The Slow, Painful, Extinction of the “Reliable Source”


Prior to the 80s, when it came to the news, sources were limited. For most Americans, the daily newspaper was the go-to medium for “reliable” information. At least, that’s what we thought at the time. We had no reason not to trust The Boston Globe, New York Times, Chicago Tribune and countless other big city newspapers. From the late 50s to the end of the 70s, people gathered around the tube and trusted the word of Huntley and Brinkley and Walter Cronkite. We received our news in a nice, neat, no frills package—no gimmicks, no opinions, no expert panel—just the news. Cronkite was once referred to as “the most trusted man in America.” He kept us updated on big news events including the moon landing, JFK assassination, Vietnam War, and President Nixon’s resignation.

Nixon, on the other hand, was one of the first notable persons to refer to reporters and journalists as “the media” as his distain for the press blew up after the release of the Pentagon Papers and during the investigation of the Watergate break-in. In 1972, Nixon told his confidant Henry Kissinger, “never forget, the press is the enemy, the press is the enemy…write that on the blackboard 100 times.” It may have been the first instance where the “reliable sources” we’ve counted on were being brought into question. The cracks now appeared in the foundation.

When News Became Not News

Once the 80s awesomely rolled around, we became inundated with talk shows, including the new category of “shock” or “trash” TV. Led by Jerry Springer, Geraldo Rivera, and Maury Povich, the airwaves were filled with topics revolving around sexual perversions, religious cults, and lying, cheating spouses duking it out on live television. After years of trusting the words of talk show greats like Joe Franklin and Edward R. Murrow, the infestation of the tabloid shows also brought into question the legitimacy of the content being served before us. Crack.

But, some shock hosts were legitimate news reporters prior to this nose dive into garbage entertainment. Springer was a political campaign advisor for Robert F. Kennedy before he was hired as a news reporter for WLWT (NBC) in Cincinnati, Rivera broke in as a reporter for WABC-TV in 1970, Povich was a news reporter for WWDC and WTTG in Washington, D.C., and his wife Connie Chung, was a long-time, respected journalist on several networks.  There was also Morton Downey, Jr., a disc jockey and wannabe singer who had a short stint on KFBK with a talk show and was soon fired and replaced with Medal of Honor recipient, Rush Limbaugh. Phil Donahue, who started his talk show in the 60s covering respected topics in current events and politics, later followed suit with the trending times and covered many taboo topics in the 80s.

The fact that people actually watched this gunk was only part of the problem, but some actually believed what they were hearing and seeing. And why not? Many of these talk show hosts, as we mentioned, were journalists and reporters at one time. The non-believers, remained faithful to Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings when it came to reporting truth to the masses. They were the big three of network news throughout the 80s.

The trash TV era still reigns strong today with Povich, Springer and a host of new “personalities” paired with a slew of “Judge” shows which spawned from the 80’s hit “The People’s Court” featuring Judge Wapner. Judges! Who can be more reliable and truthful than a judge…right? The seeds were planted and the weeds had grown high, camouflaging reality with an alternative façade that would soon be called…well, “reality TV.” Crack…crack.

The Birth of the 24-hour New Cycle


With the launch of CNN in 1980, the era (or error) of 24-hour news cycle had begun. CNN’s broadcasts started out with opinion-free news from well-respected journalists such as Bernard Shaw, Lois Hart, Dave Walker, and later, they added well-known radio interviewer Larry King.  But out of tragedies such as the Gulf War, O.J. Simpson murders, and the attacks on 9-11, came new shows that made Wolf Blitzer, Greta Van Susteren and Nancy Grace household names.  MSNBC and FOX News both launched in 1996 and we were now drowning in a 24-hour spin cycle of information. Not all necessarily news, but entertainment created for ratings and to keep your attention by any means possible.

By 2007, MSNBC had been accused of leaning left in the political spectrum. They soon parted ways with Tucker Carlson, who later joined FOX News, and adding liberal commentator, Keith Olbermann. FOX, on the other hand, was not shy about its right-leaning agenda as they placed Republican media consultant Roger Ailes at the helm as its CEO.  As the Network thrived, Alan Colmes left the highly praised Hannity & Colmes show as the liberal commentator. He was not replaced, and FOX News seemed quite comfortable in their conservative threads.  Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly went on to develop extremely popular shows, which are often mistaken for news, along with The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, Don Lemon’s CNN Tonight. Today, most of these shows focus entirely on politics and report very little on national or international events unless they are of high-importance (like global pandemic).

