The Effects of Cyber Bullying in Adolescents

Luciana Pesce, Chile

All the teenagers in our society have a mobile phone that allows them to be permanently connected in social networks, but if used incorrectly also can bring serious problems. Nowadays cyber bullying occurs  very frequently with teenagers. This a very substantial problem because this can lead to depression, anxiety, impotence and even suicide. Cyber attacking can be very bad for the person affected by this, because it influences their self-esteem and spreading rumors and intimidation is nothing good. Also this type of bullying is particularly worrying because it is constant, general and very, very public.

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Firstly,  cyber bullying can occur at all times and affect the mental health of adolescents  to have depression and isolate themselves from their responsibilities, family and friends, leaving them helpless to the insults directed towards them. To show that, many teenagers end up committing suicide since they can no longer live with the insults, or being humiliated, and even the harassed cannot afford to rest from the fear when they arrive at home or anywhere else away from the environment of their stalker.

Furthermore, once published, the content shared on social media and instant messaging applications become uncontrollable, making it impossible for the victim to know who the message has reached or if it will be repeated. As a result of this, the harassed person does not know when or by whom he will be bothered, generating anguish and the desire to end everything around him to feel relieved.

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Finally, the victim hides his situation as a result of the shame, until he even think that he is to blame for what is happening to him, and think what they say about him is true. This leads to parents not knowing what is happening to their child, and that they try to solve it without any positive results. If the parents knew, they could solve it with psychological or even legal help, getting beneficial results for their child.

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As I said before, cyber bullying is very bad, but there are some ways to prevent it. The first one is to talk with the kid about what is cyber bullying, if he knows someone who is being bullied and what the child should do if notices acts of bullying. Secondly, parents should monitor social media activity, including Facebook and Instagram, view all text messages, call logs and general online behavior.

There is no simple solution to cyber bullying or the best way to handle a bully, but, since cyber bullying is rarely limited to one or two incidents, it’s far more likely to be a sustained attack over a period of time. But you can handle it with not blaming yourself, do not beat yourself up, try to view bullying from a different perspective. Report the threats of harm.  Do not seek revenge or do not respond to any messages or posts.

Why Danes are The Happiest People on Earth

Louise Mohr, Denmark

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Again this year the Danish people are dominating the World’s Happiness Report and ranks among the top three happiest of 155 countries surveyed. On the other hand, the U.S. is with a four-spot drop, ranked 18th this year.

So why is it that these pastry-loving, LEGO building people are winning the happiness race? And how do they compare to the States?

The Danish welfare state works.

Danes pay some of the highest income tax rates in the world (45% on average), but, in exchange, every Dane gets free health care, free K-college education (the students are paid approx. $900 a month by the government to go to school), highly subsidized child care and generous unemployment benefits.

Some might lift an eyebrow over the high tax-rate, but the Danes don’t look at the tax rate as a burden, but as an investment in our society and quality of life.

If you lose a job in Denmark, it’s not a big deal. Unemployment is built into the system. This is in connection to the “flexibility model”, which, quickly explained, is a system built on freedom for employees. The government programs retrain workers and position them better for the job market. By doing this, we create strong connections and also provide a guaranteed safety net, giving unemployment benefits for up to two years.

The government also has a great retirement system, providing for the elders over 65+ population through a combination of state-founded pension and private employer-funded pension programs. This not only relieves the stress for the elderly, but makes them feel secure about their retirement.

Here’s a video that explains further: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=095ULhvaH5E

The perhaps most important aspect of the Danish culture is “hygge”, which they value as a cultural construct. It refers to high-quality social interactions. It’s used as as a noun, adjective or verb, and events and places can also be “hyggelige” (hygge-like). “Hygge” is most commonly translated as “cozy”, but is more an intentional intimacy, which can happen when you have safe, balanced and harmonious shared experiences.

“Hygge” is the Danish sense of well-being. Although Denmark is a highly individualized country, “hygge” promotes egalitarianism and strengthens the trust between people. It’s fair to say that “hygge” is fully integrated into the Danish culture psyche and culture.

