Creating great digital resilience

Originally Posted on 8 March 2017 by Myros Allegrelittle-girl-on-phone-2

Online Safety and the Importance of Building Digital Resilience

In today’s society, the online world impacts every child’s existence. With the reality of growing up in such a technological age, parents strive to protect their children from the potential risks and dangers they might encounter online.

Ofcom reports that tablets and mobile phones are the most popular devices used by kids to go online. This makes it more challenging for parents to have control over what their kids access when online. However, building your child’s ability to combat online threats and persevere is the best method to deal with the inevitable risk of a digital presence.

How Much Control?

It isn’t possible make a child’s online experience 100% safe. Social media is the center of the social engagement of tweens and teens, and while they generally tend to socialize with their real-life friends when online, they also have access to strangers.

Your children’s friends may also pose a risk: Parents can set filters and controls on each device their child uses, but their child’s friends may not have that level of protection. There is little a parent can do to monitor and control another child’s digital usage.

Building Digital Resilience

It is true that there is plenty of questionable content out there, from X-rated videos to forums full of hurtful, anonymous comments. Since there is no way to fully protect kids from being exposed to such sites, the best course of action is to build their digital resilience.

Digital resilience is a child’s ability to handle online stress, risk, and harm and to bounce back from these unpleasant online experiences. In order to learn how to manage these types of situations and bounce back from them, children must be allowed, within reason, to experience them. Without the firsthand knowledge, these children will not have the opportunity to learn how to manage risk.

Learning digital resilience is an ongoing process that involves children, parents, and the community. The best way to build digital resistance is to take a three-pronged approach, as follows:

  1. Preventing and reducing exposure to risk whenever possible.
  2. Focusing on resources that help foster resilience in children (e.g. online safety education programs).
  3. Supporting the natural ability of children to adapt, while strengthening the relationships children have with mentors, honoring cultural traditions, and encouraging healthy cognitive development.

Fully protecting a child from the harsh realities of the online world is impossible. Building a child’s digital resilience is the single best way a child can learn to cope with these realities so they can enjoy a healthy, vibrant childhood.

*Thank you to Myros Allegre for permission to share her article.

Feel free to leave a comment.

So glad you stopped by the Noracast!

 

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Three Weddings, a Castle, a Baby, plus Vincent van Gogh

Zane Grayson and the love of his life, Julia Emerson, have been held hostage by their author. Right smack dab in the middle of a rewrite, my main characters of Guardian 2632, a science fiction adventure, were silenced so life in Michigan could rage. And rage is maybe somewhat of an understatement.

Time. It can be both a blessing and a curse. My six, amazing children grew up way too quickly for me. That point aside, they are charismatic, loving people who have embraced this world with all it has to offer. Soulmates found, three weddings have come and gone. My sons, Ryan and Jordan, and my daughter, Rachael, have all married kindhearted, wonderful people whom enrich our family a great deal. So, welcome to the family, Chelsea, Bree, and Courtney! And on top of the weddings, baby Levi came into this world September 3, 2015. His parents are Jordan and Chelsea. Words cannot express how adorable or precious he is!

If you know my children, enjoy their Facebook pages and their lovely wedding photos! Out of respect for their privacy, I did not ask to post photos here.

Wedding gifts are also important, and my children agreed to share one of their gifts from me here, at the Noracast. I wanted to give each of my children a painting to commemorate their special day. Jordan is still pondering his chosen subject matter, but Ryan/Bree wanted the castle at Disneyland where they were engaged, and Rachael/Courtney chose Large Plane Trees…by Vincent Van Gogh (B: 1853-D: 1890).

Cinderella Castle, oh so beautiful, was no problem to paint because Ryan and Bree were there to capture it for me.

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Vincent Van Gogh—interesting man and, he’s one of my favorite artists of all time. His use of color, especially that cool blue, and brush strokes that have a life of their own, captivate many observers. Do take a minute and read about Van Gogh here.

Back to Large Plane Trees. This copy was completed during my family’s 10th relocation, so some of my sanity was literally infused into the brush strokes, which may or may not be a good thing. Each evening after work, I would squish out paint onto my chosen palette…a large cookie sheet covered with parchment paper, and mix away. I completed the wedding gift for Rachael and Courtney the night before I had to leave Michigan for Taneytown, MD. Rachael and Courtney got married at Antrim 1844 Country House Hotel. It is a fabulous place about twenty minutes outside of Gettysburg, PA.

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It must be noted my copy of Large Plane Trees is not the exact size of Van Gogh’s. One of the copies I viewed online is 28 7/8 x 36 1/8 (inches) and another is a postcard 5.6 x 4.25 (inches). My canvas is 24 X 30 (inches).