The years of Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings were now gone for good and, though anchors such as ABC’s David Muir and NBC’s Lester Holt, are trying to maintain a format similar to the big three, many siphon their daily information from cable news and consider these outlets to be their “reliable sources.” Crumble.

The Death of MTV and the Birth of Reality TV

Not too long after Walter Cronkite said his last, “and that’s the way it is…,” MTV (Music Television) launched in August of 1981. After many successful years of chart-topping music videos, MTV decided to go into uncharted territory (no pun intended) by adding game shows and other programming to its lineup. In 1992, The Real World debuted which followed the “unscripted,” “real” events surrounding a bunch of teenage friends. What significance does this have to the search for “reliable sources?” Well, MTV may be the true epicenter of the “reality TV” explosion. The success of The Real World led to a massive change in the way we watch TV today. From Survivor to Keeping up with the Kardashians, so much of what we watch today is based in this false “reality” format. Even shows about animal doctors, treasure hunts and polygamist families are set up so to appear to be happening in real time. MTV realized the goldmine it had discovered and ditched their music format around 2001.

The important point in bringing up MTV is that so many of these “reality TV” shows that spawned from The Real World have the essence of believability to them. People believe that treasures are found on Storage Wars and Pawn Stars or that ghosts were found Ghost Hunters. Producers want you to believe that what you are seeing and hearing is real. I think that’s important to note.

A New Medium of Misinformation


By the early 90s, a new medium launched in the form of the World Wide Web.  In the beginning, there was very little regulation and the internet was filled with bad neighborhoods of hate groups, perverse pornography and conspiracy theory sites. It didn’t take long for people to become swayed away from their normal “reliable sources” and get caught up in a whirlwind of far out-of-the-box points of view and flat out false information.

Then came the birth of social media. After MySpace died a quick death, Facebook launched in 2004 and soon people could create their own little bubble of friends and family to share ideas, politically opinions and photos of breakfast, lunch and dinner. But, there were no regulations in place stopping people from creating groups and memes promoting false information. Now, the majority of users certainly would never replace the newspaper or evening news with something Uncle Bob said on Facebook, but as the platform grew, so did the amount of misinformation. After the 2016 election, Facebook was put on trial to respond to why its platform did not stop Russian groups from posting misinformation campaigns.

In addition, posts from deep web, extremist groups to opinion blog posts were going viral leading to dangerous levels of falsities. Twitter emerged in 2006 and reduced the world’s attention span to just 140 characters. Twitter allowed for everyday people to connect with celebrities, sports figures, journalists and politicians and curate specific subjects with the help of the #hashtag. In the midst of what looked to be the decline of the platform with the emergence of Instagram, Snap Chat and Whats App, Twitter became the communication tool of choice for President Donald Trump. They soon up the ante to 280 characters. From 2016 on, Trump used the platform to reach his base and encouraged them not to believe traditional news outlets such as CNN, MSNBC and newspapers such as The New York Times and the Washington Post.  He referred to their coverage (which often did not favor the President’s agenda) as “fake news”. He often called the press on Twitter as “the enemy of the people.” Sound familiar?


And there it is, now the “reliable sources” of information we depended upon had for so many years had been called into question, this time on a greater stage, as Donald Trump continued campaign rallies long after winning the presidency. Now what? Crack, crumble, crumble.

The Division

With the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States, the country became more divided than ever. Many longtime friends were lost on social media due to picking opposite candidates. Dinner tables became quiet and I wouldn’t be surprised if some marriages broke up. But, something else happened. The cable news networks went after each other too. Before, there was this unwritten rule about mentioning competing stations or seeming uncivil to the news anchor across the isle who leaned a different way. Trump’s attacks on news media outlets, newspapers and journalists called into question whether the “reliable sources” many depended upon for years were actually telling the truth or were they spewing “fake news.” CNN anchors attacked the credibility of FOX News anchors and visa-versa. Anchors such as Sheppard Smith who refused to follow a particular agenda when reporting the news, left FOX News after 23 years.

