Being safe on social media


By Kara Briggs-Campbell, Special to Tulalip News 

Social media is a player in every aspect of society these days.

Its profound impact hit home for the Tulalip Tribes after the tragic school shooting as an outpouring of grief, resentment and anger seemed to flow in every direction. Tulalip leaders called upon families to stop using social media all together in the weeks that followed, or at least not post in anger something that would be regretted later.

Off the reservation, law enforcement contacted those who posted hateful messages toward the tribe and its members, while regional and national news media scoured social media posts for information and photos of the victims.

Social media is an important form of communication for teens and adults. Increasingly, it is used in suicide prevention and education as way to directly inform teens and young adults, said Dr. Richard McKeon of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

“Social media is here to stay and it is up to those who use it to use it wisely,” he said.

Social channels are increasingly cooperating with organizations that seek to prevent everything from bullying to suicide.

In 2013, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline announced its partnership with Facebook, which allows Lifeline to connect via an online chat with people who are posting suicidal ideas. Users can report suicidal posts by a friend on their news feed by clicking “mark as spam” then on the pop up screen choose, “violence or harmful behavior,” on the next pop up choose, “suicidal content.” Or enter your friends name or contact information.

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin, when announcing the partnership in 2011, said, “We must confront suicide and suicidal thoughts openly and honestly, and use every opportunity to make a difference by breaking the silence and suffering.”

Social media for many of us is more than just a tool. It is a way that we connect, stay in touch, entertain ourselves and share information.

Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, founder and director of the Trauma Stewardship Institute, said finding the people who are healthy for you to be around is the same on social media as it is in real life.

“People need pay very close attention to who they are spending time with,” she said. “It is a turning point in life when you can give thought to who you spend your time with.”

The same way someone in sobriety should avoid the old friends they used to drink and use with in person, they also need to avoid them online.

Social media can be beneficial for people who feel isolated and need to interrupt the isolation, she said. But if people are going online and reading negative stuff that is poison.

“The question is what do you take in? You can drink a lot of water and its good, or you can drink a lot of poison and it will kill you,” Lipsky said.

In a tribal community meeting last month with Dr. Robert Macy who is president of the International Trauma Center in Boston, tribal parents talked about the pressure that social media places on teens.  Some talked about complex decisions to monitor teen’s online presence at the same time as respecting their privacy.

Macy said as long kids are dependent upon their parents to pay the rent and keep the lights on, parents have the responsibility to monitor everything that happens in their rooms or on their Facebook page or Twitter feed. For parents, the attitude must be, “I love you too much to let you hurt yourself.”

Macy had a warning for parents too.

Being too connected electronically can make you disconnected personally.

A 2014 study published in the Journal Academic Pediatrics found that mothers were regularly distracted at meal time by their smart phones. Overall, the study found that the use of cell phones and other devices during meals was tied with 20 percent fewer verbal interactions between mothers and their children, and 39 percent fewer nonverbal interactions. Those who had the highest use of mobile decides during meals were far less likely to provide encouragement to their children, researchers found.

So Macy urged the tribal families gathered to put their smart phones away during family time, and if you visit a friend, leave the phone at home or in the car. Then use the time to make a real person-to-person connection with someone you love.


Tips for students using social media


This list is based upon one published on the website of Carlton University in Canada. The tips are geared to college students, but apply as well to younger teens and for that matter to adults. The concern that Carlton University raises is that your social media posts will last forever on the World Wide Web. It is not overstating to say that this is new era in the history of the world. In past generations you could put your past behind you, you could move away, change your outlook. Now, if you have posted your life digitally on your social media sites, it will live online and be searchable by people in your future.


Privacy: Set all of your social networking accounts to private and maintain your privacy settings so you avoid posting too much personal information. On Facebook, don’t forget to set your privacy settings to include photos and videos that others post of you to avoid being found via basic Web searches.

Don’t over share:  Don’t say anything you wouldn’t normally share with a prospective employer or your mother or your grandmother.

