Events at Beaumont Hospital to Kick Off Bullying Prevention Month in Michigan

Bullying often goes unreported by students in many schools across the country. Despite research findings that show bullying has significant long-term impacts on both victims and perpetrators, many young people are reluctant to speak up.

It is up to parents, teachers, counselors and youth advocates to learn the signs of bullying and know how to effectively respond to children and youth.

That’s why the International Bullying Prevention Association (IBPA), in partnership with Beaumont Children’s, is hosting the Michigan Bullying Prevention Conference on October 1, 2016. The event, scheduled at Beaumont Hospital’s campus in Royal Oak, will unite diverse groups of youth advocates to discuss bullying and peer aggression. They will also develop strategies and solutions to take back to their schools and communities.

Patti Agatston, Ph.D., a national cyberbullying expert and IBPA president, and Anne Collier, founder of the iCanHelpLine, will open up the conference with a keynote and discussion on “Cyberbullying and Digital Citizenship Strategies.”

Workshop topics include restorative practices, school climate, bullying and suicide, effective communication strategies, cyberbullying and legal aspects of bullying and many more.

Registration is $25 per person and includes breakfast and lunch. Professional development credits are available. Principals, teachers, counselors, liaison officers, social workers, school board members and those working in community agencies are encouraged to attend.

The conference will be preceded by a free event for parents and adult family members covering information and strategies specific to online safety. Karuna Nain, Facebook global safety manager, will present “Navigating the Social World with Your Teens — Insights from Facebook,” on Thursday, September 29. Registration is required for this event.

The Michigan Bullying Prevention Conference is sponsored by Beaumont Children’s, NoBLE (No Bullying Live Empowered) and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Additional support comes from the Michigan Elementary and Secondary Principals Association (MEMSPA).

For more information or to register for the conference, visit

Is It Teasing, Bullying or Something Else? Experts Across the Country Make the Distinction

In an effort to help parents and caregivers identify and address bullying, WedMD recently published the feature “What Does Bullying Look Like?”

Patricia Agatston, Ph.D., International Bullying Prevention Association president, and others across the country, offered their expertise in defining what is and what isn’t bullying and what can be done to identify and support children who’ve been impacted by it.  Read the full feature here.

Agatston, a national cyberbullying, will be among the speakers at the Michigan Bullying Prevention Conference, scheduled October 1, 2016, in Royal Oak, Michigan.

Registration for the full-day event is $25 and includes breakfast and lunch. The conference will be preceded by a FREE social media workshop for parents.  Karuna Nain, Facebook global safety manager, will present “Navigating the Social World with Your Teens — Insights from Facebook,” on Thursday, September 29. Visit the Michigan conference website for details.


Life After Bullying

Growing up, I was creative, social, mature and kind. Those were the adjectives I preferred to use to describe myself. But a group of kids in my class had a few other monikers in mind for me – weird, nerd, wannbe, Oreo and teacher’s pet.

I was teased, bullied and harassed almost daily from seventh to eighth grade.

In 2011 – five years ago this month – Cosmopolitan magazine published my story in the article “Being Bullied Changed My Life.” The article focused on women who were bullied as teens – before the digital age – and how the constant taunting impacted their lives both negatively and positively.

I shared my journey from excluded to empowered and the steps I took to overcome the drama.

After the story was published, I received emails and instant messages commending me for my courage. Empowered Flower Girl even gained 100+ Facebook fans/followers as a result.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to have shared my story publicly and encourage any who has overcome a challenge, obstacle or hardship to do the same. You never know whose life you might change or even save as a result.

Empowered Flower Girl encourages a shade-free summer

New campaign aimed at eliminating cyberbullying and relational aggression

No Shade Just SmilesWhether you call it “drama,” “beef,” or “throwing shade,” online conflict via social media is impacting the way young people communicate and relate to one another. Tension in and out of the classroom is being fueled by Facebook fallouts and Yik Yak attacks.

Empowered Flower Girl (EFG) advises youth and parents alike to monitor online interactions and behavior.

Results from a recent Wayne State University study found that 54 percent of youth were involved in online abuse.

This summer, Empowered Flower Girl is encouraging kindness and working to thwart meanness with its “No Shade. Just Smiles.” campaign.

“Parents and teens play a vital role in eliminating cyberbullying,” said Rasheda Kamaria, EFG chief empowering officer and founder. “If you’re experiencing conflict with someone, avoid sending mean text messages and posting shade-filled status updates. Have a conversation with that person if possible or if the situation is serious, seek help from a mediator.”

When there is a threat of violence or if a crime has been committed, call 9-1-1.

Seeking solutions to cyberbullying, drama, relational aggression or other social/communication challenges among teens in your school or community? Empowered Flower Girl offers engaging workshops, programs and content that tackle these issues.

For more information, visit Join the conversation with #NoShadeJustSmiles. “We want teens to break the internet with positivity,” Kamaria said.

Teens: Keep it classy online

Empowered Flower Girl helps parents navigate social media with Social Secrets workshop
Empowered Flower Girl helps parents navigate social media with Social Secrets workshop

I often wonder do teens truly understand the impact of their social interactions. In particular, how their online activities and interactions affect their chances of getting into college, hired for internships and scholarships.

With today’s competitive job market, teens should be conscious of their digital footprint. We’re not trying to thwart freedom of expression and opinion, but we encourage young people to think before they tweet.

Some corporations and even college admissions staff are turning to social networking to evaluate and recruit employees and students.

From posting expletive-filled rants and inappropriate photos to retweeting explicit lyrics from popular songs, we’ve seen it all.

As parents, aunts, uncles, mentors and educators we must have conversations with our school-aged relatives and students about how they’re using social media.

We encourage youth to use social media for good and as a learning tool. But we also have an obligation to help them become responsible, conscious social citizens.