Cyber-Safety Series -- Cyber-Bullying

by Steven Fernandez, Flickr.comby Steven Fernandez, Flickr.com

Cyber-bullying – bullying conducted over the Internet, using e-mail, social networks, texting and/or attack websites – is an increasingly common problem, and could affect as much as 33% of young people. Lately, high-profile cases of cyber-bullying have been covered by the media, inspiring legislation and crackdowns. President Obama himself has made a strong statement condemning all forms of bullying. Luckily, there are many resources, both in the library and on the Internet, to help parents prevent and respond to this problem.

StaySafeOnline.org offers an excellent list of tips for cyber-bullying prevention and response, as does the National Crime Prevention Council. Check out the Cyberbullying Research Center for research and news about cyberbullying, as well as printable resources for school or home. Stop Bullying Now, a website of the US Department of Health and Human Services, is designed specially for kids, and includes animated videos.

For more information on cyber-bullying and bullying in general, take a look at these books and resources:
7 Ways to Block a Cyberbully and Cyber Safe: Identifying and Combating Cyber Bullies (DVD's).
Girl Wars
The Bully, The Bullied and the Bystander
And, for kids:
Stand Up for Yourself & Your Friends
Hot Issues, Cool Choices
Jay McGraw's Life Strategies for Dealing With Bullies

Whether you look at any of the resources above or not, here are some tips to remember:
1. Being involved in your child's online life and knowing what they do online can help prevent cyber-bullying from getting out of hand.
2. Know the resources available to you -- your school may already have an anti-bullying policy. Your e-mail, social network and cell phone providers probably have policies to respond to online harassment.
3. Remember, bullying is not normal, and no one should have to put up with it!

Young Naturalist Awards

Calling all Young Scientists!

Are you curious about nature and life science? Have you ever wanted to conduct experiments and research, just like the grown-up scientists?? Well then the Young Naturalist Awards might be right up your alley!

The Young Naturalist Awards is an annual contest put on by the American Museum of Natural History that encourages young scientists ages 7 to 12 to explore a question they have about natural science, make observations and report their findings on what they discovered. It is an essay contest that is designed like a real scientific study, focusing on the fields of Biology, Ecology, Earth Science and/ or Astronomy.

The deadline for the contest is March 1, 2011. There will be twelve winners selected for the contest, two from each grade. The winners are awarded cash prizes and an expense paid trip to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, the same museum featured in the movie Night at the Museum! They will meet with Museum scientists, take behind-the-scenes tours, and will be honored at an awards ceremony. Their essays will be published on the Museum’s Web site and excerpted in Natural History magazine.

The Ann Arbor District Library has many resources for any Young Scientists looking to enter the contest, including books on studying nature and exploring space and astronomy. We also have the Access Science database available to library patrons, which includes articles, biographies, definitions, images, and more from the online version of the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. The Stapp Nature Area is a great place to observe nature and it is adjacent to our Traverwood Branch.

For more information about the Young Naturalist Awards, including Rules & Regulations, How to Get Started and much more, please visit their Website.

Take Part in Art -- Mix It Up

Wings by Laineys RepertoireWings by Laineys Repertoire

Mixed Media Art combines more than one medium -- painting, drawing, collage, stenciling -- to make something unique and new. You can always visit the Art Table downtown to make some cool mixed media art, or you can follow along at home!

Making mixed media art is as easy as can be. Pencils, markers, crayons, interesting magazine pictures, paper scraps and paint -- you can use anything, in any combination! Think about combining different materials to make a picture, or tell a story -- or just have fun with patterns, colors and shapes. For more ideas, check these websites by Kinderart and PBS. An excellent and detailed introduction to mixed media is Donna Hugh's Collage Art For Kids DVD series. This series has four volumes, everything you need to become a mixed-media maestro!

Adults interested in making their own mixed media art can check out Creative Collage by Marie Browning, or maybe stop by the University of Michigan Museum of Art's Mixed Media Workshop Series. To learn more about two excellent mixed media and collage artists read Romare Bearden: Collage of Memories by Jan Greenberg and Ooh! Matisse by Mil Niepold.

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Exraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids

Parents

Why simplify? Because kids are more over-stressed, over-scheduled, over-medicated and over-anxious than they need to be. Kim John Payne teaches a path of reducing that stress by simplifying the home environment and the family schedules, creating rhythm and filtering out the adult world. Discover how to deeply nurture children through: plenty of unstructured play-time; regular meals and bedtimes; restricted screen-time; very few toys; and even a bit of old-fashioned boredom.