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The weddings have concluded, baby Levi is doing great, Cinderella Castle has a new home, and Van Gogh is no longer my nightly companion, so Zane and Julia here I come! Out of the frozen wasteland your author banished your plotline into must dissolve, because a creative frenzy is where you both belong. A new novel has taken shape as well, and quite a few poems are coming together too.

Vincent van Gogh said, “For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.” It is time to let my dreams scream.

Feel free to leave a comment. Thanks for visiting the Noracast!

 

 

Science Fiction Writing Contest: Beyond Time

beyond_timeInkitt’s latest Science Fiction writing contest “Beyond Time” open for submissions!

Inkitt is a free writing platform that aims to help writers achieve their fullest potential. On June 22nd the site launched a new Science Fiction writing contest:

Beyond Time

Submit your most imaginative and fantastic Science Fiction stories! Take your readers on a journey; ride a spaceship, explore an extraterrestrial universe, travel through time – the possibilities are endless and the universe is yours. Be spellbinding, be world altering, and let your imagination run free.

Contest guidelines

Authors will retain all rights to any and all works submitted in the contest.

Original stories of any length are accepted.

Entries must be posted on the Inkitt contest page to be considered eligible.

The contest opens on June 22th and closes on July 27th.

The contest is completely free to enter.

The top 10% based on reader votes get the chance to be picked by the Inkitt staff for 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize.

All entrants will have the chance to show their work to a rapidly growing community of authors and readers hungry for high-quality fiction.

Submit your stories here: www.inkitt.com/beyondtime

Thanks for visiting the Noracast!

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Inkitt’s latest Horror writing contest “END GAME Come Play” open for submissions!

Inkitt is a free writing platform that aims to help writers achieve their fullest potential.

END GAME Come Play

Contest Guidelines

Submit your scariest and most menacing original horror stories! Petrify us with tales that will trap and drown us in your world of helpless terror, but somehow leave us itching for more. Come. Play.

Authors will retain all rights to works submitted to the contest.

Original stories of any length are accepted.

Entries must be posted on the Inkitt contest page to be considered eligible.

The contest is completely free to enter.

The contest opens on July 13th and closes on August 10th.

The top 10% based on reader votes get the chance to be picked by the Inkitt staff for 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize.

All entrants will have the chance to show their work to a rapidly growing community of authors and readers hungry for high-quality fiction.

Submit your stories here: http://www.inkitt.com/endgame

Thanks for visiting the Noracast!

BRAIN FREEZE REMEDIES

Brain Freeze FinalCold. So frigid where I live, that at times—even my imagination, which is usually hyper crazy and difficult to contain, was stopped dead during creative rages due to being iced. Yes, I layered my clothes, walked around carrying steaming hot tea, and became seriously attached to my portable heater, yet my bones and brain remained as numb as a corpse. Not fun, this I do realize!

Now, don’t get me wrong…there is much beauty found when the white fluff surrounds  e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. I do believe while the earth sleeps beneath its natural blankets of white, many who are outdoor adventurists are thrilled, but this year, with all too frequent -20 degrees below zero stints, I wished February away.

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On the bright side, thanks to my son being a musician (violin & guitar) and constantly Invinciblelistening to music on his phone, I discovered some inspiring tunes that overtook the chill in the air. Some of the music he replayed quite a bit, sounded faintly familiar, yet other tracks were completely new to me. As you’ll see, his tastes run the gamut from melodic sounds that are peaceful to full blown, epic arrangements which helped spark some fresh ideas for a few of my characters. Ah, well…the music also led me to charge ahead like a bat out of the bottomless pits and “do away” with a particularly horrible character who had it coming. Nasty fellow… For example, one of my favorite finds is Heart of Courage from the masterminds at Two Steps from Hell. It’s from their outstanding album Invincible.

If your creative flare, expressed by writing, painting, composing music, or any other outlet is in need of a lift, a reason to soar into unexplored territory, then visit the links below and discover how awesome imagination can be…

dragon 1 finalEnjoy!

You Tube: TWO STEPS FROM HELL

Website: TWO STEPS FROM HELL

You Tube: AUDIOMACHINE

Website: AUDIOMACHINE

You Tube: The Piano Guys

Website: The Piano Guys

You Tube: Lindsey Stirlinga world final

Website: Lindsey Stirling

You Tube: Luca Stricagnoli

Website: Luca Stricagnoli

Have you listened to some awesome music you’d like to share? Feel free to comment. Thank you for visitng the Noracast!

