Tag Archives: Megan Meier

Blow Out The Candles On Bullying & Cyberbullying For Good!

Hi Everyone!

During the month of November, Megan Taylor Meier would have been turning 23! That’s right 23 years old! Help us celebrate Megan’s birthday by giving your gift of $23 throughout November to help us achieve our goal of $23,000!

Why are we doing this?

Because over 160,000 students stay home everyday from school for the fear of being bullied. Because no one deserves to fall victim to bullies and live in constant fear that they will be tormented. Because no one deserves to feel worthless, left out, unimportant, and empty by the doing of an aggressor. The bullying and cyberbullying has gone on for too long and it’s time that we put an end to it for good!

Making your donation of $23 throughout the month of November will help the Megan Meier Foundation continue our mission to put and end to bullying and cyberbullying in our world, celebrate Megan’s 23rd birthday, and honor all lives lost to suicide.

 

Did you know that your donation of just $4.70 helps the Megan Meier Foundation impact ONE child who struggles with bullying and cyberbullying?

That means your donation of $23 will impact over FOUR children through the  Megan Meier Foundation! 

Head on over to meganmeierfoundation.org to make your donation of $23 or YOUR age in dollar amount and help us blow out the candles on bullying, cyberbullying, and suicide for good!

Thank you for your support!

XOXO

Megan Meier Foundation

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Cyberbullying on the Rise, According to Boston Study

Teenage Girl Being Bullied By Text Message

As the summer of 2015 is nearing a close, we must now look forward to the fall season and more specifically, the return to school for millions of children around the world.

For teenagers, this can be an exciting time to once again reunite with their friends, teachers/mentors, and social group in general. Many parents, on the other hand, battle a mix of emotions that range from excitement for their child to continue pursuing an education, to the fear of the unknown.

Right at the top of this “fear of the unknown” list is that parents need to constantly be aware of the issue of cyberbullying. According to the news and the media, cyberbullying is becoming more and more evident in our school systems, and parents often feel strapped with what they can legally do to prevent this for their children.

With public schools and colleges beginning in just a few short weeks, the city of Boston is doing what they can to raise awareness not only in the nearby New England states, but for the rest of the country as well.

The Boston Globe reports “a study of more than 16,000 Boston-area high school students suggests cyberbullying is on the rise, most sharply with girls as victims and abetted by the prevalence of smartphones among teenagers.”

The most alarming statistic found from the study was that the percentage of the students who said they experienced cyberbullying jumped from 14.6 percent to 21.2 percent over a six-year period.

“The percentage of girls reporting incidents involving bullying or harassment on forums such as websites and social networks shot up 10 percent, while incidents targeting boys increased 3 percent, according to the study. At the same time, reports of in-person bullying decreased by 3 percent over the period.”

Unfortunately, the harsh reality of a teenager’s life in 2015 is that there is no escape – when the school day ends, the threat of being a victim of cyberbullying is just beginning.

Studies such as this one in Boston show us that cyberbullying is not only a problem we’ve started to become aware of in recent years, but a problem that is becoming worse with each passing year.

For more information: https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/08/02/study-boston-area-teens-suggests-cyberbullying-rise/R4fQNCY13o4mrpe41dwagI/story.html


With your help, we can make a difference. Help end the fight against bullying. Join the conversation using the hashtag #StopBullying and #BeTheChange.

Be Your Own Kind of Change

Be the Change pledge

When you hear the words “Be the change you wish to see in the world”, what is it that you see?

Do you see a world with no discrimination? With no broken homes? With equal opportunity?

Throughout the month, we have been partnering with Ledbetter and taking a step back to determine what it truly means to “Be the change”. Truth is, to everyone, that change means something different – we ALL want to see something different happening in the world that we live it.

So when you ask yourself, “what is my change?”, what comes to your mind?

They say a ship is safe in the harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.

As we wrap up the month of July we are challenging YOU to become the change. You are the difference maker. The world changer. The change that this world needs to see. We challenge you to live out that change and sign our pledge to live a life that changes ideas, voices, opinions – to be whatever that change is that you need to see!

Take the pledge and live for better tomorrows by downloading your own here, then take a photo and share with us all over social media with #LedbetterCampaign and #LTBTC

A Good Deed Can Brighten A Dark World

Hey everyone! Throughout the month we have been challenging our followers across ALL social media platforms to take a step outside of their comfort zone and truly think about what it means to “Be the change we wish to see in the world” and in case you didn’t already know, the change is different for everyone!