Ask yourself this about your activities and the state of your home life: does this contribute to the way we want to live? If you suspect that your child is not being nourished by the current pace and volume of modern life, let Simplicity Parenting help you evaluate the choices and guide you through some very powerful changes.

Fabulous Family-Friendly (Free) Flash Games

OrisinalOrisinalLooking for ad-free online games for your kids? Try Ferry Halim's website Orisinal for over 50 kid-friendly games that are beautifully simple yet challenging enough to keep players hooked.

The Great Pumpkin Says Let's Be Safe This Halloween

kidskids

Trick-or-Treating in Ann Arbor will be from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. this Sunday, Oct. 31. So let's review our Halloween Safety Tips and get our little ghosts and goblins home safe, sound and oh-so happy. Don't forget the extra-special Halloween Story Times this Friday at the Downtown Branch.

Children's Book Garnering Rave Reviews

Melody is a brilliant, funny, and stubborn 11-year-old who is restricted to a wheelchair by severe cerebral palsy. She can’t walk, move, or speak on her own. Doctors, teachers, and even her parents can’t determine how much Melody really knows or can learn. But Melody knows. She has been absorbing words, language, ideas, and knowledge her entire life, with the help of neighbor, Mrs. V, and her family.

Fifth grade provides an opportunity to leave the special education classroom for part of each day for some inclusion classes, where Melody hopes to make new friends and the Quiz Bowl team. She has high hopes that her new Medi-Talker computer device will give her thoughts a voice, and allow her to finally communicate with those around her. But fear, prejudice, and misunderstanding creep in as teachers and fellow students question her intellect and continue to isolate her. Yet, Melody perseveres.

Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper, is fiction recommended for grades 4-6. Draper's novel has received the trifecta of starred reviews from School Library Journal, Booklist, and Kirkus. Check the AADL catalog for the book’s availability, and feel the heartbreak, as well as the limitless capacity, of the human spirit.

Cyber-Safety Series -- Social Network Safety

Brian Solis Online by b_d_solisBrian Solis Online by b_d_solis

An ever-increasing number of people use social networks – Facebook for example boasts an impressive 60 million active users and 250,000 new registrations per day. As people integrate the internet and their social lives however, many are finding their personal lives become a little too public. Here are some tips and resources to help you keep your private life private on your favorite social networks.

1. Use a good password – A weak password (like ‘password’ for instance) is an invitation for someone to hack into your profile.

2. Don’t friend people you don’t actually know.

3. Check your privacy settings – Make sure you know exactly who can see what on your profile. You may be exposing more than you want to.
Facebook privacy tutorial.
MySpace safety page.

4. Don’t overexpose, literally or figuratively – Don’t display your full birthday, address, phone number or e-mail on your profile. Don’t say that you will be away from home, especially if you are on an extended vacation. Don’t post photos of yourself that you wouldn’t want to be seen by complete strangers. Don’t post anything that you wouldn’t say in front of a potential employer, because they may be watching.

5. Talk to your children about social network safety!

6. Read all about it.
Guides to the social web:
The Rough Guide to MySpace and Online Communities
MySpace for Dummies
Social Networking Spaces

Background on the issues:
Online Social Networking.
The Future of Reputation

For kids:
The Smart Kid’s Guide to Social Networking Online.

The Search for WondLa

Fiery explosions rip through the chambers of her underground home, forcing Eva Nine to escape through a ventilation shaft and begin her search for other living humans. Why doesn't her Omnipod recognize any of the plant or animal life on the surface? Who (or what) is chasing her, and why? Is Eva's robot Muthr okay?

The Search For WondLa hovers on the edge of steampunk and alien odyssey. Tony DiTerlizzi, author of The Spiderwick Chronicles, brings us into the richly imagined world of Orbona, a world that in many ways pays homage to the land of Oz. The quirky cast of characters picked up along the way during Eva's quest, the beautifully illustrated pages, and the "girl in a strange land" formula can all be seen in L. Frank Baum's famous Land of Oz series, the first books of which were written over a century ago.

DiTerlizzi has garnered some hot buzz for The Search for WondLa. In addition to being a great read, it is the first book of a planned trilogy, and rumour has it that there is already a film deal in the works. See it here first!

Hoist up the John B’s Sail

Sloop John B: A Pirate’s Tale, by Alan Jardine is a kid friendly book adaptation of the Beach Boys’ song “Sloop John B,” from the classic Pet Sounds album. The picture book is written by an original Beach Boy member, and features a young boy and his grandfather on a pirate’s adventure. Read the wonderfully illustrated book, listen to the new song version on the CD that comes with it, and get in a pirate mood.

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