Just reading Facebook posts, I have never seen such division based on what a particular network was telling them. People went about their daily lives and spread information based on what news network they found to be a “reliable source.” Now the calls were coming from inside the house. Crack, crumble, crack.

A Tested Time of Crisis


So, now in a world where everyone is getting their information from different outlets, what happens when a real crisis hits and people need a “reliable source” to depend on for their own well-being?

Say hello to COVID-19, aka the novel coronavirus, the first pandemic to hit the world since 1918. At the beginning of the crisis, cable news organizations were greatly split. CNN and MSNBC were being accused of spreading fear and overreacting to the capabilities of this virus. Some FOX NEWS and right-wing radio hosts claimed reports about the virus were an attempt to bring down President Trump. During a rally in North Carolina on February 28, Trump called the left’s criticism of his administration’s handling of the COVID-19 response as “their next big hoax.” Oh, there’s more…

On March 9, FOX Business reporter Trish Regan said the coronavirus was “yet another attempt to impeach” Trump.

On March 10, Sean Hannity said on FOX News that the left was using the coronavirus as a “political weapon.”

The folks on FOX & Friends on March 13 touted that it was “the safest time to fly” despite warnings about COVID-19.

The aftermath, Trish Regan was fired for her comments, everyone else comfortably kept their jobs.

It was during this moment I realized the true damaging effect of having too many sources of information.

Folks on the right relied upon the President’s words and the conservative media as their “reliable source” of information. While others depended on left-leaning networks, podcasts, blogs, websites, and so on as their “reliable sources” of information.

So, here is the vital question: How do we get important, TRUE and reliable information to the masses during a crisis when everyone believes what they want to believe?

Whether it’s Anderson Cooper, Rush Limbaugh, Rachel Maddow, Sean Hannity or whoever, in an emergency like a pandemic, earthquake, hurricane, war etc., people should be able to depend on TV news anchors and personalities to supply them with reliable, truthful information.

Even on April 17, 2020, as I write this story months into this pandemic, information is all over the place. Many who watch CNN believe testing for COVID-19 is lacking and opening up government is too risky as FOX News viewers are being flooded with “open up America” stories as protesters take to the street and the President touts “liberate America.” How does it end? What does your reliable source tell you? Only time will tell. And that’s the way it is…

“Bird Box” Fever Hits Monrovia; Blindfolds Not Included

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

Just a little over a year ago, I left my house early in the morning in beautiful Monrovia, and headed out along my normal trek to work. I love taking the scenic route and avoiding the dreaded 210 freeway, so I drove up Canyon Blvd., across Foothill Blvd. toward Hillcrest Blvd. to steer clear of traffic and take in some nature.  Maybe I would see some deer, I thought. But, to my surprise halfway up the road I was met with police barricades which brought my scenic journey to an abrupt end. As I looked beyond the blockade which included police, fire and rescue vehicles, I saw such a disturbing site. Cars and other vehicles were thrown about the middle of the street like a four-year-old just got done playing smash-up derby with their Matchboxes. It was unreal and eerie. There was fire spewing up from the ground on one side of my home street on Canyon Blvd., and a geyser of water towering in the sky on the other side. I thought, “What the heck is happening? Is this it? Is this the end of the world?

After I made my way back the way I came and noticed more normal conditions everywhere else, I realized there must be some logical explanation for the apocalyptic horror I just experienced. Turned out, Sandra Bullock was responsible. Yep, the same Sandra Bullock who had a problem with a speeding, runaway bus through the streets of LA back in ’94. This time around, Bullock plays Malorie, a mother who keeps herself and her children safe by wearing blindfolds so they don’t make eye contact with unknown entities that cause people to lose their minds and commit suicide. “Bird Box” had a limited debut in theatres before the Netflix release was available to subscribers of the service on December 21, 2018.

Since then, the film has taken in close to $26 million, despite mediocre reviews. The curiosity, intrigue, and suspense alone have created enough buzz to make “Bird Box” and instant cult classic. It has also put the spotlight on the increasing popularity of streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu, which, in recent years, have drawn some high-profile actors, such as Bullock, to get on board this wave.