Stay offline when under the influence: If you’ve just spent a night partying with friends, keep your computer off, or your online mistakes could come back to haunt you. Sometimes referred to as “drunk Facebooking,” posting inappropriate comments or photographs while inebriated may cast a negative reflection on your online persona.

Stop Complaining: Avoid speaking negatively about school, current or previous jobs, family or friends. Similarly, don’t update your Facebook status only when you have something negative to say; find a balance so your digital persona doesn’t look too angry.

Separate social networking from job networking: Avoid using social networking sites like Facebook for professional or scholastic networking, and build up your career contacts on other sites like

Generate positive content: Experts agree that the best way to counteract negative content is by generating positive information that will rank high on search engines like Google.


Where can I call for help?

To report an emergency dial 911

National Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Snohomish County Crisis Line: 1-800-584-3578

Crisis TEXT Line: Text “Listen” to 741-741

24 Hour Crisis Line: 1-866-427-4747

TEENLINK: 1-866-833-6546

Tulalip Tribes Behavioral Health Family Services: 360-716-4400




United Recovery Meeting, Jan 22

A training from leading experts on suicide prevention and reducing secondary trauma due to social media presented by the Tulalip Tribes, Marysville School District and City of Marysville.

January 22, 6-8 p.m., Tulalip Administration Building Room 162,  6406 Marine Drive Tulalip, WA 98271


United Recovery Community Dinner

Native Youth Photo Challenge: Show Everyone What It Means to Be Native

WeRNativeNative youth across the nation are invited to show the world what it means to be Native by taking the WeRNative Photo Challenge using the #WeRNative hashtag in social media, to raise awareness of Native American Heritage.
Native youth across the nation are invited to show the world what it means to be Native by taking the WeRNative Photo Challenge using the #WeRNative hashtag in social media, to raise awareness of Native American Heritage.




Native youth across the nation are invited to show the world what it means to be Native by taking the WeRNative Photo Challenge using the #WeRNative hashtag in social media, to raise awareness of Native American Heritage.

We R Native, a non-profit multimedia health resource for Native teens and youth teamed with Native-owned marketing company, Redbridge Inc., to host the #WeRNative Photo Challenge throughout November as a celebration of Native American Heritage Month.

We R Native is the only comprehensive health resource for Native youth, designed by Native youth, providing content and stories about the topics that matter most to them: social, emotional, physical, sexual, and spiritual health. The organization encourages Native youth to take an active role in their own health and well-being.

“Our tribal youth face a lot of challenges that leave them feeling like they’re facing them alone,” Stephanie Craig from We R Native said in announcing the event. “In celebration of Native American Heritage Month, Native youth will unite to show the world, and each other, they’re not alone and what it means to be Native by using the hashtag #WeRNative.”

On average, the We R Native project, funded by the Indian Health Service, reaches over 31,000 users per week through its various media channels.

“If the total Native American population is 1.6 percent of the nation, then Native youth are .5 percent. It’s easy to see why they feel alone in the challenges they’re facing,” Shannon Hulbert, CEO of Redbridge said in the statement.

“Imagine how empowering it would be if they started to see a number of other tribal youth across the nation saying #WeRNative,” Hulbert said. “The Challenge could serve as a platform for raising awareness, not just for who’s struggling and how, but also for who’s facing the challenges in ways they hadn’t thought about, and who’s smiling through it all.”

In the 2010 Census, 5.2 million people reported they were American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN), with approximately one-third under the age of 18. AI/AN youth are disproportionally impacted by a variety of adolescent health concerns, including high teen pregnancy rates, drug and alcohol use, and depression and suicide, which heighten their need for programs that align to their unique culture and social context.

Tribes and tribal organizations throughout the U.S. are working to develop and implement evidence-based, culturally-appropriate health interventions.



