7 Ways to Encourage Body Positivity

Studies show that by the time kids reach pre-adolescence “tween” years, 40% of girls consider themselves overweight. 45% of boys and girls in grades 3-6 want to be thinner. And 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat.

Body positivity is a sensitive topic to address with children. Their experiences with self-esteem and body image are often fraught with mixed messages from their social environment and media. But with support from parents and loved ones, it can be achieved.

We’ve compiled 7 strategies to help you not only set the stage for your kids to have a positive and healthy experience with their bodies, but address any concerns or worries that do come up. 

1. Do Unto Others As You Would Do For Your Child

Kids learn not only from how you talk about yourself, but also from the way you speak about others. Comments like “They look too skinny” about others can send them mixed messages and derail your efforts.


2. Focus on Abilities, Not Looks

Our bodies are beautiful and strong, and have endless capabilities. Celebrate that in your child! If they’ve accomplished something great, focus on what they’ve achieved and how they felt about it.

3. “Fat” Isn’t Necessarily “Bad”

It’s important to recognize and show our children that one size doesn’t fit all bodies. Being thin isn’t the priority, being healthy is.

4. Recognize Your Own Baggage

Before opening a dialogue, it’s important to self reflect and own the background that you’re coming to the conversation with. Your feelings surrounding and experiences involving your own body image affect how you discuss the subject with your child.

5. Be Open And Listen

A simple, yet incredibly important tip. Sometimes, more than lessons or knowledge, kids need a safe place to come to when they’re struggling. Being that place and being open to whatever they have to say will give you insight into their thoughts, which will better help you understand the actual problem that needs to be addressed.

Listening doesn’t have to be passive. Here are a couple of strategies to help you actively listen and engage.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

Give them a platform to share and open up. Using What, How, When, and Where questions are all great ways to explore the discussion without putting them on the spot or making them feel judged for sharing.

“What’s been making you feel bad?”

Use Their Language

Specific terms can be a minefield to navigate in a discussion about body image. Keep it simple, and use the language you hear. If they say they’ve been called chubby, use chubby instead of fat. This way, you won’t be labelling them, and they will feel heard.

These tips are a good starting place, but they aren’t the only methods out there to encourage and support positive body image and self-esteem. If you would like more resources and ideas, you can check out the following list of links:

Loneliness and Low Self-Esteem (Here’s How You Can Help!)

“You don’t understand!”

I’m sure many parents have heard this coming from their teenagers. You find yourself reflecting back to your own adolescent years as you watch your teen storm to their room, throw their backpack on the floor, and slam the bedroom door behind them.

You remember the rock n’ roll music, the fluffy hair, and the bright colored clothing. You didn’t have social media, access to oodles of information at your fingertips or even privacy when it came to talking to your friends on the home phone. It feels like a lifetime ago. How could you possibly relate?

Your teen’s experience isn’t so different than your own. Teens still experience the pressure to fit in, the pressure to date, the pressure to perform academically, and the fear of failure. Just as you once did. And when struggling to fit in, it’s all too easy to feel out of place and lonely. Sometimes, teens choose to isolate themselves as a result of bullying. None of which helps with their self-esteem.

finalTeens experiencing low self-esteem view themselves as unworthy and lack confidence. It interferes with their ability to form relationships, try new activities, and take healthy risks. It’s unlikely that your teen will come forward and tell you that they are struggling with low self-esteem. So how will you know when to step in?

Here are some common signs to look for in your teen:

Negative self-perception:

Teens experiencing low self-esteem may express negative thoughts about their worth.

“I’m just not good enough to be friends with them.”

Inability to make eye-contact:

Teens struggling with low self-esteem may find it difficult to make eye contact when communicating. They assume the other person is viewing them negatively.

Avoiding social situations:

Teens with low self-esteem may lack the confidence to form social relationships and therefore avoid social situations altogether.

As a parent, you can play a key role in building your teen’s self-esteem. This will enable your teen to take on challenges with confidence and feel a sense of pride in their abilities. Here are some ways you can help improve your teen’s self-esteem:

Focusing on Strengths

What does your teen excel in? What are their interests? Build upon these strengths.

If your teen enjoys reading, have them join a book club where they can meet others with similar hobbies.

