forde is a leading figure in the on-going anti-bullying debate in Ireland and has featured on RTE’s award winning television series Bullyproof and is a regular contributor to media debates on the subject. http://stopthebully.ie/
Anti-bullying Ireland website
On Tuesday 27th April 2015 AntiBullyingPro invited young people from across Ireland to Facebook’s European Headquarters to celebrate Anti-Bullying work in their schools and communities. This is their stories.
Anti-Bullying Ambassador Marcus Butler visits Newbridge College, Newbridge, County Kildare (April 27th 2015)
Do the people of Dublin think Bullying is a problem?
Dance group Diversity & Anti-Bullying Ambassadors stand up to bullying!
#ListenUpYouBullies Listen Up You Bullies, we’re the Anti-Bullying Team!
Anti-Bullying Ambassador and Pop Artist Tich’s tune provides the backdrop for this amazing anti-bullying performance by student Anti-Bullying Ambassadors at Springwell Community College.
Here is a song by One Direction. This song portrays how when you have some people that love you, no-one else can DRAG YOU DOWN!
Here is a song by Katy Perry called ‘Firework’. Fireworks is a very beautiful song that has a very powerful meaning. This song talks about revealing your true self to the world instead of keeping it a secret. It tells us not to be afraid of what we have and who we really are but to be proud of it. SHOW IT OFF! You are worth more than you think. You are an original. You cannot be replaced! Be proud of who you are and ‘own the night like the 4th of July’. You are your own person and every person is amazing in their own individual way.
Selena Gomez – ‘Who says’. Be proud of who you are. Do not listen to anyone that says anything negative about you. As Selena sings, ‘I would’nt want to be anyone else. I am no beauty queen, I am just beautiful me’.
Here is a positive song about loving yourself by Hailee Steinfield. Be proud of who you are and never let anyone change that.
Another song by Katy Perry called ‘Roar’.
‘ROAR’ celebrates the idea of being against the ropes in life until you make contact and come out the victor! Lyrically, the singer extends a boxing metaphor throughout and borrows from an ’80s rock song.
“I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire / ‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me ROAR / Louder, louder than a lion / ‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me ROAR.”
‘Eye of the Tiger’ is a song by Survivor, which was huge in the ’80s and used in ‘Rocky III.’ It focuses on triumphing over anything and anyone in life that hurts you. The lion is the king/queen of the jungle, and Perry is using that metaphor to the fullest. But it’s so easy to relate to, and that’s why fans have responded so passionately.
Taylor Swift – ‘Shake it off’. This song does not need an introduction. One of the most famous songs of this year. SHAKE OFF any criticism and move on. Do not let it affect you!