The famous house in the movie (pictured), has drawn some fans of its own, with folks flocking to the scene between Foothill Blvd and Hillcrest Blvd. on Canyon Blvd., to take their own classic shots, blindfold and all. So far, the homeowners don’t seem to mind. They have even kept the shades down on the side windows as they appear in the flick.

“Bird Box” has also sparked a dangerous trend where people are challenging themselves to do everyday tasks while blindfolded. All I can say to this is…please don’t. Settle for a picture. It’s safer.

Well, if anything, I’ve learned that I’ll have to keep up with neighborhood gossip a bit more, so when the next apocalypse hits Monrovia, I’ll be in the know.

I Drank From a Garden Hose and Lived to Tell About It


287152637-h“Go out and play!” How many of you heard that exclamation from your parents growing up? On Saturday, parents all over the country scooted their offspring out the door at dawn and didn’t expect them back until dusk. They would finally round them up by opening the front door and screaming at the top of their lungs. “DINNER!” No cell phone or GPS needed.  Every kid recognized the sound of their mom’s voice with in a five-mile radius. We spent the whole day playing outside away from our parents, and they got a break from us too. It was a win-win.  In Philadelphia, where I grew up, we played all different games out in the streets, whether it was handball, Nerf® football, tag, or Army/Navy, which required roaming about the entire neighborhood trying to capture the other team.  It was glorious! Oh, and after a long-sweaty day out in the heat, we ran home and got a nice, refreshing, cold drink…from the garden hose. Yep, I drank from a garden hose and lived to tell about it.

I’m not really sure what exactly happened as the generations have gone by. Why don’t kids go out and play anymore? It’s a different time they say. But is it really? One thing I do know, I live in a very safe neighborhood, with beautiful lawns to wrestle on, trees to climb and bushes to hide behind—but it’s like a ghost town. Kids aren’t playing catch, tag or football. Sports are boringly structured in organized play on school yards with coaches, refs and parents yelling from the sidelines. Phooey! What happened to pick-up games where you made up the rules as you went along? Where hiding a football under your shirt or spitting on a Wiffle ball was all fair play? Now you have to wonder, is it for the kids or the parents? “Why don’t you put my Johnny in? You know he’s the best player on the team.” Meanwhile, poor Johnny is on the sideline, palm in face, sulking down in embarrassment.

Have you heard the saying “Go play in traffic”? Well, we actually played in traffic. We tossed the Nerf and played full, four quarter football games with about 10 kids in the middle of the street. Granted, we stopped every five minutes to yell “CAR!!!” No different than the NFL with commercial breaks every five minutes for…CAR!  These days, it’s not football unless it involves two joy sticks and a jolly photo of John Madden and a star player who will probably now be out for the season.

Some do blame these video games for the lack of outdoor adventure. Look, I grew up with the Atari 2600 with its awesome graphics (especially boxing), and still found time for a game of stickball with pals. Finding them was another story though. This would require actually knocking on doors, checking area parks, and yelling their names at the highest pitch humanly possible. There was no cell phone to call Timmy or Charlie on. You actually spent part of your free time finding your friends.  And when you did knock on doors, parents would answer and say, “They are out there somewhere.” Image that. But we survived.

And, by the way (or btw for all you Millennials), these kids were really your friends, not some virtual friend, or one of your 500 Instagram friends. You know, like the one you met one time at some parent-organized picnic where they monitored your every move, and what kind of food you put in your mouth. “Johnny, spit out that chicken nugget right now! My son only eats non-GMO chickens, fed wholesome, organic, corn feed, and raised in the mountain ranges of Colorado, where the air is pure and the water is crystal clear.” What? Really? Give me a break! We grew up on BBQ hamburgers that tasted like lighter fluid and washed it down with Mountain Dew with plenty of high-fructose corn syrup and yummy Yellow Dye #5.  Oh, and we endured.

They don’t make playgrounds the same anymore either. Where are the monkey bars? What’s that slide made out of…plastic?  Where are the good ol’ metal slides that we loved burning ourselves on in 90 degree weather and stuck so hard to it that we would lose some skin on the way down. OUCH! And what’s with the foam padding everywhere? Back in the day, when we fell off the monkey bars it was all blacktop or cement to break your fall. You’d limp home trying not to cry for about 12 blocks (no Uber, sorry), with a scraped up knee, only to have your mom throw a Band Aid on it, tell you “You’re OK,” pat you on the behind and send you back out the door for more mayhem.  These days it would be a trip to urgent care, antibiotic cream and a pamphlet on “How to Avoid Playground Injuries: What Parents and Kids Need to Know.” But, somehow we made it through just fine.