Preventing Toxic Stress

Preventing TS 5Stress is a normal part of life, and it can motivate people toward reaching goals. However, it can, especially in young children, hinder mental, social, brain, and personal development since humans are not born automatically instilled with the most productive ways to deal with stress.

What is toxic stress? An informative place to start is (CDCHU) Center on the Developing Child/Harvard University.  The definition provided there is…“While moderate, short-lived stress responses in the body can promote growth, toxic stress is the strong, unrelieved activation of the body’s stress management system in the absence of protective adult support. Without caring adults to buffer children, the unrelenting stress caused by extreme poverty, neglect, abuse, or severe maternal depression can weaken the architecture of the developing brain, with long-term consequences for learning, behavior, and both physical and mental health.”

Stress is our body’s reaction to being overstimulated, feeling threatened, overwhelmed, being uncomfortable with new places and people, and stress can be brought on by too much excitement too. If stress is not managed properly, it has the potential to lead to a damaged immune system and lifelong health issues so says the Psychology Foundation of Canada. Tantrums, nonstop crying and whining, violent outbursts, a relentless sense of being tired and withdrawn, headaches, trouble eating/sleeping, bad habits like biting nails, hair twisting, and sucking thumbs have the potential to develop if toxic stress is left to wreak havoc upon a child—a child who wants to trust family members and teachers.

The Psychology Foundation of Canada emphasizes, “Preschoolers can handle stress better Blog kids 2when they have a healthy, balanced lifestyle with good food, lots of time for physical activity, play and relaxation, and daily routines that make their world feel predictable and safe.”

Negative Impacts from Stress

Mental Development

If everyday stress and/or chronic long term stress are left to simmer without intervention, logic tells us ABCs, 1-2-3s, and all other knowledge needed to mature travel a longer, rougher terrain to get inside of a child’s mind. If a child is stressing over a bully waiting for him/her outside on the playground, or stressing about his/her mother’s reaction to a teacher’s note, basic survival kicks in. The ABCs and 1-2-3s pale in comparison.

Social Development

If everyday stress and/or chronic long term stress persist, undesirable behaviors might manifest, like becoming that bully on the playground, tantrums, inflicting self-harm, loud outbursts, or a child shutting down to become anti-social is a real possibility. It’s crucial for strategies, routines, and action plans be in place that children are aware of to decrease the chances of stress damaging their social development.

Personal Development

If everyday stress and/or chronic long term stress become too acceptable for a child, what personal goals will be disregarded because surviving is more important? Maybe a child desperately wants to learn to read, but constant teasing about it feeds a negative message about school, so that child gives up. Parents, teachers, and caregivers can reduce stress so children feel safe in their environments, safe to learn.

Toxic stress can be prevented through awareness, education, and resources made available to anyone in need of them. Keep in mind…

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that “many adult diseases should be viewed as developmental disorders that begin early in life and that persistent health disparities associated with poverty, discrimination, or maltreatment could be reduced by the alleviation of toxic stress in childhood.”

  • Risk factors for children to become exposed to toxic stress “include examples of multiple stressors (eg, child abuse or neglect, parental substance abuse, and maternal depression) that are capable of inducing a toxic stress response (AAP).”
  • Stress-induced alterations in the design of a child’s developing brain can have possible permanent effects on a range of important functions “such as regulating stress physiology, learning new skills, and developing the capacity to make healthy adaptations to future adversity (AAP).
  • “Impaired parenting—defined as harsh, inconsistent, or indifferent parenting—is known to be related to poor developmental and emotional outcomes in young children, says the National Center for Children in Poverty.
  • Resources like Prevent Child Abuse America, National Center for Children in Poverty, The American Academy of Pediatrics, The Psychology Foundation of Canada, school counselors, social workers, and child welfare programs can assist parents/caregivers, teachers, and the community to protect children from toxic stress.

The more parents/caregivers understand about the development of children, the better equipped they will be to get their children off to a good start. Pediatric doctors, schools, child welfare programs, and the community all have the potential to impact this issue. Take time to learn about toxic stress, and then spread the word!

Please feel free to comment, and share this post.

Thanks for visiting the Noracast!

Welcome Victoria Vane to the Noracast!

JEWEL OF THE EAST

(The Devil DeVere #5) 

Victoria Vane

Having once lived his life only for larks, laughter, and ladies of easy virtue, Captain Simon Singleton has returned from the war with the colonies a shambles of a man. Now free from six years of captivity, he’s still fettered by irrational fears that confine him to a life of seclusion.   

Once the crowning jewel of the most lavish brothel in London, the exotic Salime finds her reputation and livelihood destroyed by a bitter rival. With a closely guarded secret stripped away, Salime fears no man will ever desire her again. Seeking aid from one who once saved her life, Salime accepts a proposition to repay her debt by becoming a companion to his war-scarred friend. 

