How Social Media Helps Heal the Pain of Tragedy - #HumboldtStrong

Late Friday April 6, 2018 afternoon, I was reading my twitter feed when I saw a post from a news outlet that advised the Humboldt Broncos team bus was involved in a serious crash in rural Saskatchewan.  Like many others, I used social media as my primary source of information as the details of the accident unfolded.

This tragedy has united our country in grief.  We are all in shock and our hearts are broken for the players, coaches, victims, emergency workers, families and communities affected by this horrific accident.  For many we turned to social media to express our sadness and support on social media.  The tributes and condolences were shared from all over the world and created a bond that shared grief, love and hope.  

We have found a public way to share our sadness and sorrow, and to offer gestures of condolences.

Social media has allowed us to learn more about the victims and survivors of the accident.  Their stories circulate through photos and videos online like this A photo showing three of the survivors lying in their hospital beds holding hands was shared thousands of times on social media.  

Some of the survivors of the accident are using social media to share their recovery stories and to thank people for their support and encouragement. Earlier today, the official @HumboldtBroncos Twitter account tweeted:

"We see you. We hear you.  We love you. We are all #HumboldtStrong"

Since the accident, we have seen people share their tributes online using hashtags such as #HumboldtStrong, #SticksoutforHumboldt, #JerseysforHumboldt, #PrayersforHumboldt have take over Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in the hundreds of thousands.  

People have shared their photos of themselves wearing sports jerseys to remember the Humboldt Broncos players and staff. There are pictures from schools, workplaces, little kids, families, seniors, people of all ages, backgrounds, and nationalities. There are videos at sporting events and hockey games with the crowd chanting in unison, "Let's Go Broncos" and there are images of hockey sticks with green bows left on porches across our country and around the world.  These may seem like small gestures, but collectively it is POWERFUL to see.

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Social media has created a way to organize help too, including:

- raising funds like the GoFundMe account which has now surpassed 10 million and continues to grow.

- Organ donation and blood donation saw a huge increase of over 500% - many social media users say the donation on Humboldt Broncos defensemen Logan Boulet's organs inspired them to become donors.

The role of social media during tragic events has become vital to keep people informed and connected during tragic events like these.  Whether the incidents took place at the Boston Marathon, the Paris bombing, the Las Vegas Shooting, the Orlando nightclub shooting or like this accident in rural Saskatchewan, the world is using social media to connect online to try grieve and move forward collectively.

I believe social media will be critical to help support and inspire the survivors of this tragic accident in the future too. Use social media as a positive force to help you connect with others. Taking small actions can help us move forward in times of tragedy - share how you are touched by the stories on our Facebook page , register as an organ donor, donate blood or make a donation to the GoFundMe Campaign

Fortnite: Is your kid playing this game? What you should know.

If you are the parent of a tween/teen boy, chances are you have heard about Fortnite.  It is an action video game that reminds me of a cross between Minecraft and the Hunger Games.



My son, started to play this over the Christmas holidays with his friends online, so as part of our family agreement about new technology, he has to explain it and play it with me first before he is allowed to go online on his own. This is the first "shooting game" he has been allowed to play. Up until now, his main interests were always sport games like NBA 2K, Minecraft and Rocket League.  

It is important to point out that Fortnite isn't just a "shooting game, in fact, it is more a game about how to survive.  There is very little violence, and no blood when a player is shot.  However, there are guns and grenades etc, so if you are sensitive to that, you would not approve of this game. Players can build and work 

My son has lots of his school friends online playing, so he is allowed to use the chat feature so they can strategize. If your child is younger, you may want to turn the chat feature off. I actually view the opportunity to connect with his friends online as a positive one.  If your kid plays on a gaming console like mine does, you have the ability to connect only with people you know.

My biggest concern is the amount of time kids can spend online playing this.  This weekend, for example, we had a massive snowstorm and were pretty much stuck inside for 2 days.  He played about 4 hours online on Saturday which is much longer than he is normally allowed.  I would suggest you discuss what a reasonable time limit is, and then be clear with how much time is allowed.

Recently, Good Morning America did a segment on Fortnite:

The game is available on PS4, Xbox One, Windows and Mac.  The game is free, but it encourages players to buy upgrades and in game purchases for extra "loot" (but these are not required).

I recommend that you watch a video of people playing on Youtube (a good channel is by DanTDM , or in the gameplay mode if you decide that you will allow your kid to play this game. Based on other reviews I have read about Fortnite, it seems that if your child is 10+ you could consider this as an option to check out.

We aim for balance and moderation:

1. Homework completed

2. A chore 

3. Fortnite

4. No more technology one hour before bed

What about your family?  What works for you?  Please share below or on our Facebook page 

Interview: The Morning News with Gord Gillies - Taking Fear out of Parenting in the Digital World

Gord Gillies, host of QR 77 Calgary Morning Show chats with Nancy Smith, Author Social Citizens: A Positive Approach to Social Media & Parenting in a Digital World and teaches Social Media and Digital Marketing at Mount Royal University, the University of Calgary and for the Canadian Marketing Association.  Click to listen now

Help! My Apple Account Was Hacked

Have you ever had any of your accounts hacked?  I have only had had it happen once before, and it was an awful experience.  It was a Facebook page I managed for my job, and we had over 500K followers.  Someone hacked in and started posting very offensive pornographic photos.  Luckily, I was able to detect the invasion within half an hour and changed my password immediately.  This stopped the hack and I was able to delete the offensive posts.