Provide Praise

It’s important to praise your teen when they’ve done something well. Try to make your teen aware of the qualities you admire about them.

“I like the way you took the time to help your grandmother. You are a kind-hearted person.”


Encourage your teen to spend a little time journaling every day. Journaling is a great way to become more aware of yourself.

Have your teen write down their highlights for the day, characteristics they like about themselves or things they are grateful for. For more prompts, you can look here.

The next time your teen tells you that you don’t understand, let them know that actually, you do understand. Try to relate by sharing your own personal experiences. Most importantly, don’t forget to remind them that you are there for them and that they have your support.



Valentine’s Day: We Found Love in an (Unexpected) Place

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and love (and cheesy Hallmark cards) are in the air! Kids are buying each other candy, flowers, and festive singing grams. It’s an exhilarating time for many. What’s not to like about being liked?


Unless…you don’t feel liked. Valentine’s Day can quickly go from a fun holiday when everyone gets candy to a pressure-packed high school petri dish of hormones, crushes, and fragile self-esteem. We all enjoy feeling cared about, and having the looming cloud of V-doom lingering over you doesn’t help that expectation. It’s hard to be disappointed on what society tells us is the most romantic holiday ever. Like you’re missing out, and you’re the only one feeling that way. It’s called isolation, and it’s something no teenager (or general human being) wants to feel.

Connection is an important part of the human experience. As young people grow into themselves and develop those connections with their peers, interest in and desire for romantic relationships grows. It’s true, romance can be a great way to connect and feel a bond, but it certainly isn’t the only kind of meaningful love out there. For parents of a lonely kid on Valentine’s Day, we’ve got a few suggestions of things to do to show your kids there are many ways to love, and be loved.

Take Them To A Petting Zoo

Petting various adorable animals, need I say more? In addition to the self-explanatory joys of spending time with dogs and cats and llamas, it’s healthy for you. Engaging in social and affectionate touch with animals, who are great companions, can do wonders for our social confidence and happiness. And if your kid feels self-conscious or uncool going to a petting zoo, you can always swing by your nearby pet store, or take a walk around a local dog park. There are plenty of options.

Read With Them

Reading can be such an incredible way to explore fantasy worlds, ignite your imagination, and especially explore different kinds of relationships and connections. The stories that books, TV shows, and movies weave allow a unique opportunity to empathize with and connect deeply with characters that live in those mediums. Just think of how Harry Potter has touched millions around the world. Surrounded by beautiful universes and beloved characters, alone time on Valentine’s Day is far from lonely or boring.

Volunteer With Seniors

When you are in a school vacuum spending time with similar aged youth, it’s hard to imagine the lives of people in separate life stages. Volunteering with seniors in a retirement community can help give perspective and provide an opportunity to hear their life stories (they were young once too!). And they’re often in a lonely position, in which many of their friends, family, and partners have passed. Small gestures like sitting and talking with them, passing out flowers, or generally spending time can go a long way in fostering appreciation, warmth, and connection.

These are only a few suggestions to broaden your child’s horizons on what love is. There are numerous other ways to find connection in the world, as evidenced by this Lifehacker article. Whether you find it in a beloved pet, a riveting story and characters, or in small connections with individuals different to you, love is a meaningful experience that teaches us about ourselves and others. And at the end of the day, you’ll be spending quality time with your child. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.

Helping Teenagers Overcome The Pressure of Sports


5:30 am – wake up; 6:00 am – workout; 7:00 am – shower and breakfast; 8:00 am – school starts; 3:00 pm – school ends; 3:30 pm – after school practice; 6:00 pm – group project meeting; 7:00 pm – dinner at home; 8:00 pm – daily chores; 9:00 pm – homework and study; 12:00 am – sleep

The cycle repeats.

Teens carry a packed schedule as they try to balance sports and academics. They have little time for themselves between morning and evening practices, a full schedule of classes, and keeping up with their responsibilities at home. Regardless of physical exhaustion and the lack of sleep, teens continue to strive to meet the expectations of parents, peers, and coaches. The pressure to continuously perform can take a toll on a teenager’s mental health.

“Trying so hard just mentally stresses you too much. I think that’s what gets me. It tears me up.”