But Denmark is not the only  country that has a concept similar to hygge – the Norwegains have “koselig”, the Swedes “mysig”, the Dutch “gezenlligheid” and the Germans “gemütlichkeit”.

The U.S. also places a high value on individualism, but there’s no real cultural equivalent of “hygge”. Income is generally associated with happiness. Even though the GDP is on the rise and the unemployment has been declining, levels of happiness in the U.S. have been steadily decreasing.

The U.S. income also continues to be an issue. There’s been a marked decrease in interpersonal trust toward institutions like the government as well as the media.

At it’s core, “hygge” is about building trust and intimacy with others. Americans could probably use a little more of that in their lives.

As a Dane in America, i find the the lack of free healthcare the most problematic. The United States reminds to be the only industrialized country in the world that fails to provide universal healthcare for all citizens. The concerns regarding this are significant and continues. Most people here are scared to get sick, and because of the high cost they avoid the doctors. American healthcare is the source of innumerable issues for many, both those withe and without coverage. These issues are not limited to the financial prospect, but has a far-reaching influence on their quality of life, psychological stability, and fundamental happiness for society at large.

After spending 3 months here, i can vouch for the rudimentary differences between America and Denmark. The divergences extend beyond policy, logistics or political agendas. There is a complete different feel to the place, a different tone to the culture on a fundamental level. I truly believe that America could learn something extremely vulnerable form the danish culture, if they had the trust to do so.

How to Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Luna, Belgium

Having a healthy lifestyle starts with a healthy mindset. You need to be in peace with yourself to be able to have access to that stable lifestyle you want. It’s all about finding that balance between self-care and allowing yourself to have a treat. It is important to know how your body works and how to improve your way of living.

The motivation and will to become healthy comes from within and you are the only person controlling your body. If you really want it, go and get it. It is as simple as that. You have to find certain sources of motivation to keep track of that lifestyle you want to achieve. As long as your mindset is in a good place, you will be, too !

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One of the first things that is crucial to know and that you’ve probably heard a billion of times is drinking water. It makes you feel cleansed 24/7 and it is recommended to drink 180 ml per day. It will keep your system going and your skin clear!

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Eating healthy always sounds so boring and like it’s something you have to endure, but it is way more easy and delicious than it sounds. You can find tons of easy recipes online that are so healthy and really tasty. Another way to achieve health in general is finding healthier options for things like butter, sugar and other harmfull products we might use a little too much. Coconut oil, Agave syrup are way better options for those two examples. Try to include plant-based products as much as you can in your diet because those are the most beneficial food sources you can eat. Vegetables and fruits are really important but, they’re not the only ones out there ; quinoa, all kinds of rice, grains, beans, lentils … are  fibers and protein sources that are so easy to make, way healthier and better for the environment than meat or fish.

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After you get your diet down and decide which kinds of food are working for you and your inner body, you need to focus on your body image. That is where exercise will become part of your routine. Try to find ways you like to exercise because going to the gym is not always a pleasure for everyone. Dancing, hiking, yoga, swimming sounds like fun to me and are really nice activities you can do with other people.

Finally, you need to see this as a better way of living and not a restrictive way of living. You need to enjoy it in order to maintain it. That’s why balance is the most important thing. You should be able to treat yourself, but have a healthy lifestyle in general.

https://www.pickuplimes.com/

 

Instagram Food Culture

 

Ramona Kramer, Switzerland

Instagram. There is basically no person in our generation who hasn’t heard that word yet or who even doesn’t use this app. In June 2018, there were nearly 1 billion monthly users and 500 million daily active users – with an upward tendency. Over half of the users are between 18-24 and on an average day, 80 million photos are shared.