To help us continue the positivity that has taken over social media, we’re now challenging you to begin that change with a random act of kindness, and don’t worry, it’s a lot easier to get involved than you thought! Below we have listed TONS of easy ways that you can make a huge difference is someones day or even their lives!

  1. Pay for someone’s Starbucks drink. If you’re anything like the girls in the office, you can’t go a day without your morning coffee! When you’re passing through the drive-thru, give the barista an extra $5 to use towards the next person’s purchase and we guarantee that you will start a city wide phenomenon!
  2. Help carry groceries. We’ve all seen someone walking out of the grocery store with arms full of bags or even walking up to their dorm or apartment trying to make it all in one load. Lend a hand and ask them if they could use some help getting to their door!
  3. Tip big. Anyone who’s ever worked in the restaurant business knows that there are definitely slow nights. You never know what your waiter or waitress is working hard to make happen so make somebody’s day by tipping them a little extra to show that you really do appreciate their service.
  4. Welcome new neighbors. Moving into a new home is stressful! Make the move a little easier and bring your new neighbors a home cooked meal or a pitcher of fresh lemonade to make them feel welcome and at home.
  5. Walk the dogs. If you see someone walking their pets in this summer heat (especially someone elderly) offer to walk a their pet for them so that they can get inside and out of the sun, or walk with them so that they aren’t alone and enjoy the company!
  6. Pick up your trash. Wherever you are, make someones life a little easier and take 5 seconds to pick up your trash when you’re on your way out.
  7. Support a friend unexpectedly. Moments, big or small, in anyone’s life can mean a lot to someone! Surprise a friend by showing up at their sports game, performance, or special event to show you care. P.S. you may get extra brownie points if you make them a sign and a cool drink!
  8. Help pick up belongings that someone dropped. No matter where you are, dropping all your things is embarrassing! Take a second to stop what you’re doing and help them gather their things if you ever see this happening near you.
  9. Share coupons. Raise your hand if you LOVE couponing! If you have extra coupons that you won’t use leave them in the grocery store aisle with the product for someone else, or hand them to the person behind you if you see that they have items that go with the coupons.
  10. Hold the door open. Call us old fashioned but this small act goes a long way! In a crowded space, let others walk through the doorway while you hold the door for them.
  11. Buy someone’s vending machine treat. Grab and envelope and tape money or coins to a vending machine (or leave your change) so that the next person to use the vending machine has their treat covered.
  12. Leave a note for the mailman or UPS delivery man. It’s the little things that go unnoticed more often than they should! Say thank you to the person that delivers your mail and packages every day to show that their services are recognized and appreciated.
  13. Leave a positive comment on someones social media. Whether you just comment to tell them that you like their outfit, or that their hair looks good, or even that it’s just a really cool picture – bring the positivity to social media! You never know how much a positive comment could mean to them!

What is there to wait for?! Get moving with your acts of kindness and share them with us using #LTBTC and #MMFRAK

Social Media: Oversharing and Privacy

cybersafeWe hear it all the time – we need to be cybersafe each and every day. What exactly, though, does being cybersafe mean? While formal definitions will vary, “cybersafe” can be summed up quite effectively as “the safe and responsible use of information and communication online.”

Unfortunately, the issue of safety on the internet doesn’t hit home with most people until they hear about a tragic story in the news or are informed of the eye-popping statistics that have been researched.

If you are an avid follower of the Megan Meier Foundation blog or have seen our #TipTuesday or #FactFriday weekly trends on Facebook and Twitter, you may have come across a few of these eye opening statistics in your community:

  • 42% of kids have been bullied online
  • 75% of kids have visited websites bashing others
  • 81% of teens think bullying online is easier to get away with than bullying in person
  • Only 1 in 10 teens tell a parent if they have been a victim of cyberbullying
  • Fewer than 1 in 5 cyberbullying incidents are reported to law enforcement

Or…

  • Save all the evidence! If you’re experiencing cyberbullying, take screenshots of everything. This gives you reinforcement if things start to get too out of hand.
  • Contact the police. Cyberbullying laws are evident throughout the United States today and police have the power to help you in such cases unlike years past.
  • Protect your accounts. Be aware that social networking outlets (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) have significantly improved their privacy policies over the years. Never share your passwords with anyone and don’t accept random friend requests from people you have not met.

But what is and isn’t appropriate to share online?