It can be both exciting and rewarding to watch your teen perform on the field. However, as a parent, you can’t help but feel helpless when you see your teen struggling to manage the pressure.

Here are some ways you can support your teen:

Relaxation Techniques:

Teenagers may experience increased stress during important games such as playoffs. Teens fear making a mistake that could cost the school their spot in the championship.

“It’s hard because you’re trying not to mess up. Like at any moment you mess up, everybody is watching.”

  • Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and guided imagery can be effective in calming stress before a big game.
  • Teens can use these techniques to stay in the present and have a focused mindset.
  • With regular practice, relaxation techniques can relieve stress in other areas of life.

Encourage a Balanced Life:

Competing at the varsity college level would be a dream come true for any teen athlete. Teens spend countless hours practicing and perfecting their athletic skills to reach this goal. However,  of the 8 million students currently participating in high school sports, only 6% will move on to compete at the NCAA college level. The odds of getting a sports scholarship are very low.

  • Talk to your teen and discuss whether it is really worth it to give up time with friends and family to pursue sports.
  • Sports don’t need to become your teen’s entire identity.
  • Encourage your teen to explore their interests in other areas (school clubs, volunteering, music, part-time jobs).

What to Avoid:

Often times, parents can live vicariously through their children. Parents may be putting added pressure on their teengagers without even realizing it.

“If you’re not starting, then you don’t go out this weekend.”  

  • Be sure to provide praise regardless of a win.
  • Refrain from overly praising your teen’s teammate or comparing your teen to a teammate.
  • Avoid disappointed facial expressions, tone, and body posture.
  • Resist the urge to shout instructions from the sidelines. Coaching is best left to the coach.

Original Source: VeryWell.com

School sports provide opportunities to form friendships, generate a sense of belonging, and improve confidence. For some, sports may relieve the stress of everyday life. For others, it only adds to the pressure of high school. It’s important to maintain open communication with your teen and discuss concerns regularly. As a parent, stay positive, provide encouragement, and unconditional support. If you sense that your teen is struggling to cope with stress, you can always reach out to school counselors for additional assistance.

If you or someone you know needs help:

For a database of international resources visit International Association for Suicide Prevention

Winter Blues: Warning Signs of Depression

blog-3-depression-01Wintertime is a season to snuggle up in blankets, drink warm cocoa, and stay cozy with family and friends in front of a warm hearth. Unfortunately, depression doesn’t follow a 9am-5pm schedule with a break for the holidays, and some of those very loved ones might be experiencing painful seasonal sadness.

Depression isn’t a made-up illness, and often impacts one’s emotional wellbeing and close relationships. In those situations, everyone is affected. Different types of depression, like major depressive disorder and seasonal depression, exist and influence how long or how severe the depression is. With all those variables, would you know if your child is depressed? Here are some common symptoms:


  1. A persistently sad, numb, or hopeless mood towards life.
  2. General irritability or restlessness over minor issues; could even include outbursts of anger.
  3. Feeling worthless or guilty, with a fixation on past failures and blaming oneself.
  4. Visibly on edge and struggling to relax.


  1. Diminished interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities, especially ones they used to love. Disinterest in or feeling burdened by social activities or engagement with others.
  2. Trouble concentrating, making decisions, or remembering things.


  1. Difficulties with sleeping, including insomnia or oversleeping.
  2. Decreased energy and general tiredness. Small tasks seem to take extra effort.
  3. Changes in appetite or weight that can include weight loss and lowered appetite, or overeating and weight gain.
  4. Persistent and/or unexplained physical problems like headaches, back pain, digestive problems, etc.

Original Source: DignityHealth.org

It’s important to note that not every depressed person will exhibit all of these signs. Some may even show only a few. It’s crucial to not only be aware of the warning signs, but assess the context of each individual’s situation before you decide an approach.

No one is born knowing how to deal with these situations, and it’s understandable to be flummoxed by the realization that someone you know might be experiencing painful thoughts. There are plenty of ways to approach and help, whether you see them at home or at school.

For answers to FAQ on the treatment and recognition of mental health disorders, click here.

If you or someone you know are experiencing pain or suicidal thoughts, there is always help:

What to Expect from Securly in 2018

classroom, securly, parents, student safety, online

2017 was a year of immense growth for us. Securly now has 70+ employees across California, North Carolina, and India. Our Charlotte and India offices continue to expand, and we moved our HQ in Silicon Valley to a new office 3x the size of our old space.

