By Dana Barrett Social Media moguls profit by driving the escalation of user engagement. When these companies were developing their platforms, they did so with complete disregard for the effects of social media on the budding self- esteem of children and teens. Fast forward 20 years and now 1 in 3 middle school and high school students suffer from anxiety, depression, or loneliness that is a direct product of their ability to garner ‘likes’ on their posts, and their lives. This unhealthy emotional dynamic results in an endless, futile comparison between themselves and others – including celebrities. Our young people are reminded with each Instagram scroll that they simply don’t measure up. And far worse for their self-esteem are the cyberbullies who leave negative, ugly comments, or utilize social media to direct message private demeaning attacks. The pressure of this constant state of skewed social engagement leaves kids trapped in a fog of self-criticism and low self-worth. Hulu just launched The D’Amelio Show which follows the real-life of two young sisters who inadvertently rose to fame by posting innocent dance videos on Tik-Tok. The show pertinently illustrates the pressure that children deal with when subjecting themselves to the judgment of others with every social media post. The youngest of the sisters who started her journey with TikTok at the tender of age of 12, distressingly shares that her anxiety has now grown to the point where she would rather not leave the house anymore. At one point she blurts out, “I’ve had a constant anxiety attack for the past four years, It’s very exhausting.” Imagine how intimidating and scary the social media world is for the everyday child – your child, especially preteens. These once-happy children who should be spending free time either with friends or pursuing hobbies are now constantly scrolling through social media and checking to see if anyone ‘liked’ their post, or far worse if anyone has launched a personal attack against them by leaving a negative comment, or dm’ing something mean. Unfortunately, on the internet most children deal with the world alone, there is no monitor or filter to correct inappropriate behavior and keep children safe and happy. Parents may not even be aware when their child is being bullied or when they need help. At Elevated Life Solutions, we are keenly aware of the heartbreak of cyberbullying and the connection between the climbing rates of depression and anxiety in our young people and their collective dependence on social media. Fortunately, there is a solution. In the words of our founder, Rama Arya - “If you neutralize the cause, there is no effect.” To that end, we have partnered with CyberSmarties a completely safe social media platform that is designed expressly to teach children between the ages of 7-12 positive social engagement. CyberSmarties blocks negative messaging between children with powerful language filters. These filters never allow a harmful message to be sent unless the content is corrected to something positive, and every conversation and interaction is monitored.

By eliminating the ‘like’ button, CyberSmarties has neutralized value judgments for children – towards others and most importantly, about themselves. The result is healthy, happy, children communicating with their friends and sharing ideas in support of one another. This completely locked down platform currently protects and educates over 300,000 students in 3 countries. Elevated Life Solutions is fundraising to bring this amazing tool to as many children as possible, worldwide – for free. Learn more about what we do, and how your gift – can uplift children everywhere.

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By Dana Barrett Keeping children safe is the number one priority of parents and educators alike. But how do you ensure that children are safe when there is no one to monitor social interactions online? Approximately 37% of children and teens have become the target of online bullying, and once you’ve been targeted – it’s even more likely that you’ll be targeted again. The FBI currently estimates there are more than 500,000 online predators using multiple screen names surfing the web every day. More than 50% of their victims are between the ages of 12 and 15. When you’re on the internet, in chat rooms, or using any social media, here are 6 tips to help you play it safe. 1. Avoid Provocative Screen names and Images Every kid wants to sound cool when sharing their username with friends and peers. You may think that choosing a screen name with fresh, or suggestive words or phrases could attract more followers – but it could land you in hot water too. Internet predators surf the web trying to find young users with eye-catching screen names who may be open to making new friends. Don’t let that be you. Remember, when picking a screen name - keep it simple, and somewhat generic. Don’t include personal details like your actual full name or any other identifying information like a birthdate, your school name, or specifics about where you live. When it comes to sharing pictures, the best strategy is to only share images that you would share with family members – especially parents. Social Apps like Snapchat may give the illusion of privacy and security when you share photos because the image disappears in a few seconds. Remember, anyone can take a screenshot of your image or use that image to cause personal harm in the future. Remember – once you’ve posted something online, it lives forever. Even on Snapchat. 2. Flattery Online – Especially by Strangers or Acquaintances should make you Wary When posting news or accomplishments online, or even a photo of yourself with the lead in the school play, it’s wonderful to receive “likes”, kudos and praise from family and close friends. But if your post draws some over-the-top, creepy compliments from users you don’t recognize or barely know you should exercise caution. Block strangers from following you, especially if they text or comment anything that makes you feel uneasy. If they continue to try to reach out – never respond. It’s best to talk through the issue with a parent or a guardian. 3. If Another User gets too Personal – End the Conversation It doesn’t matter if it’s the cool kid in class, or a popular YouTube celebrity with thousands of followers, if another user dm’s you or reaches out to ask you personal questions, play it safe and end the conversation immediately. Especially if the user is someone much older than you or a complete stranger.