 At one point or another, we’ve all said or did something we wish we could take back. When we do it in person, sometimes we can get away with it because it is not documented. However, whatever you say on social media IS documented and can be used against you down the line.

With that said, here is a list of 5 do’s and don’ts (on a list of many) when it comes to what is appropriate to share online:

Appropriate

  1. Breaking/important news in the media.
  2. Vary your posts – be different and unique.
  3. Use humor! (As long as it doesn’t attack another person(s) or group.)
  4. Milestones and other important date related news.
  5. Photos/videos that capture the pure happiness of your life and won’t degrade others in any manner.

NOT Appropriate

  1. Your address and phone number.
  2. Personal finance information.
  3. Your password(s) to anything.
  4. Personal conversations.
  5. Photos/videos depicting illegal or frowned upon activity of any sort.

Keep your digital footprint clean and remember this golden rule: Your social media accounts are NOT a diary. Their purpose is not to feel compelled to share every second of every day with your followers. Think of it this way, if you already posted 15 photos and videos of the concert you were at Friday night, before you’ve even left the concert, what are you going to have to talk about when you see the rest of your friends? Chances are, they’ve already seen your photos, right?

Keep your private moments private and be aware when you find yourself oversharing personal moments, no matter how happy or exciting they may have been. Or as we like to say; hang up and hang out!

Protect yourself using your privacy settings in social media.

 One of the most important aspects of the social media experience is understanding the privacy settings of various networks and knowing your rights when using them.

Whether you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media network, there are rules and regulations that all individuals must follow, or risk facing the consequences.

When an individual signs up for any social networking account, they agree to be respectful in both what they post and the manner in which they communicate with other users.

Unfortunately, there are thousands of people who ignore these precautions set aside for the safety and enjoyment of others, and that’s when action needs to be taken.

Additionally, it’s crucial to the social media experience to know the difference between a public and private profile. More times than not, anyone who has a public profile does so without putting much thought into it (they are public by default), and the more aware/educated users manually change their profiles to private.

You can learn more about social media and how to make reports by visiting our website at the Megan Meier Foundation (links below):

Report Social Media     Social Media Help

Social media friends/followers – how important are they really?

 A huge friends/followers list is not all it’s cracked up to be. The person with 2,000 followers, has 2,000 people that are constantly aware of their every move through the use of social media and opens the doors to potential dangers down the road.

Think about this example. Let’s say Person A (we’ll call her Sam) has recently become a target of cyberbullying through the use of Facebook. Sam has 1,500 friends, the majority of whom he’s never actually met in person.

Although Sam has taken the right step to make his profile private, the truth is his personal information is still available for those 1,500 friends who he is friends with on Facebook. He can go through his list of friends and try to identity who may be attacking him, but that is surly a long, exhausting, and potentially never-ending and never-resolving situation.

Person B (we’ll call her Lauren) has 80 friends on Facebook, all of whom she knows through family, school, work, and recreational sports.

Like Sam, Lauren has a private profile but in her case, only those 80 well-known individuals have access to her information. Should Lauren ever become a target for cyberbullying, her awareness and decision-making to think ahead would benefit her greatly.

The bottom line: Becoming friends with people you have never met, nor will ever speak to on the social media pages does nothing to improve your social standing. Only add trusted individuals on these websites.

The internet and technology in general have opened so many doors for our generation, however, that hasn’t come without it’s fair share of challenges.

Most of the activity that the average person experiences online may seem innocent and completely harmless, but real-life dangers can always be just a click away.


With your help, we can make a difference. Help end the fight against bullying. Join the conversation using the hashtag #CyberSafe and #BeTheChange.

Where in the United States is Bullying Most Evident?

Written by Ryan Smith, Megan Meier Foundation Intern

blog 14 pic 1I came across a very interesting statistic while doing some research on bullying recently. The article, originally written in 2011 by author Michael Miller, informs us of the 5 states where bullying occurs the most often in the U.S.

For clarification purposes, we should first give a formal definition of the term “bullying.” Bullying is defined as the “physical, verbal, or psychological attacks or intimidation against a person who cannot properly defend himself or herself. It includes two key components: 1. Repeated harmful acts. 2. Imbalance of power.”

Before reading on and hearing what states the act of bullying occurs most often, I would challenge you to think on your own for a moment and consider your most educated guess. Do you think it is relative to the north or the south? The east or the west? Could it be your very own home state?