Our main goal for 2017 was to innovate, innovate, and innovate. And as always, with the intention to secure ubiquitous child safety both at school and at home. In our path to achieving this goal, we pledge to create affordable, innovative products – so that schools and parents never have to compromise on student safety. We accomplished a lot this past year, and are excited to share our new products with you soon. 2018 here we come!



With this free feature, we let teachers become the IT admins of their own classroom. They can track assignments and whitelist/blacklist sites. Classroom works in conjunction with Google Classroom, helping teachers keep students on track to maximize the benefits of EdTech. Sign up for our priority list here.


We’re offering a 24/7 crisis support team because cyberbullying, depression, and self-harm are not bound by a 9-5 schedule. 24 automatically observes a student’s activity on the web, social media, and Youtube. When activity is flagged, a trained staff member will review the context in which it was used and the user’s history for insight into the bigger picture. Able to recognize the nuances of language and critically analyze a user’s history, a human can make determinations that technology may overlook. If flagged activities are cause for alarm, a 24 staff member will alert a counselor in real-time via text or, if necessary, a phone call.

Plug n’ Play

Parents can design an at-home Internet experience that is personalized for their children. Just connect the plug n’ play hub to your wifi router and rest assured your kids are browsing safely.  Parents can change the filter settings, block any inappropriate sites, set time limits, and receive optional e-mail reports and notifications. Parent wifi is not affected.

And in case you missed it, here’s a list of other features that make Securly the best web filter:


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Classroom by Securly – helping teachers manage EdTech for free.

Screen Shot 2017-11-02 at 9.25.25 AM


EdTech is booming. The industry has accumulated $887M in funding in the first half of this year already. Many schools continue to adopt a 1:1 environment, a program that offer students autonomy and access; yet many teachers and parents feel they lack the required structure to optimize success. Thus, the need for classroom management tools is becoming imperative. These tools allow teachers to know track student progress and productivity, allowing classroom interaction to continue into the virtual world.

However, classroom management assistance became commodified as soon as its need was realized. With all the costs schools incur, additional classroom tools tend to be a lower priority than online safety and security features which are required by law.


Our Solution

To ensure that schools never have to compromise, we are planning to release a free, classroom management tool at the start of 2018. Called Classroom by Securly, it will work in conjunction with Google Classroom, and allows teachers the ability to be the IT admins of their own classrooms. This will provide educators the ability to whitelist websites that are relevant to their class and block all others. Ultimately, this tool will help teachers keep students on track to maximize the benefits of EdTech.

“We want teachers to be able to walk into their classroom and know that kids can only access whitelisted content,” says Bharath Madhusudan, CTO and co-founder of Securly. “Giving teachers control over their classroom means kids have to focus on math, history, English, whatever. They can’t distract themselves, even if they want to.”


The first to receive Classroom by Securly will be those educators on a priority list. To sign up for the priority list, click here.


You Down With FTP? (Yeah, You Know Me!)

Put your books down, class. It’s time for a pop quiz. Who knows what FTP stands for?

Free Tibetan Puppies?

Flossing Tackles Periodontitis?

&%$@ The Pistons!

If you guessed ‘None of the above’ or even ‘Geez, that last one seems really negative and I highly recommend some anger management tools’ you’re correct!

IMG_20171025_121134_Bokeh.jpgSameer Waskar (red), Mahesh Digarse (light yellow), and Shreyas Moghe (dark yellow) work together to determine the appropriate emoticon for stoicism. Stop suggesting the eggplant, Sameer.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is commonly used for exchanging files over the Internet. FTP uses the Internet’s TCP/IP protocols to enable data transfer. It uses a client-server architecture, often secured with SSL/TLS.

The parent CSV come straight out of the Student Information System (SIS). Most SIS systems offer a FTP upload option out of the box. This allows EdTech tools that rely on data such as rostering and grade information to do what they do. Securly is now among the EdTech products supporting the SFTP option for direct SIS exports.

Securly uses SFTP (FTP over SSH), a connection that requires a user id and password to connect to the SFTP server. It’s important to note that any user ids and passwords supplied over the SFTP connection will be encrypted, which is a big advantage over standard FTP.