Coming from the East Coast, weather was a factor as kid too. But, that never stopped us. Rain, sleet, snow, we were in it all. And guess what? I never caught pneumonia and died. We would just add “tackle” to our football games when the blizzards hit. Our winter coats, hair, boots and gloves would be so matted with snow that our parents couldn’t recognize us. “Is that our kid?” “I don’t know dear; just stick him in the vestibule until he thaws.” And once I melted I was fine.  Bring on the hot chocolate!

Yep, we built forts with real hammers and nails, climbed rooftops to retrieve lost balls and rode bikes downhill at top speed with no helmet.

Oh, and we drank from garden hoses and lived to tell about it!

Packing a Punch Against Parkinson’s Disease


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is chronic movement disorder that progresses and worsens as time goes by and affects over 10 million people worldwide. There is no cure for this debilitating condition and there aren’t any solid, specific conclusions as to what causes PD.1 A few of the more notable personalities that have been challenged by PD are actor Michael J. Fox, singer Linda Ronstadt, and former Attorney General Janet Reno who succumbed to the disease in 2016. PD usually affects persons over 40 to seniors, but there are many cases of younger persons developing this disease as early as age six. Despite no cure, medicine and surgical procedures have been used to relieve some of the symptoms of PD which include: involuntary movement (tremors in limbs at rest), muscle stiffness, poor balance, trouble standing, impaired voice, anxiety, depression and dementia.2 Another approach used to relieve some of the symptoms of PD is practicing aerobic and learning-based exercises.3

Exercise and Parkinson’s

Though research is ongoing, some promise has been shown in Parkinson’s patients who participate in both aerobic and learning-based exercises, and some doctors are prescribing exercise as a treatment to help with balance, posture, muscle stiffness, rhythmic movements, heart and lung function, and depression. Some aerobic exercises that are recommended can include walking, dancing, yoga, and classes that require shifts in movement, direction, and rotation. When it comes to learning-based exercises, it is really important to include exercises that challenge tempo, activity and direction, also known as “random practice” exercises.

Helen Kollias, PhD, a molecular exercise physiologist based in Toronto, notes in her article “Physical Activity and Parkinson’s Disease” that studies have found that people with PD who exercise have improved strength, cardiovascular fitness, balance, flexibility and gait.4 It is cautioned that starting an exercise program for those with PD depends on factors such as age and the progression of the disease. Before starting any new exercise regimen, PD patients should discuss the details with their physician. Once cleared by a doctor, the average exercise recommendation for those with PD is very similar to those without the disease, as long as they showing a heart rate at 70-80% maximum beats per minute. The age-based formula for calculating estimated maximum heartrate is 220 minus your age. Patients should strive for four to five times a week, exercising 30 to 40 minutes per session.3

“There is some very strong evidence, both anecdotal and researched (present in peer-reviewed journals), that shows exercise in general assists with symptoms and slowing progression of Parkinson’s Disease,” according to Yusuf Saleeby, MD, Founder and Director of Carolina Holistic (Priority Health, LLC), 20-year (retired) Emergency Medicine practitioner. “It is more difficult to show what types of exercise (aerobic vs. resistance training) is more effective, but there is a movement towards use of martial arts as a way to stave off the severity of the movement disorder,” notes Saleeby.

The Martial Arts Approach

As mentioned earlier, learning-based exercises, especially those considered “random practice” exercises can help PD patients with mobility, balance, posture, and help reduce muscle stiffness. Individuals with PD become more cognitively engaged with the practice and learning of movements and skills that were previously done automatically without thinking. Studies suggest that aerobic exercise, may have a role in the improvement of behavioral function in clients with PD. Exercises that incorporate goal-based training and aerobic activity have the potential to improve both cognitive and automatic components of motor control in individuals with mild to moderate PD through experience-dependent neuroplasticity, or creating normal behaviors through introduction of outside stimuli .9

