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The first tweets? Audience goes wild. By the end? No one's laughing.

This parody of the popular sketch "Celebrities Read Mean Tweets" from "Late Night With Jimmy Kimmel" isn't funny at all. And it's not supposed to be.

The first tweets? Audience goes wild. By the end? No one's laughing.
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Bullying looks completely different in the digital age.

Back in the day, being a bully required size and/or confidence. Bigger kids with even bigger personalities had to do their intimidating in person, either in the classroom or on the playground. Essentially, the end of the school day also meant the end of the taunts and torments. These days, social media has completely changed the bullying game. Kids are plugged in to their smartphones 24/7, which means they have access to each other on networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat long after class ends. And while social media has proved to be a great way to make and stay in touch with friends, it's also a breeding ground for those looking to harass and torment others nonstop, all behind the veil of anonymity.

When teens are asked about their experiences with online bullying, the responses are quite scary.


Cyberbullying isn't just "kids being kids." The consequences can be extremely painful and even fatal.

Too often bullying is downplayed as just a part of growing up. And while bullying isn't new, in many ways online torments are even more painful because the Internet gives tormenters 24/7 access to their victims. Not to mention, once those nasty messages and photos are online, it's almost impossible to have them removed.

In recent years, numerous young people have taken their own lives after being tormented by their peers online. Amanda Todd and Tyler Clementi are just two of too many young people whose lives ended in suicide after struggling with online bullies. And in 2013, two teen girls were charged with felonies after a 12-year-old they had bullied on Facebook committed suicide. So while some kids are able to recover from being picked on, not every case has a happy ending.

What can parents do?

Sometimes there are clear signs that something is wrong, such as failing grades, irritability, insomnia, and unhappiness or depression. But many kids who are struggling with bullies are afraid or embarrassed to talk to their parents or teachers and instead keep it to themselves. That's why it's important for parents to talk to their kids and check in with them regularly so they know they have someone to turn to if something is wrong. Here are a few tips for parents to make sure their kids aren't dealing with bullies and aren't bullying others:

• Talk to teens about cyberbullying, explaining that it is wrong and can have serious consequences. Make a rule that teens may not send mean or damaging messages, even if someone else started it, or suggestive pictures or messages or they will lose their cell phone and computer privileges for a time.

• Encourage teens to tell an adult if cyberbullying is occurring. Tell them if they are the victims they will not be punished, and reassure them that being bullied is not their fault.

• Teens should not share anything through text or instant messaging on their cell phone or the Internet that they would not want to be made public — remind teens that the person they are talking to in messages or online may not be who they think they are, and that things posted electronically may not be secure.

• Teens should keep cyberbullying messages as proof that the cyberbullying is occurring. The teen's parents may want to talk to the parents of the cyberbully, to the bully's Internet or cell phone provider, and/or to the police about the messages, especially if they are threatening or sexual in nature.
bullyingstatistics.org






Thankfully, organizations like the Canadian Safe School Network, which created this parody, are working to increase awareness and find new ways to combat online bullying. Here's hoping that more parents, students, and faculty can work together to keep our kids safe online and give them the confidence to stand up to bullies online and off.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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