‘Am I Next?’ Indigenous Women in Canada Ask Social Media

Holly Jarrett/FacebookHolly Jarrett, cousin of murdered Inuit university student Loretta Saunders, has begun a social media campaign to push for a national inquiry into the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada.
Holly Jarrett/Facebook
Holly Jarrett, cousin of murdered Inuit university student Loretta Saunders, has begun a social media campaign to push for a national inquiry into the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada.



It’s the heartbreaking question of our time, at least in Canada, where indigenous women have begun a social media campaign to draw attention to the prevalence of violence against them.

The movement was started by Holly Jarrett of Hamilton, Ontario, according to CBC News. Jarret is a cousin of Loretta Saunders, a grad student at St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia who was murdered earlier this year, allegedly by her tenants when she went to collect rent. The 26-year-old, pregnant Saunders had been researching the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada—more than 1,200 unsolved cases over the past few decades, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)—for her thesis when she went missing herself.

Most recently, across the country in Manitoba, the body of 15-year-old Tina Fontaine was pulled from the Red River in Winnipeg in August, wrapped in a bag. The homicide investigation is ongoing.

RELATED: Vigil for Murdered Teen and Homeless Hero Draws 1,300 Mourners in Winnipeg

The call was raised once again for a national inquiry into the issue. Soon after Fontaine’s remains were found, the premiers of all the provinces met with the Assembly of First Nations, the Métis National Council and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) and came out advocating for a roundtable. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has long held that an inquiry would not yield any answers and thus was not the way to go.

It’s not just First Nations calling for such an inquiry. President Terry Audla is also advocating for an inquiry, as is Métis National Council President Clément Chartier. Both also attended the meeting with premiers. The premiers as well support the roundtable idea—a meeting with federal ministers to discuss the issue, according to CBC News—and aboriginal leaders have agreed to that as a first step.

Meanwhile across Canada, women are posting selfies of them holding signs bearing the slogan “Am I Next?” and posting them to social media under the #AmINext hashtag, as CTV News reported. There is also a petition at calling for an inquiry, started as well by Jarrett.

“Our family is Inuit, and Loretta has now become one of the over 1186 missing or murdered Aboriginal women she was fighting for,” wrote Jarrett on “It is time for our government to address this epidemic of violence against Aboriginal women. Our family is gathering strength and we will not let her death be in vain. We will fight to complete Loretta’s unfinished work.”

RELATED: ‘Not in Vain’: Family Vows to Finish Murdered Inuit Student’s Research on Violence



Trahant: Take the ‘Voting Booth’ Challenge

Last winter, months before your Facebook feed started filling with videos of folks taking the “ice-bucket challenge,” Native Americans did the “winter challenge.” Participants jumped in ice-cold streams or banks of snow and challenged others to do the same. Imagine what could happen if Indian Country focused social media on addressing health or civic issues.

 By Mark Trahant, The Daily Yonder

Last winter, Native Americans adapted an old practice of private challenges to the new platform of social media. A swarm of Canadian cold-water plunges resulted.

I remember getting in trouble as a teenager. The story beat me home.  I was stunned at the velocity of information in a small community. The chain went like this: Something happened. People talked. And the story spread. Fast.

I guess that’s why social media, to me, is an old form of storytelling. It’s how we naturally tell stories, spreading the word to one friend (or follower) in real time. And then another. And again. But while the forum is essentially the same, there are two new twists: the use of digital tools and the increased size of our network. (A generation ago our “network” might be a few friends gathered for coffee at the trading post. Today it’s a thousand friends on Facebook, their thousand friends, and definitely more on Twitter, Tumblr or Snapchat.)

The ice-bucket challenge to raise money to prevent ALS — Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — or Lou Gehrig’s Disease is a great example of how social media works.  The brilliant campaign has earned more than $70 million with the goal of creating a world “without ALS!”

Every day my Facebook feed has new posts from someone taking this challenge.