 Circumstance brings these two damaged souls together; but fate ignites a love story worthy of the Arabian Nights.

EXCERPT (in which the stage is set)

         Medford Abbey, Kent- 1785

A sharp rap soon sounded on the door. Ludovic, Viscount DeVere glanced up from his periodical to the entrance of a liveried footman. “A message for you, my lord.” 

The servant offered the wax-sealed missive on a silver salver. “It was delivered by a most…unusual…courier.” The footman gave a sniff of disdain.

“Indeed? What do you mean?” Ludovic asked in a bored drawl.

“‘Tis a behemoth blackamoor, my lord.”

“Mustafa?” Ludovic threw down his periodical and snatched up the missive. “What the devil?”

“He awaits in the kitchen. Insufferable rude creature he be. Just stands all akimbo. Refuses to speak or to depart without an answer from your lordship.”

“The man cannot speak. He has no tongue. They took it when they castrated the poor devil.”

The footman’s eyes bulged. He involuntarily crossed his legs. Ludovic broke the seal and scanned the contents with a deepening frown. 

Most honored Efendi,


It is with the greatest humility that I appeal to he who once safeguarded my life. It is with exceeding distress that I must entreat you once more, being much in need of a friend and protector. 


Your most devoted and obedient servant,

Salime

Ludovic read the cryptic note once more. Salime in want of a protector? What a sticky situation that created. At first he wondered why she’d appealed to him, but then again, there were few people she trusted. Given their shared history, he would never deny her aid. Moreover, Salime had been instrumental in helping him to achieve his present state of connubial bliss. For that alone he owed her his undying gratitude.

“Tell him I shall be in touch with his mistress shortly…and that she should notify me at once should her circumstances become any more…distressed.”

“Aye, my lord.” The much-chagrinned footman departed.

Ludovic glowered after the departing servant. Salime had never been in want since coming to London. He wondered what could be behind her request, but then abandoned both letter and the dilemma the moment another surprise came bursting into his library. “Ned?” Ludovic leaped up to greet his best friend. “What the devil has brought you all the way from Yorkshire to Kent?”

“I have most portentous news, DeVere,” Ned sputtered with excitement. “News I could hardly relay by messenger. So I came down myself.”

“What kind of news? Out with it, Chambers,” Ludovic commanded.

“Mayhap you should pour us a drink first.”

Ludovic lifted a sardonic brow. “A drink? Not so urgent after all?”

“‘Tis fortification you’ll need for the shock you’re about to receive.”

“Shock? Me? You know I am not easily shocked, Ned.” Ludovic paused with his hand on the brandy decanter and a slight frown marring his face. “Come to think of it, I’m damned if I can recall a single occasion that has wrought from me such a profound reaction as shock.”

Ned flung himself into Ludovic’s favorite chair. “There’s a first for everything, DeVere. Now that drink?”

Ludovic sloshed amber liquid into two glasses, handing one to the would-be herald, who downed it in one draught. Ludovic quirked a brow.

“It was a devilish long ride,” Ned explained.

“All to deliver this shocking report of yours?” Ludovic perched a hip on the corner of his mahogany desk.

“Yes! It’s Lazarus all over again!”

“Lazarus? Am I to surmise that someone has been miraculously raised from the dead?”

“Actually, he might as well have been,” Ned declared. “I can hardly countenance it after all this time.”

“You are trying my patience, Ned.”

“It’s Simon. He’s returned.”

“Good God!” The glass slipped from his hand to shatter at Ludovic’s feet. “You can’t mean Sin is alive after all this time? He was pronounced killed in action six years ago.”

“I mean exactly that!” Ned exclaimed. “He is indeed alive and may even be in London as we speak. I have the news straight from Baron Singleton. His ship was expected to arrive several days ago.”

“Why am I only hearing of this now? I see the bloody Singleton regularly at Parliament.”

“Probably because the good baron doesn’t like you, DeVere. He believes you were an abominable influence on his son.”

“Then he would be right.” Ludovic smirked and then stared at the shattered glass at his feet. 

“Looking a bit white there, my friend. This is known as shock.”

“Admittedly, I am incredulous. How can this be? Where the devil has he been?”

“Interned as a prisoner of war for the greater part of six years.”

“Six years? In all that time there were no exchanges?”

“Very few. The colonials refused to give up ours when they claimed their men were only released on the point of starvation and death. I daresay ’tis no exaggeration. I’ve seen a number of reports on the deplorably inhumane conditions of our prison hulks. Indeed it’s said that the colonial prisoners set fire to the Whitby, choosing to go down in flames, rather than die of starvation and disease.” Ned shook his head. “What a hellish business war is.”