But, last night my Apple iTunes account was hacked and someone downloaded $245 worth of apps/tv shows/movies!!


You've been hacked.

True story, this happened last night.  An email from the apple at 9:17 pm last night that said,

Your Apple ID  was used to sign in to iCloud on a Windows PC.Date and Time: March 7, 2017, 8:17 PM PST Operating System: WindowsIf the information above looks familiar, you can disregard this email
— Apple

Reflecting on this now, I remember thinking "I didn't login on my computer...." but I did nothing about it.  I got a 2nd email about 30 minutes later confirming that the new episode of of my favourite TV show This Is Us was now available on my Apple TV.  "That makes sense now, that is probably what it was"

Except it wasn't.  When I woke up this morning I had 4 more emails from Apple.  This time saying I had added someone to my family sharing plan, named Jingsan.  

The other emails were all receipts for the purchases the hacker made using my account totally $245!!

This is what I did next, and what you can do too if you ever have this happen: 

1. Change Your Password. Go to the Apple ID login page, and change your password in the Security settings of your account. Be sure to select a strong passwords  (minimum of 8 characters) combine uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and other symbols.  I get that this is a pain to keep track of all the complex passwords you must have, but trust me, it is necessary.

2. Check what devices you have connected to your account. All the devices will be listed under the Device section of your account. If you see one that you do not recognize, click Remove, and this will automatically sign that device out of your account. 

3. Confirm that all of your personal details are accurate and have not been changed. 

Keep scrolling down on that same settings page to find the Account section. Be sure to review all the information in this section very carefully to see if any new phone numbers or email addresses have been added to the account. If they have, remove them immediately by clicking the Edit button on the far right side of the screen. 

4. Check your purchase history. This is where I discovered the purchases I had not made.  I reported each of them immediately by clicking "report a problem" next to the item 

I also contacted an Apple representative on my desktop computer using their chat function. Within 15 minutes, the situation was resolved, my account was refunded and the hacker no longer had access to my account.

Has this ever happened to you?  I would love to hear your story and how you managed it.

Learn more about what Apple says about security and your Apple ID here.

What is is a free social media platform for creating, sharing and discovering short musical videos.
— website
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Lipsynching to your favourite song has always been popular, but in the past year has become a part of our mainstream media thanks to celebrities like Jimmy Fallon and his epic lip sync battles with other celebrities. If your child loves music like mine does, then no doubt they have asked you if they can have the app  Rolling Stone magazine just published an interesting article  about how many big pop stars including Katy Perry are using the app to release new singles.

What is it? 

The app is a video platform that lets users create, save and share videos up to 15 seconds in length.  You can select music or other or quotes from movies/tv shows etc from the online library and then film a video of you with this as the "soundtrack".  There are lots of special effects you can add including fast and slow motion, filters, time lapse and duet capabilities.  The app essentially lets users be creative and express themselves.

Here is an excellent overview that Common Sense Media created: 

When you watch a video you can:

  • Like it (by clicking on a heart) 

  • Leave a comment ( prompt you by "say something nice")

  • Share the video on Facebook (and Facebook messenger), Instagram,

  • Report abuse

The terms of service state that users must be 13 years old to use this platform.

If you decide to let your child use, here are some things I think you should know:

  • You need to know their account name and password.
  • You should create an account for yourself too so that you can follow your child and see the videos they share.  
  • Set the account settings to Private (the default setting is Public).  When private setting is turned on it will hide the location from other users and only permit friends private messages.  To access the privacy setting you click the "wheel" in the upper right hand when you are on the user profile page.  Next, click "settings", scroll down to "privacy" and move the switches for "private account, hide location info, and only friends can me" to ON.
  • Routinely check who is following your child and ensure both of you know all of the followers. Also check what accounts your child is following to ensure the content is appropriate.  Remind your child that you can check their account any time you want to make sure they are safe and using the app appropriately.
  • Know that not all of the songs are appropriate for kids and may have explicit lyrics.
  •  Discuss with your kids what you deem is ok and not ok for filming.  For example "no filming in your bedroom"

Be aware of the dangers of using apps like this too.  Google it, there are no shortage of stories of pedophiles using this app...

Why I let my kid use

My kid has an account.  I monitor it all of the time, and I review who he follows and who is following him.  We have not had any negative experiences to deal with so far.  What I love about the app is that he is super creative and he is having fun.  I am amazed at some of his videos and have even joined in on a duet with him a couple of times.

Ultimately, the choice is YOURS whether you decide to allow it or not.  Let me know what you think!