How is it useful:

  • Allows you to transfer multiple files as well as directories
  • The ability to resume a transfer if the connection is lost
  • The ability to add items to a “queue” to be uploaded/downloaded
  • Many FTP clients have the ability to schedule transfers
  • No size limitation on single transfers (browsers only allow up to 2 GB)
  • Many clients have scripting capabilities through command line
  • Most clients have a synchronizing utility
  • Faster transfers than HTTP

So, there you go! Useful information about FTP, more detail about why Securly uses SFTP, and more acronyms than you could possibly stomach in a single sitting.


Guard yourself against these 3 things

cyberbullying, school, parents, online student safety, Securly

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Each week in October is dedicated to a different cyber security theme, and features appropriate resources to help all internet users protect themselves from threats online.

Both children and adults should be cautious of their interactions online, while also considering whom they are dealing with:


Bots are useful tools and potentially constitute 60% of website traffic. However, they are oftentimes employed to conduct cybercriminal activity. They are a type of malware, allowing hackers to remotely take control over the infected computer.

Bots can be website scrapers and spammers, while extensive “botnets” (an army of infected computers) can take down a website in mere seconds called a Denial-of-Service Attack. Bots send viruses and are often used to steal personal information (credit card information, bank credentials, social security numbers), putting victims at risk of fraud.


The digital age promised to bring the world closer – and indeed the younger generation seems to be reflecting the sentiment, sharing increasingly more personal information with strangers online. The study extrapolates that 1 in 5 people share sensitive data (including passport scans, bank information, and personal documents) online with others they do not know well.

Neglecting to install proper security measures or voluntarily sharing personal information introduces many risks, from Venmo scams and fraud to sexual predators.


Incorporating people from your physical environment into your online social community may seem like a natural extension. However, a recent study by Robin Dunbar of Oxford Universityshows that most of your online friends are in fact not your “real friends”. In fact, cyberbullying is more likely to come from a teen’s peers than from internet trolls or strangers. There are cases where aggressive “strangers” were exposed as peers operating under fake accounts/names.

Online communication platforms are efficient, but “the lack of face-to-face interactions makes it difficult to invest in a relationship for maintaining an essential level of ‘emotional intensity.’” This lack of empathy and selective sharing on social media garners a feeling of detachment, which empowers cyberbullying. October is also National Bullying Prevention Month. Cyber Security can be integral in bullying prevention. Both campaigns intersect, working towards the same goal: safety.

To learn more about how we keep kids safe online, visit our website:

Learn more about our Built-In Cyberbullying Detection

How We Keep 1M Students Safe Daily

We introduced Auditor after learning from our schools that students were using Gmail to express negative emotions such as bullying and self-harm. We made it free so that no school would have to make compromises when it comes to student safety.

Today, Auditor is thriving – scanning 3.5 million emails per day for 1 million students across the world.

‘Within six months of its launch Auditor has scanned more than 100 million emails and saved so many lives – That’s the power of AI and best part is that it’s all free! This is something that each every school should have as kids lives are at stake.’

‘Securly has been having its filtering product around for quite sometime but our core mission has always been ubiquitous safety for kids. Auditor is one such product that is so core to our mission, we decided to give it for free. Since its launch six months ago it has helped save countless number of lives.’ – Neeraj Thakar, VP India R&D Operations

Auditor also ensures that schools are CIPA (Children’s Internet Protection Act) compliant. CIPA requires schools to maintain “the safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, chat rooms, and other forms of direct electronic communications”. However, traditional web-filters do not address this. Many schools reported using Google’s default compliance options to flag emails that contain a predefined set of keywords.

This method is undependable as:

  1. It Is prone to lots of False Positives (False Alarms) and False Negatives (Missed Alerts).
  2. Does not scale well in a large District where IT becomes the bottleneck in sorting through these flagged messages.


Instead, Auditor uses an automated sentiment inference approach. For example, consider a post that was flagged by our algorithm:

“slowly im realizing i don’t really have a purpose here say good bye cause Fryday it’s all over <3”

Though the allusion to suicide is clear, it does not contain the keywords usually associated with this kind of behavior. A keyword based approach would not have worked in detecting this.


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