Of course this whole challenge thing is familiar anyway. It’s a lot like the Winter Challenge that spread across Canada and Indian Country. Carielynn Victor, from Chilliwack, B.C., told Global News Canada that the idea was not a new one, but the concept of taking it public was new.

So why ALS? It’s a fabulous cause and worth doing. That said: What if Indian Country could harness social media to affect the diseases that are killing most of our friends and family?

So heart disease is the leading killer in Indian Country. What if we raised money for research and action for American Indians and Alaska Natives? Or diabetes? Or any disease that affects most of us. It could be money targeted to make a real difference in our lives.

Then, the power of social media is not just about money. Imagine what we could do to health disparities if social media challenged tens of thousands of people to walk more. Or eat better. Then post results in real time so that we all stay on task.

Beyond disease and public health, social media could be used to “challenge” American Indians and Alaska Natives to register and vote at levels that are unprecedented. If the same intensity of the winter challenge, or the ice bucket challenge, or any social media phenomenon, was applied to November’s balloting, well, it would upend the status quo. Guaranteed.

One reason the winter challenge and the ice-bucket challenge worked so well is that they were simple to do, and easy to pass along virally. It’s fun to see a friend jump in a creek. We laugh at the way people met their challenge. (I did a snow angel in the shadow of Denali courtesy of Laura John at the Montana Policy and Budget Center.)

So any election challenge must be simple and fun. And be specific. Laura challenged me. Then I added friends, creating an exponential network.

There have already been some really smart efforts to increase Native voting. Indeed, the last election cycle produced record numbers. In New Mexico and Montana, for example, Native Americans voted at a higher percentage than the general population, 77% and 64%. That could be across the country. Especially in Alaska, Oklahoma, Arizona, the Dakotas. Already this year, the National Congress of American Indians has called for a summer of action for the Native Vote (there was a Google hangout that explores details) to do just that.

Now it’s time to add to those efforts and tap the awesome power that is social media. If we can ask our friends to jump into a creek, we sure as hell can ask them to vote. We ought to do that in a video and on our Facebook page. Let’s take the ice bucket into the voting booth and really change the country.

Mark Trahant serves as the Atwood Chair at the University of Alaska Anchorage. He is an independent journalist and a member of The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. For up-to-the-minute posts, download the free Trahant Reports app for your smart phone or tablet.

For Rare Languages, Social Media Provide New Hope



by Lydia Emmanouilidou, NPR


At a time when social media users, , are trading in fully formed words for abbreviations (“defs” instead of “definitely”), it may seem that some languages are under threat of deterioration — literally.

But social media may actually be beneficial for languages.

Of the estimated that are spoken around the world, UNESCO projects half will disappear by the end of the century. But social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter are in a position to revitalize and preserve indigenous, minority and endangered languages, linguists and language-preservation activists say.


Facebook is available in over 70 languages, ranging from Ancient Greek to French.

Facebook is available in over 70 languages, ranging from Ancient Greek to French. Facebook

One of the reasons some indigenous languages are endangered is that increased connectivity through the Internet and social media have strengthened dominant languages such as English, Russian and Chinese, says Anna Luisa Daigneault of the .

Endangered languages stand a greater chance of survival when they are used online.

“Having a Web presence for those languages is super important for their survival. Social media are just another connection point for people who want to stay connected to their language,” says Daigneault, Latin America projects coordinator and development officer at the institute.

Today, Facebook — the world’s most popular social networking site — is available in . The list includes indigenous languages like Cherokee and Quechua. This year, Facebook says it launched 13 news languages, including Azerbaijani, Javanese, Macedonian, Galician and Sinhala.

Facebook through the website; if there is enough demand, the language will then appear in the and the Facebook community can begin translating the interface.

, a community of 16 volunteers in Bolivia, is working on translating the Facebook interface in Aymara, one of the three official languages in Bolivia.


An Aymara woman prepares to take part in a pageant in La Paz, Bolivia, in 2013. Jaqi-Aru, a community of volunteers is working on translating the Facebook interface in the indigenous language of Aymara.