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Admittingly, I use Instagram every single day and I love to look at new profiles. Especially in the last few years, I’ve noticed that there are a lot of fitness accounts coming up, posting pictures of healthy food and promoting new weight loss products on a daily basis. This can be great for inspiration and motivation, but it can also put a lot of pressure on young, influenceable users that think they also have to eat perfectly healthy all the time in order to get the “perfect” body. Every Fitness Instagrammer pretends to know what’s best for everyone. For example one says only to eat vegan, the other one to cut out bread and gluten, the other one to eat 1,000 calories a day, etc. This can be confusing and lead people into a dangerous direction of a wrong self image and an obsessive lifestyle.

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I’ve been influenced by this trend before and I know some other people who have changed their eating habits because of Instagram. So, I was wondering how many other young females have had that experience with Instagram or if and how they are affected by this trend, positively or negatively. To get more information, I created a survey with questions related to this topic and I sent it to females, all between the age of 17 to 19. The answers were quite interesting.

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Out of 10, only one of the surveyed people doesn’t use Instagram. The rest are on this app multiple times daily. Only one person follows no account with posts related to healthy food, the others do, and half of them have already tried out a food recipe from one of these pages. Contrary to my expectations, no one has ever bought a weight loss product promoted on Instagram. Still, almost 70% feel pressured to eat healthy seeing these pictures and 30% even feel bad when they eat food that is considered “not clean”. One of the young women gave an interesting answer to the question of whether or not she sees these posts as an inspiration or bad influence. Her answer was: “As long as it is about healthy lifestyle, I see their posts as an inspiration. I don’t like posts about how to lose weight because I don’t feel like I have to lose weight, but the posts make me feel insecure about my body.” This is also where I see the biggest issue: This influence can make us suddenly feel bad about ourselves for things which seemed normal to us before.

Posting these pictures can’t be stopped and as long as Instagrammers want to be inspirational, it also shouldn’t be stopped. Still, there should be more focus on what makes you feel good and happy rather than what could lead you into an obsession with food and fitness. We forget so fast that the people who post these pictures are only human as well, and everyone can post his healthy salad and eat a cookie afterwards without sharing the dessert with the world. What you see on social media is never the whole truth, it is just segments of a life and everyone can decide what they want to share and what not to. So, in conclusion, try the healthy oatmeal for breakfast, but also enjoy your In n Out Burger without worrying about it.

Why is loving yourself so hard nowadays because of social medias?

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by Lea Barras, France.

I have to admit, sometimes I lose confidence in myself when I spend too much time on social media sites. But, even if most of people don’t admit it, I think that nowadays it is common for everyone, especially for teenagers and young adults. Indeed, nowadays, social medias are everywhere and everyone has an Instagram, Twitter or Facebook account. Event though these sites are really useful and have a lot of positive aspects, sometimes they can also have a lot of negative impacts, especially when it comes to self confidence and loving ourselves.

For example, when we are scrolling our Instagram page, we’re always seeing perfect girls with perfect bodies in perfect places. Also, with the famous hashtag #goals, we always see pictures of #couplegoal, #lifegoal, #friendshipgoal etc. In fact, these kinds of posts can have a really negative impact on our way of loving ourselves. Indeed, we start to compare and to wonder why we do not have that kind of body or why we don’t travel as much, why we are still single, why we do not have that much money etc. Then, we start to post pictures or posts just for people to like them because we always want to be the one with the most of likes etc. But when we don’t, we become sad or question ourselves, thinking it’s our fault or  that we are not enough.

We are used to see celebrities, such as Selena Gomez (in the picture below), who have the most liked pictures on instagram (she has sometimes more than 8 million likes) or influencers who always seem to have the perfect lives. In the end, it has been proven that these habits damage a lot our self confidence.

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Indeed, for 60% of people, social medias have impacted their self-esteem on a negative way. Let’s see the 3 main reasons why loving ourselves has become so hard because of social medias and the 3 main attitudes we can use to resolve this problem.

3 mains reasons why loving ourselves has become so hard because of social medias : 

  • Most of the photos we can see on social medias are retouched. 

Indeed, often when we see a picture on internet, it’s not real. The photo has certainly been retouched to fit the beauty standards that society has imposed on us today. Nowadays, women should all have perfect bodies, which means thin legs but with curves, tanned and clear skin, long beautiful hair, but this is not reality. We can’t be that “perfect” and this makes “normal” people,and especially teenagers, feel bad about themselves and having complexes about their physical appearances.

  • Famous people on the internet always show the best sides of their lives. 

People rarely talk or post about what’s going wrong in their lives or about their insecurities and fears. They only show the best that’s happening in their lives. That gives us the feeling that they have perfect lives with no bad days or struggles, whereas in fact it’s not true. Everyone has bad days or struggles with something. So we have to remember that people on social medias only show us what they want to and that we don’t know what happens in their lives behind the camera.

  • The constant run for Likes. 

Nowadays, Likes are more important than everything else. Everyone wants to be the one with the most Likes on his pictures. This leads to people being ready to do anything to achieve it. Indeed, sometimes we post things more for others (because we know it’s the kind of poses or pictures they like) than for ourselves. In the end, we don’t even like the things we post, but we post it because it’s the “trend”.

3 main solutions for being able to still love ourselves while being active on social medias :

  • Don’t compare.

“Personality begins where comparison leaves off. Be unique. Be memorable. Be confident. Be proud.” is a quote by Shannon L. Alder that we should all keep in mind when we’re using social medias and start comparing ourselves to these perfect girls in photos. Indeed, the only person we should compare ourselves to is ourselves because that’s what matters the most to us and that’s the most important for our own self-image. By doing this, we can only do better, whereas comparing with others on social medias can only bring us negativity because we’re different people so we’ll never look like them.

  • Trust your own timing. 

Everyone’s timing is different. Indeed, if your bestfriend is in a relationship and you’re not, that doesn’t mean that you “suck” or that you’re not beautiful or funny or anything enough to be in a relationship too. It just means that it’s not the right time for you. We shouldn’t pressure ourselves to be where other people are now in their lives because we do not have the same timing, and something that is good for someone now is maybe not good for you at the same time. Also, everything happens for a reason so we should just relax and appreciate life as it comes and not worry too much about the things we can’t control.

  • Remember that perfection doesn’t exist. 

Lastly, we should remember that perfection doesn’t exist because we can’t always be in a good mood, or being well dressed all the time because life comes in waves : one day you’re fine, the next day something is bothering you and it goes on and on like this. So we have to remember that it happens also to the perfect girl you see on Instagram, it’s just that she chooses to not show it to the world. Also, perfection is subjective : your definition of perfection is maybe not the same as the person sitting next to you, so you can’t be perfect for everyone. You should only try to be perfect for yourself and that’s enough.

Bibliography :

 

Social Medias: Suggestions for Teens’ Everyday Life

Maria Pia De Felice, Italy

Social medias are nowadays’ most popular apps on our mobile phones. If you’re not subscribed to at least one famous social media, you may look strange to others and they may judge you (for example, saying that you’re asocial). As well, if you have very few photos posted on your profile, they may think that you’re ugly and that you don’t want to show yourself.

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But whatever you do, you can be judged by the community: for example, people may not like what you post and could make fun of you when they are looking at it. As well, someone could use your photos pretending to be you!

After talking about all of this… Are social medias worth it? Are they a good way to interact with people, or are they just a waste of time?

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First of all, in order to avoid letting someone use your profile, you must put it in private mode: what does it mean? You can “lock” your profile so that others can’t see your profile without your permission. If they want to, they can send you a friend request, then you can accept or decline it. I recommend you to not accept strangers’ friend requests, but just your friends’ ones.

Another thing I recommend for your own security is to not post intimate information about your friends, family and yourself, such as your address, your email, your mobile number. The same suggestion goes for your photos: never show parts of your body that nobody should see!

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Social medias are a good way to meet and chat with people you used to know, or that, at the moment, live far away from you. So you must know that if you’d like to keep in touch with them, social medias are the best way to do it!

At the end, remember that everything you do is your own choice: the world is free and you can do whatever you want, but these suggestions are just for your safety!

If you want to go deep into this topic, check the video below!