One thing that we are all sure of is that bullying occurs in every state in the U.S. With that said, here is the list of 5 most frequent in our country:

  1. California
  2. New York
  3. Illinois
  4. Pennsylvania
  5. Washington

It is important to point out that this data is recorded based on percentage of bullying incidents per state in relation to the total population, not necessarily the total number of examples overall (otherwise, states like Texas and Florida would crack the top 5).

You may asking yourself “does data that was collected in 2011 still apply today in 2015?” The image below is a much more up-to-date infographic which depicts, among other things, the worst states to live in for bullying K-12 in the U.S. (you’ll notice a consistent trend – look at the top right).

blog 14 pic 2

Raising awareness, while at the same time publicly expressing displeasure with the way particular state(s) are handling their bullying issues, is a great way to go about change. Nobody wants to say that they live in a state on the list of the top 5 worst of anything, so hopefully we can continue to make strides as a society as we head into the future.

http://www.cohoes.org/DASA/DASA.cfm


With your help, we can make a difference. Help end the fight against bullying. Join the conversation using the hashtag #StopBullying and #BeTheChange.

Derek Jeter – The Latest Athlete to Take a Stand Against Bullying

ST LOUIS - OCTOBER 25:  Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees reacts while speaking at a press conference announcing him as the recepient of the Hank Aaron Award before the start of Game Four of the 2006 World Series between the Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 25, 2006 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS – OCTOBER 25: Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees reacts while speaking at a press conference announcing him as the recipient of the Hank Aaron Award before the start of Game Four of the 2006 World Series between the Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 25, 2006 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Whether you are a fan of professional baseball or not, you’ve probably heard the name “Derek Jeter” before. Jeter was the face of Major League Baseball for 20 seasons beginning in 1995 and recently ending in 2014, all with the New York Yankees.

Unlike so many other athletes who have publicly taken a stand against bullying, Jeter never experienced bullying of any sort (direct bullying or cyberbullying) growing up or at any other point in his life. Regardless, his feelings on the issue cannot be taken lightly.

Shortly after becoming a professional ballplayer in 1996, Jeter founded the Turn 2 Foundation, a charitable organization established to promote healthy lifestyles among youth. Helping children overcome drug and alcohol addictions while rewarding academically achieving students are just a few of the contributions that have been made over the last two decades.

Needless to say, the world we live in today in 2015 is a much different place than it was in 1996. The way humans interact with each other, particularly through the use of cell phones and social media, has really changed the way we live our lives.

On Thursday morning (June 18), Jeter announced that he has become an investor in Stop!t, who aims to put an end to any form of bullying or harassment through the use of electronic devices. Their mission statement is as follows:

“STOPit is a simple, fast and powerful solution to report inappropriate behaviors, deter unethical or illegal activity, and mitigate financial and reputation risks to schools and corporations.”

In a statement shortly after the announcement, Jeter said: “The Turn 2 Foundation is dedicated to helping young people reach their full potential, and bullying is an obstacle that stands in the way of that for too many. By working with Stop!t, we hope to empower both bystanders and victims to put an end to bullying. This is a critical step in creating a clear path to academic and personal success for all students, and sends a message that bullying in any form is unacceptable.”

It’s truly refreshing to see some of the most iconic and recognizable names in our society taking a stand and making a difference when it comes to bullying/cyberbullying. The future is looking bright as long as we continue to raise awareness.


With your help, we can make a difference. Help end the fight against bullying. Join the conversation using the hashtag #StopBullying and #BeTheChange.

Bullying in School: Public Vs. Private

Written by Ryan Smith, Megan Meier Foundation Intern

blog 12 picture

For years now, we have known about the dangers of bullying for teenagers all around the world. Unfortunately, we have learned that bullying and cyberbullying are a part of the daily life for many students growing up in our school systems.

What we as a society tend to overlook is the bullying in public schools versus the bullying in private schools. For the most part, everything that we hear in the media (television, social media, etc.) is based on public school systems… but what about private schools?

To answer this question, a long five-year (2010-2014) survey was conducted. Roughly 185,000 students from both public and private schools participated in the study to help raise awareness on social trends. Here is what they found:

  • Anti-bullying policy was enforced more at private than public schools.

According to the survey results, bullying was taken a lot more seriously in private schools than public schools, with 45% of public school students reporting anti-bullying policies compared to 59% of private school students reporting the same. The most logical answer for this is typically private schools are smaller with more funding, whereas public schools are larger and have less freedom to implement new policies as they please. 