Because the exercises in certain martial arts programs require shifts in tempo, direction and rotation, this may be just what the doctor ordered! “Vigorous and frequent exercise, such as non-contact kickboxing is encouraged among those with PD, especially the younger individuals as it has been shown to increase flexibility, increase mobility and decrease falls,” according to Saleeby. There is also evidence supporting that, in PD’s early stages clients can learn new motor skills. In a study, subjects with PD repeatedly practiced a series of rapid arm-reaching tasks with different levels of movement complexity over several days. Fast performance of sequential targeting tasks improved with practice in both groups and was retained over 48 hours.8

It is recommended, the PD clients exercise on a consistent basis. Those with PD enrolled in exercise programs longer than six months, regardless of intensity, have shown significant gains in functional balance and mobility as compared to programs of only two-week or 10-week durations.6

According to the stage your PD client is in, they may need assistance. Encourage them to bring a friend or family member along with them to work the martial arts class also. Working with a partner can be a motivational tool to help make working seem less like work and more fun. A partner can offer just the right amount of encouragement to someone who may feel less confident and more self-conscious.

It’s Not a New Concept

The idea that martial arts-related programs could help those with PD is not new by any means. Seventeen years ago, researchers at Emory and Georgia Tech studied the effects of Tai Chi and Qi Gong on Parkinson’s patients. The goal was to find out if these mind-body modalities can actually improve the quality of life of Parkinson’s sufferers by helping them “train their minds to train their bodies.”  Steven Wolf, professor of rehabilitation medicine at Emory, was the primary investigator in the 2001 study and concluded that PD patients performing Qi Gong showed improvement in gait and balance. In an earlier study in 1994, Wolf noted that older persons who took classes in Tai Chi had less falls. 7


It’s true that we have a long way to go when it comes to slowing the symptoms, and eventually finding a cure for the debilitating disease of Parkinson’s. But, it is encouraging to see studies that show that exercise can help and, that even exercise of a vigorous nature such as the short “rounds” of intense MMA-style moves found in some workouts can help relieve some of the symptoms of PD. Remember, not every person with PD is at the same level, and a doctor needs to chime in on the specific exercise needs of a client. Also, partnering up with someone who can offer support, encouragement and motivation, can be just what your client needs to help keep them focused and coming back to your classes for more!



  1. “What is Parkinson’s Disease?”
  2. “Parkinson’s Disease,”, Mayo Clinic.
  3. Exercise and Therapy,
  4. “Physical Activity and Parkinson’s Disease,” by Helen Kollias, PhD
  6. “Neuroprotective Benefits of Exercise”
  7. “Study: Can Martial Arts Help Whip Parkinson’s”
  8. “Striding Out With Parkinson Disease: Evidence-Based Physical Therapy for Gait Disorders”
  9. “Exercise-enhanced neuroplasticity targeting motor and cognitive circuitry in Parkinson’s disease.”


Tabata Training: Background and Benefits


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Fitness Class

After wearable technology and body weight training, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is the top fitness trend, according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). HIIT training involves short, intense intervals of exercise followed by short periods of recovery or rest. These intense workouts usually last no longer than 30 minutes. One of the more popular HIIT programs, Tabata training, utilizes eight rounds of intense exercise lasting 20 seconds each, followed by 10 seconds of rest/recovery. This type of short-burst workout can have cardiovascular benefits, and improve both athletic physical conditioning and glucose metabolism.

History of Tabata

In a 1996 study featuring Olympic speed skaters, Dr. Izumi Tabata and Coach Irisawa Koichi put athletes through a test on a mechanically-braked cycle ergometer. At an intensity of 170% of VO2max (maximum volume of oxygen an athlete can use), the skaters exercised for short bursts of 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest and repeated for four minutes; a total of eight cycles. The athletes trained using this method (Tabata named the IE1 protocol) for four days and added a fifth day of slate training (continuous training with no rest). A second group in the study performed steady slate training (70% VO2max) for five days.

The Tabata group achieved similar aerobic gains as the second group who worked out continuous. At the end, the second group did have a higher VO2max (from 52 to 57 mL/(kg•min), but the Tabata group, which started lower, gained more overall (48 to 55 mL/(kg•min). In addition, the Tabata group saw a 28% gain in their anaerobic fitness level.