An Aymara woman prepares to take part in a pageant in La Paz, Bolivia, in 2013. Jaqi-Aru, a community of volunteers is working on translating the Facebook interface in the indigenous language of Aymara. Juan Karita/AP


Elias Quispe Chura, the group’s Facebook translation manager, says the effort involves young Aymara people from different Bolivian provinces. “We promote use of our mother tongue on the Internet through translation projects and content creation,” he says. “With that, we want to contribute and enrich the content of our language in cyberspace.”

He says Aymara native speakers in Peru, Chile, and Argentina are waiting anxiously to see their language as an option on Facebook. The group started the project in 2012 and is more than halfway done translating 24,000 words, phrases and sentences.

But the task hasn’t been free of challenges.

“There are many words that there aren’t in Aymara, for example: mobile phone — ‘jawsaña,’ password — ‘chimpu,’ message — ‘apaya,’ event — ‘wakichäwi,’ journalist — ‘yatiyiri,’ user — ‘apnaqiri’ and so on,” Chura says. “In some cases, we had to create new words taking into account the context, the situation, function and their meanings. And in others, we had to go to the .”

Facebook provides some support to the volunteer translators, offering stylistic guidelines on its page.

The website can be used to revitalize and preserve indigenous, minority and endangered languages in more ways than one.

Pamela Munro, a professor of linguistics at the University of California, Los Angeles, has created a to post words, phrases and songs in Tongva, a language formerly spoken in the Los Angeles area.

Munro, a consultant to the Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival, says the language hasn’t been spoken by a native speaker in about 50 years. She hopes to reach people who are interested in learning about the language through the Facebook page.

“We have readers all over the world … people post on the page from all over and ask questions like, ‘I found this word in a book. Can you tell me about it?’ A lot of the people that interact with the page are ethnically Tongva but a lot of the people are not,” she says.

The creators and contributors of — a website that seeks to preserve Anishinaabemowin, an endangered Native American language from Michigan — use Facebook in a similar manner. contributor Margaret Noodin is an assistant professor of English and American Indian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The language has 8,000-10,000 speakers, she says. But most of the native speakers are over 70 years old, placing the language under threat.

“That’s the most dangerous thing. There are very few young kids that are growing up in a fluent environment,” Noodin says.

Although the group doesn’t rely solely on social media to disseminate content, Noodin says that gives the group a chance to reach younger generations.

“It’s how kids communicate now. It’s little moments here and there. And that adds up … . If we don’t use the language creatively into the future then what we’re doing is documenting a language that’s dying … . Our language is alive and it’s staying alive,” she says.

Other social networking websites such as Twitter can also be used in similar ways. The website is currently available in just under 40 languages

Kevin Scannell, a professor at Saint Louis University, has consulted for Twitter on how to make the website friendlier to speakers of minority languages.

Scannell is also the creator of , a site that tracks tweets in indigenous languages. It can help people who want to find others who are using their language online.

“Having endangered languages on the Internet has a really strong impact on the youth because it shows that their language is still relevant today,” says Daigneault of the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages. “When people use their language it shows that they’re proud of speaking … it.”

At a time when companies like Facebook are trying to grow in the developing world, having the interface available in other languages can be a great benefit.

“Just even making the website itself available in other languages in a huge part of reaching the ,” Scannell says.

John Hobson, the director of Graduate Indigenous Education Programs at the University of Sydney, agrees.

“It is … essential that as new technologies are integrated into majority societies and communication, they should be equally integrated into minority ones,” he says.

But Hobson says the best results will come when the conversation continues outside of social media.

“They are not magical devices that will do the learning or communicating for folk,” he says. “Living languages are those used for meaningful communication between real people … . So, tweet and Facebook in your language … . But make sure you keep speaking the language when you put the device down.”

Lydia Emmanouilidou is an intern with NPR News.