  • Private school students are more “accepting” of their peers than public school students.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics,  “homosexual and bisexual teens are more likely to report bullying, along with students having disabilities.” 47% of private school and only 36% of public school students who are viewed as “different” report being accepted in their environment. It’s fair to say that demographics plays a role in these trends, as public school students are much more diverse (52% white, 24% Hispanic, 16% black, 8% other) than private school students (72% white, 10% Hispanic, 9% black, 9% other).

  • Peer pressure is the same, no matter where you go to school.

Surprisingly, 50% of students in both public and private schools claimed peer pressure was a problem in their environment. One observation that can be made based on these results is that peer pressure in public schools has more to do with making friends and “fitting in” while peer pressure in private schools has more to do with competitive academics.

  • Social scene trends are more apparent in public schools.

Public schools tend to be more cliquey (52% of students say) than private school students (only 38%).  This may be because private schools generally have smaller class sizes and fewer social groups compared to the larger class sizes and more social circles that fill a public school.

So what does this all mean?

The biggest takeaway you should have after reading this is that bullying is evident in every school, no matter public or private, although there are different factors to consider for each.


With your help, we can make a difference. Help end the fight against bullying. Join the conversation using the hashtag #StopBullying and #BeTheChange

Understanding the Long-lasting Effects of Bullying

blog 10 picture

Over the last 10-15 years, society has started to realize some of the serious consequences that bullying can have on a person’s life. We know that victims face greater challenges than the typical individual in the short-term (for example, graduating high school), but what about the long-term?

About a week ago, Discovery News wrote a piece on a study done by the journal Lancet. They concluded, among other things, that “children who have been bullied are more likely to have mental health struggles later in life than children who are mistreated by adults.”

The study of 5,446 children surprisingly suggested that maltreatment by adults led to no more adverse effects suffered later in life than kids who hadn’t been maltreated. On the other hand, children who were bullied were far more likely to have mental health issues later in life compared to those who had not.

Taking a closer look, the study revealed some surprising information about children who were bullied alone:

“Children who were bullied by peers only were more likely than children who were maltreated only to have mental health problems … with differences in anxiety … depression … and self-harm,” the study said.

One valid argument against such findings is that children spend more time around bullies than they do abusive parents.

The study was wrapped up with this important note:

“Being bullied by peers in childhood had generally worse long-term adverse effects on young adults’ mental health. These effects were not explained by poly-victimization. The findings have important implications for public health planning and service development for dealing with peer bullying.”

Although the truth is disturbing, it’s refreshing to see people take the initiative to educate themselves while raising awareness for others in the process.  With continued studies and research on bullying, we can be confident that the world will be a better place for our youth as we move towards the future.


With your help, we can make a difference. Help end the fight against bullying. Join the conversation using the hashtag #StopBullying and #BeTheChange.

Former NFL Great Hines Ward is a Role Model On and Off the Field

Written By: Ryan Smith, Megan Meier Foundation Intern

February 26, 2015

Hines Ward, Pittsburgh Steelers Wide Receiver.
Hines Ward, Pittsburgh Steelers Wide Receiver.

For more than 14 years (1998-2011), Hines Ward showcased his incredible talent as a wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the National Football league. Some of his greatest accomplishments include being a 2x Super Bowl Champion, a 4x Pro Bowl selection, and having his #86 retired by the Pittsburgh Steelers organization.

While he is most recognized around the world as a standout professional athlete, the adversity Ward faced in order to achieve his dreams should not be overlooked. Born an Asian American and Pacific Islander  (AAPI) biracial left Ward a constant bullying victim in school. This is how Ward summed up his experiences as a child, the target of discrimination:

“The black kids didn’t want to hangout with me because I was Korean. The Korean kids didn’t want to hangout with me because I was black. The white kids didn’t want to hangout with me because I was both black and Korean.”

Ward goes on to say that sports was the one thing he could turn to growing up because sports are about winning and being a part of a team, regardless of race.

In 2010, Ward’s days on the playing field were coming to an end but his goals to make a difference off the field were just beginning. He was selected to serve on the President’s Advisory Commission, where he was one of 18 Commissioners to serve on the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

The story of Hines Ward shows that anybody can be a victim of bullying, but with the right mindset, overcoming even the most challenging obstacles in life is possible.  Today, Ward is still a prominent figure in the fight against bullying.

You can join the conversation and learn more about Ward’s story and AAPI bullying prevention on Twitter using the hashtag #AAPIstrong.


For more information on Hines Ward, his struggle with bullying, and his movement, please visit the following links: