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Study Reveals Children view Cyberbullying differently from Bullying

AscentiveCyber safety tips from the Ascentive team

University of British Columbia research comparing traditional bullying with cyberbullying finds that the dynamics of online bullying are different, suggesting that anti-bullying programs need specific interventions to target online aggression.

“There are currently many programs aimed at reducing bullying in schools and I think there is an assumption that these programs deal with cyberbullying as well,” says Jennifer Shapka, an associate professor in the Faculty of Education at UBC who is presenting this research at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) annual meeting in Vancouver.

“What we’re seeing is that kids don’t equate cyberbullying with traditional forms of schoolyard bullying.  As such, we shouldn’t assume that existing interventions will be relevant to aggression that is happening online.”

Shapka is presenting a study that involved 17,000 Vancouver, B.C. students in Grades 8 to 12 and a follow-up study involving 733 Vancouver, B.C. youth aged 10-18.

Results of the studies show that about 25-30 percent of youth report that they have experienced or taken part in cyberbullying, compared to 12 per cent of youth who say they’ve experienced or taken part in schoolyard bullying. However, “Youth say that 95 per cent of what happens online was intended as a joke and only 5 per cent was intended to harm,” says Shapka. “It is clear that youth are underestimating the level of harm associated with cyberbullying.”

According to Shapka, the findings suggest that in cyberbullying adolescents play multiple roles – as bullies, victims, and witnesses – and “downplay the impact of it, which means that existing education and prevention programs are not going to get through to them.”

“Students need to be educated that this ‘just joking’ behaviour has serious implications.”

Being victimized online can have consequences for a person’s mental health, developmental wellbeing, and academic achievement, according to Shapka. In extreme cases, there have been reports of suicide.

Traditional bullying, or schoolyard bullying, is often associated with three main characteristics: a power differential between bully and victim, a proactive targeting of a victim, and ongoing aggression.

Shapka says, research is beginning to show that cyberbullying does not necessarily involve these three characteristics. Traditional power differentials – size and popularity – do not necessarily apply online. There also seems to be more fluid delineation between the roles youth play; it is not unusual for an individual to act in all capacities – bullies, victims, and witnesses – online.

Previous work by Shapka and her colleagues has shown that in contrast to traditional bullying, cyberbullying is rarely associated with planned targeting of a victim.

A number of Internet safety campaigns suggest parents keep an eye on their children’s online activity but Shapka says this kind of micro-managing can undermine healthy adolescent development.

“An open and honest relationship between parents and children is one of the best ways to protect teenagers from online risks related to cyberbullying, Internet addiction, and privacy concerns related to disclosing personal information online.”

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10 Key Marketing Techniques for SMBs

AscentiveBusiness tips from the Ascentive team

Small business owners are notorious for ignoring marketing efforts. But if you are not spending time and money to market your business, then you are ignoring a critical success component. You need to invest at least 10 – 20% of your time in marketing. You may feel concerned about losing revenue if you do this, but revenues will increase as you invest more of your time and resources into your plan.  Here are some guidelines and ideas to get you started:

Create a Marketing Plan

First, document what marketing techniques you’ve successfully used in the past and expand on them, creating variations on your techniques. Then plot the time it takes to execute those techniques on a calendar, creating a marketing plan. A simple marketing plan always includes a list of marketing practices and a timeline.

Face-to-Face Networking

Most SMBS will benefit by creating relationships off-line regardless of the type of business you run. To meet like-minded people go to classes, lectures and other events that interest you. Keep your eyes and ears open at the grocery store, coffee house and other local establishments. Look into your local Chamber of Commerce and networking groups to see if those are up your alley as well.

Cold Calling

Buy a list or hire a college student, bring on an intern, or have an assistant compile a list for you. Begin by writing a script and giving intention to your call. Know what you wish to achieve; a face-to-face visit, permission to send information, to close the sale or send a free sample.

Telemarketing

If cold calling on your own is not an option, consider hiring a professional telemarketing firm.  A few hours a week can garner one or two solid leads for you. Depending on your business, this is a simple and sure way to increase revenues.

Social Media

Use Social Media to ask questions, express interest, get to know people.

Podcasting

Having your own podcast puts you in the position of the “expert’ and also helps you to expand your horizons. Promote your show via social media, your list,iTunes, in your blog and via your guests’ lists. Create special offers to bring traffic to your site and to build your list.

Guest blogging and inviting guest bloggers

If you are not blogging yet, do. This again, is a long term investment – you probably won’t see results right away, but they will come. Comment on other blogs and contact popular bloggers who also target your audience with ideas for their blog, offering to write for them.  You will gain subscribers and expand your audience. After you build your following invite popular bloggers to do a guest post on your blog. They will bring followers, many of whom will stay.

Follow up with your list and past clients

There is plenty of untapped business with existing customers, past clients and prospects. What can you upsell? What special offers can you promote? How can you recreate yourself or your product to spark new interest?

Ask for referrals

If you recruit the assistance of your clients your practice will grow. Supply them with materials to forward or hand to their friends and family. Make it easy for people to spread the word about you.

Consistent Messaging

It may take time for your marketing efforts to have an impact and prompt a significant response. We all have different “buy’ triggers and have to be in the right place emotionally and financially before we buy. Market frequently and be consistent in your key message.

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How to Write an Article

Writing tips from the Ascentive team

The ability to write an article is one of the most important types of writing skills that a professional writer could possibly possess. After all, newspapers and blogs employ more writers than any other writing industry. If you’re a writer, then you need to learn how to write a newspaper article quickly. Here’s how:

The Topic

Exactly what are you going to write about? Brainstorm for ideas if necessary. When writing an article for a newspaper or blog, you may even wish to refer to requested topics for ideas from an editor. It shouldn’t matter that the same type of article had been written before or not, just think what you want to write.

The Headline

All good newspaper articles start off with a good headline that will entice the reader to follow up and read the whole article. Your title also might need to be shortened depending on what kind of space has been allotted for your article. For online magazines and publications, you should find an enticing title that will tell them about the key idea of your article, but mention that it contains a “surprise” or a “secret.” These two words drive more clicks than you can possibly imagine, and work very well for driving people to your articles.

The Body

For the body of the article, you need to find some good quotes from interviews. Nothing brings people in like quotes. It will make your article more personable and give it a human quality, plus it allows you to break the flow of facts. There should be no more than three sentences per paragraph. If you have more to add about a particular topic, you should revisit it after a relevant quote or at the end of the article. In a newspaper your article will be cramped into a corner and put in thin columns, so writing with short paragraphs will look more appealing and readable. Be sure to cover the “who, what, when, where, why, and how” of your subject. Most news articles are between 200 and 500 words. However, newspapers typically quantify the amount of writing in terms of inches, so ask your editor how many inches he or she requires, and how many words that equates to approximately.

The Picture

Your article should always include a picture. A captivating picture will make or break your readability. Without a picture, your article looks dry and unimportant. Pictures also improve your search engine rankings.

The Blurb


Finish your article with a good one or two sentences introduction of that will interest the reader and give them an idea of what the article will be about that can be used as a blurb.

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