“But if Sin was a prisoner, he should have been released nigh on a year ago when the treaty was signed.”

“Apparently he was too ill to travel. Only made it as far as Bermuda before he was struck with the bloody flux or some such and required months of convalescence…poor sod.”

“We must go to him, Ned. At once.”

“He’ll not be the same man,” Ned voiced what they were both thinking.

“No,” Ludovic shook his head. “Likely never again.” 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Victoria Vane is an award-winning romance novelist and history junkie whose works range from wildly comedic romps to emotionally compelling and intensely erotic romance. Victoria also writes historical fiction as Emery Lee and is the founder of Goodreads Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers and the Romantic Historical Lovers book review blog. Look for Victoria’s sexy new contemporary cowboy series coming in summer 2014.

DeVere Fan Site: http://thedevildevere.com

Facebook: Author Victoria Vane

Twitter: @authorvictoriav

THE

DEVIL DEVERE SERIES AWARDS AND ACCOLADES

A Wild Night’s Bride (book#1)

The Virgin Huntress, (book#2)

The Devil You Know (book#3)

The Devil’s Match, (book#4) August 2012

fence 3Quite a while ago, before my brain was frostbitten, the poem below was published for a holiday issue of Soul Engravings.

Recently, I came across it and had to smile because it reminded me of how this blasted winter storm in Michigan, with its unforgiving icy prisons and below zero temps has affected the attitudes of many people around me.

***

Frozen Decadence

Usually, I can force
all who have desires to hastily drink up
and drown in a spiral of never-ending wants.
I can lick souls to death and catch hope on fire;
it’s almost too easy, but someone has to do it.
Most days, the game of manipulation brings
forth sparkling innocence, which I shred to pieces
with only a glare of sugary lust.
I can blind those who would otherwise give
and I can deafen those who habitually listen.

But, alas…when the autumn air chills
and snowflakes fall upon my misery,from aaron ice2
I seek refuge for a smidgen of time and freeze.
Strange red and green balls of light
drape over my power and weaken me.
Silver and gold tinsel, surely infused with optimism,
strengthens my everyday victims; they do not feel me.
Quite foreign to the likes of me, hope rules without fear.
I am left abandoned in an abyss of frigid solitude
where I fester until ‘tis the season is over.

True, in the poem hope rules, but heavens! Has anyone noticed the winter blues…more like blustery grays, have saturated optimism and replaced it with negativity dipped into chilly dispositions? A friend of mine got her little car stuck in a huge snow drift and since no one stopped to help her, and her cell phone refused to work, she walked about twenty-five frigid minutes back to her home. Even with all of her winter attire, she said it took hours for her body to warm up.

ryan outside2Now, almost the same thing happened to my daughter, although she had the good fortune of a neighbor with an awesome truck to assist. So, yes, not all is lost! I like to think this visit from Jack Frost will not completely destroy hopes and wishes for 2014.

Many stories swirl around in my head most of the time, yet I’ve never introduced “weather” into the storyline as a driving force. Sure, weather conditions are in my stories, and a demonic storm does attack Jake Cottrell in The Twelfth Paladin much to his dismay. This latest bout with Jack, with his mind numbing temps, skin slicing wind, and so much snow cars disappear into drifts has inspired me to use weather much differently. Too cold, too dark, day after day and then maybe into months…what might happen to people not used to it, like me? I hate being cold! I sip on either hot chocolate or hot tea all day and night. Just the warmth of it helps, you know?

If your imagination is held captive by Jack, don’t let him triumph! Consider how the weather might enrich a story or poem you are working on.

• Frosty temps with snow, ice, high winds, loss of electric, and gasoline shortages lead to desperation settling in. How will your characters react? Can they hunt for food? Did they plan for a disaster, or were they caught off-guard?
• It’s so cold your characters no longer feel their limbs. Starving, who will survive? Who stands out as the leader, and who falls well below everyone’s expectations? Are any of the characters willing to sacrifice big time for others?
• Possibly, a character once believed to be mundane, weak, or simply irresponsible is the one who has the smarts to rise to the occasion and think his/her way to beat Jack at his own game. Or, turn this around. The supposed genius of the group proves to be unable to function once fighting for basic needs comes to play.

Have the harsh winter conditions changed your attitude? If so, what prevents your spirit front2from ice overload? Have you considered using the weather as a character in your work? Feel free to share!

Off I go! It’s tea time.
Thanks for visiting the Noracast.

*Also a big thanks to Aaron and Ryan for the lovely pics!