4. Remember – People aren’t Always Who They Seem to be Online Even if the user is another student or peer, be sure to discuss options for pursuing an in-person friendship with your parents first. Some kids engage in online bullying by pretending to be interested in a friendship so they can gather personal information about you. Their goal is to harass you or embarrass you with the information later on - in front of other kids.

5. Never Arrange to Meet with Someone that you Met Online If someone that you’ve been chatting with or following online suggests meeting in person, discuss it with your parents immediately and never agree to an in-person meeting with a stranger. Adult predators often pose as children or teens online, to lure you into a sense of safety about getting together for a secret private meeting. Even if it’s someone from your school – if you don’t know them very well, make sure that the meeting is in a social setting preferably with parents close by. 6. Tell a Parent Anytime that you Feel Uneasy Be sure to talk to your parents or teachers anytime you have questions about any interaction on the internet – especially if you feel uneasy about a user, a message, a photo, or a text. The internet is exactly like the real world – only larger, unmonitored, and unsupervised. Elevated Life Solutions is committed to keeping children safe online, and we have partnered with Cybersmarties to extend that protection to children all over the world. Cybersmarties is a completely safe social media platform that currently serves over 200,000 children between the ages of 7 to 12 in Ireland and India. Our goal is the grow this platform across every continent free of charge to all school-age children everywhere. We can continue this mission with the help of generous donations by caring individuals and families – just like you. Click here to donate.

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How Rama & Diarmuid met

Rama Arya, founder of Elevated Life Solutions, understands bullying first hand growing up in the lowest caste of the Hindu caste system in India. He knows all too well how easy it is to undermine a vulnerable child’s self-esteem. Coming to America as a young boy he found this new free society both liberating and challenging. American culture is filled with its own unexpected biases and freedoms that Rama had to learn how to navigate. But his family’s tradition of helping others and continuing to support the very same village he was born in, revealed to him the powerful inspiration a ‘life of service’ can provide. Today, as a computer professional with his own company, Rama marveled at how the modern world, for all its progress, offers less than half the people of the world access to the internet. And less than that are able to own a computer. Wanting to make a change himself, he started his own non-profit, Elevated Life Solutions, to help get computers to families and children in need.

Diarmuid Hudner was driven by a similar sense of empathy halfway across the globe. Based in County Limerick, Ireland, he was concerned with the epidemic of cyberbullying and predatory behavior victimizing children online. When he was young he himself was a very smart and shy child, and Diarmuid understood all too well what it meant to feel unheard and to feel bullied. His life mission became wanting to empower children and end cyberbullying. But he was told that the social media platforms had no power to control it. Wanting to make a change himself, he started his own company, Cybersmarties, to protect children and families.

CyberSmarties is a safe, secure social network for school children ages seven to twelve years old. He designed the system to create language filters that prevented children from texting negative words, Positive words are suggested that the children can text instead. He barred adults from joining the network, even though it has a 24 hour staff monitoring it for safety. He added an A.I. personality that checks in with each child daily to ask how they feel. Children are supported with positive messages and confidence building videos based on their answers. These innovations eliminated cyberbullying, ended predatory behavior, and made him one of the leaders in mental health support for children for the last six years. Now with over 88,000 children within primary schools facilitated by the Department of Education, Cybersmarties is the only social network with an accolade no other social network can attest; the backing of Ireland’s national police force - the prestigious Garda National Protective Services Bureau of Ireland’s endorsement. CyberSmarties is also officially a member of the Unicef/Global Partnership to end violence against children. The amazing result: Cybersmarties has eliminated cyberbullying and predatory behavior on its platform since 2017.

Cybersmarties mission is simple: change how children use social media so that the next generation will begin the necessary evolution to make social networks become a place for people to safely learn, engage, and talk to each other from around the world.

Rama and Diarmuid met in the summer of 2020 on a zoom call as both were being courted by a cutting-edge computer company. It was in their first meeting that these two compassionate visionaries recognized their common mission to uplift people, especially children, and they realized they should work together. Rama immediately recognized the significance of Diarmuid’s innovative platform in teaching children the value of positive social engagement and its impact on the world.

So Rama and Diarmuid partnered. Today Elevated Life Solutions fundraises for Cybersmarties to make their solution available to children all over the world. Elevated Life Solutions is driven by the founding principle that we all exist equally, and equally together we move forward. No child should feel as though they are lesser than. We all have a responsibility to engage the world with kindness and respect.

In July of 2021 alone Cybersmarties signed on 100,000 new school children in India. They hope to have one million children on the platform by the end of the year.

Plans continue to broaden as Cybersmarties looks to open new platforms in Africa and the Middle East.

Elevated Life Solutions is thrilled to be spearheading this ambitious goal. Our fundraising supports CyberSmarties’ expansion, as we combine forces with them to provide this incredible platform to more children, in more countries.

We know we can achieve it - with your help.

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