On Monday, as I was leaving Sonic Drive-In after ordering a Route 44 Diet Coke, I answer a call and find it a little hard to understand the French man on the other line, even though he is speaking English. As I listen very closely, he tells me that the International Workplace Bullying/Harassment Conference Committee would like to invite me to come to Bordeaux, France and present a two-hour workshop. As I stop breathing, he mentions that Bordeaux has the reputation for being one of Europe’s top travel destinations because of the beautiful wine country and lavender fields. He continues with, “The conference will be hosted at a palace and attended by thousands of people from all over the world and I will have interpreters at my workshop.” I have to say that this is probably my most exciting and challenging speaking engagement ever and I feel very honored and doubly blessed. An extra bonus is that my sister has decided to accompany me, as she has never encountered the magic of traveling to and around Europe. My three nieces have asked if they could also come, and friends have mentioned the near possibility of being stowed away in my luggage. France—-Here I come!
As I was looking at some glorious ankle boots at Macys, my phone rings and I see that it is a New York area code. I quickly pick it up. I think I am going to pass out when I hear, “Good afternoon, Ms. Clark Love. This is a producer from Good Morning America calling to see if you have a moment to talk!!” Do I have a moment?? “Are you kidding me?” After grabbing a chair in the busiest part of the shoe section, I listen intently as the producer tells me she wants to send a film crew to Houston to interview me about the newest social media cyber bullying trend called, “Roasting”. This trend involves people asking to be insulted by posting photos or videos of themselves on platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and Reddit, usually with the hashtag #roastme. Then friends or strangers online will take turns insulting the person who posted the original photo/video.
When we hang up, I do a normal thing when one is called by a producer from Good Morning America… I scream and jump up and down!!! Of course this causes a raucous in the already chaotic shoe section. I then proceed to announce to perfect strangers that I was just contacted by Good Morning America for an interview to be on their show for a bullying segment. I was then surprised as people smiled and begin to congratulate me. This day had to be one of the high points in my career!! I left Macy’s with no new boots, but a definite spring in my step!
In February 2017, I consulted with and provided the most current research and candid interviews for Channel 11 KHOU-TV’s investigative Reporter Jeremy Rogalski for a weeklong series entitled, “If ONLY PARENTS KNEW…. This series featured an honest, heartbreaking and powerful look into how kids are engaging in cyber bullying behavior, what it is and how it is exposing our teenagers to cruel bullying, explicit content, dangerous situations and more. If you would like to see the footage of each broadcast, as well as take a bullying quiz, authored by myself, to find how much you know—or don’t know—about bullies in 2017 or you would like to know the tips for how you can monitor your kids’ online habits.
What an amazing experience to have the opportunity to again deliver a keynote and a workshop to a very large audience at the 26th Annual Texas School Social Workers Conference. The theme was “Transforming Generations”. School Social Workers have many challenges, including dealing with the rampant venues for cyber bullying. What does one do when cyber bullying spills into school? One cannot begin to address this issue unless one is equipped with a toolkit of innovative and practical interventions to combat bullying. Who would of thought that in our generation, kids would be using apps such as,” YikYak, kik, Chat-Roulette, 9Gag, Omegle, Vine and Whisper” to spread vicious rumors and post inappropriate photos/videos? Awareness is our first line of defense; we have to know what and how our kids are utilizing social media to escalate viciousness and terrorize other kids 24/7. Affronted by cyberspace’s bullying incidents, many school parents are looking to administrators, teachers, social workers and counselors 4 help. To all conference participants’, my hope is that you will take your toolkit and immediately begin applying what you have learned during this session, both on the school front, as well in your community!