Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Forever Never Changing by Zach MacLean-Szwez






Despite being medicated and have gone through therapy and many different alternatives, to say that I am free and clear of OCD would be a lie. This is a reality most people suffering from mental illness have to deal with. It isn’t like a cold that you may get over and over again, recovering in a couple weeks. It is with you everyday, we just try to find tools to be able to manage our thoughts and feelings to get through it and make it as easy on us as possible. The thing is there is a silver lining to dealing with our illness’ that we have been given. In some respect or another it has given us skills others have not honed because they were not put or forced into a position where they had to. I developed a photographic memory by having to remember exactly where people would touch if I thought their hands were “dirty”. I would avoid these spots and when somebody would ask me about it, I was giving exact timelines and locations of where and why they were contaminated to me. Naturally it is unhealthy for my illness but when it came to school it was a skill that became extremely helpful and allowed me to be a little relaxed when it came to note taking. Definitely not a good habit but it gave me the ability to actually be engaged in the classroom and really pay attention to the teacher rather than focusing on whether I got everything written down. 

Thats the positive I take away from my mental illness and I am grateful for it. I think being able to expose these qualities would be extremely helpful for one on one workers or individuals working with clients in order to motivate individuals to recognize the positive aspects of the condition. It is one thing to tell someone to think about everything outside of the illness to make them feel better, but to make the illness positive as well, then you’ll start to achieve something greater than acceptance. It could become an effective tool in treatment and also give the individuals an eye opening experience that may take some stress off always feeling like the world is against you. What do I know right? I don’t have a degree in psychology and I'm not a certified therapist but I have been through the system since I was a little kid which has shown me what works and what doesn’t. 

One of the greatest helpers that I had at the hospital never allowed me to believe I was different. He enforced that I had qualities others weren’t in touch with which made me the way I am, and he was right. It was the perfect way of explaining why I was acting the way I was, without telling me “you have a problem” or “you’re different, here’s a cocktail of pills to make you normal” . The thing is he made me feel included and that is what we as mental illness individuals as a whole, wish for. Not to be given “special” treatment but to be understood that sometimes we may need some more time or a little bit of help but we will get to the same place others are going we just might take the scenic route instead. 

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Educate Kids About Identity Theft - By Jenny Holt




Educate Kids About Identity Theft

It’s difficult to imagine that kids can become victims of identity theft, but a study at the Carnegie Mellon Cylab indicated that children are 51 times more likely to be targeted by identity thieves than adults.  Often, the unsuspecting victims find out that they have been victimized later when they start college, begin applying for jobs or credit. Parents are the first ones to unearth that their kids are identity theft victims when they receive suspicious bills or receive a pre-approved credit card for their child.

Protecting Children Under 5 Years

If your kids are below 5 years and are not using the Internet, it is your responsibility to be extra vigilant when it comes to giving out their personal information. Lock their Social Security number and birth certificate in a safe place. You should only volunteer the information when absolutely needed, such as school registrations or doctor visits. Think about setting a credit freeze for your child. Some financial companies offer the ability to lock and even monitor a child’s credit file. You should consider talking to kids about identity theft and how important it is to keep personal details private.

Teaching Identity Theft to Older Kids

Once kids grasp the concepts of theft, money, and identity (usually from 5-7 years), talk to them about the importance of safeguarding information. With the prevalence of children and teenagers using cellphones and increased online activity (92% of teens use the Internet according to Pew Research Center), protecting them from becoming statistics of identity theft is crucial. You can:
  • Educate them about the importance of the social security number, birth certificate or bank cards. Highlight what can happen if the information can get in the wrong hands.
  • Tell them never to post personal information online, especially on social networking websites.
  • Teach kids to protect devices with passwords and educate them on how to create secure ones. Passwords and PINS should never be shared.
  • Talk about possible scams that they might experience or encounter in the malls, school grounds, social sites, messages and emails.
  • Stress the importance of using safe sites and to avoid unsecured Internet zones.
  • Monitor the sites that your kids visit and restrict Internet surfing.
  • Install anti-virus, anti-phishing, or security software on devices.
  • Limit or scrap a data plan on your kid’s phone.
  • If your teenager has a convenience card, restrict the amount of money they can withdraw daily or monthly and monitor their banking activities regularly to see if there is something suspicious going on.
When children and teenagers are aware of identity theft and its dreadful consequences, they are likely to pay attention to what’s happening around them. Although it is not foolproof, reducing the chances of becoming a victim is already a step away from the clutches of an impostor.