Benefits of Tabata

The main purpose of Tabata training is to get the maximum benefits in the least amount of time. You can see why this type of exercise training would be appealing to Olympic athletes. It has been known to raise metabolism and the heart rate immediately, which also makes Tabata a great training program for weight loss. The protocol is so intense that your metabolism stays high, even after the workout is complete. As a result, you continue to burn fat for hours. The technical term for this is Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), also known as the “after burn” effect. Additional studies have shown that Tabata can burn up to 13.5 calories per minute.

One of the highlights of Tabata from a trainer’s standpoint is that it gives trainers the ability break down the exercise series to include short bursts of exercises such as push-ups, burpees, squats and sprints for example. Don’t forget each exercise is done at high-intensity for 20 seconds with 10 seconds of rest in-between. If done correctly, athletes can really take advantage of the benefits Tabata training can give them.


Tabata Is Not For Everyone

Due to the intensity of this program, Tabata is not for everyone. Since you are already P90X LIVE instructors and are used to training at a high level, you may find Tabata to be a comfortable transition, but when leading a class, there are some important things to keep in mind.

Participants who normally consider themselves strong exercisers have been known to be caught off guard by Tabata training; many find it hard to catch their breath while others are just not physically able to handle the intensity of this workout. It is encouraged that all participants get clearance from their doctors before starting a Tabata training program and be forthcoming with their instructor on any injuries they have.  It is our recommendation that participants let their injuries heal before taking on this program. Also taking advantage of these short rest periods is vital. This is a good time to practice breathing exercises and keep moving even at a slow pace to keep the blood flowing and muscles limber. Of course, you are not training to be Olympic speed skaters, so as P90X LIVE instructors you will be provided with a predesigned workout that will be a variation of the Tabata program.

With any HIIT training, proper nutrition is important as well. Tabata is not a program you want to show up to on an empty stomach. But, don’t weigh yourself down with too much protein or carbs either. Some fast digesting protein and carbs can fuel your muscles with the essential amino acids you’ll need. You can also suggest clients consult with a registered dietitian to find the right nutritional balance for them.

While Tabata is a tough training program, it can also be a fun, challenging workout that participants will enjoy. And, you will be instructing on a valuable tool for both exercisers and athletes, how to get maximum benefits of a full workout, in a shorter length of time. Or, as they say on Wall Street, “more bang for your buck.”

Kevin McGuire is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. He has been writing on topics of health, fitness and nutrition for 10 years. He can be reached at



Tabata, Izumi; Nishimura, Kouji; Kouzaki, Motoki; Hirai, Yuusuke; Ogita, Futoshi; Miyachi, Motohiko; Yamamoto, Kaoru (1996). “Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and VO2max”. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 28 (10): 1327–30.doi:10.1097/00005768-199610000-00018.PMID 8897392.

Tabata, Izumi; Irisawa, Kouichi; Kouzaki, Motoki; Nishimura, Kouji; Ogita, Futoshi; Miyachi, Motohiko (1997). “Metabolic profile of high intensity intermittent exercises”. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.29 (3): 390–5. doi:10.1097/00005768-199703000-00015. PMID 9139179

“The New Science Behind Tabata Training, the Four-Minute Wonder Workout”


The Return of the Deep Squat


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The squat — it’s one of those exercises that we learn naturally. Prior to walking, infants spend quite a bit of time in the squat position. Soon enough they are stumbling along, grabbing a hold of anything in reach to keep themselves balanced, but are soon back to squatting in order to reach that favorite stuffed animal. As we grew up, so did the squat, which went on to become “the king of exercises” in the fitness arena.

By the late 19th and early 20th century, aspiring bodybuilders were following the lead of one Henry “Milo” Steinborn, champion strongman and the namesake of the “Steinborn Squat,” which became a staple move in the world of weight lifting. The Steinborn Squat involves lifting the weighted bar from a tilt position (no rack), carefully placing the bar across the back, dropping down in a deep squat as far as you can go, then returning to an upright position, and placing the bar down again in tilt position. Milo went on to greater feats such as lifting automobiles and elephants. Yet one thing that Milo did became taboo, and it wasn’t the tilted approach or lifting cars and elephants — it was deep squats.

Though the deep squat didn’t kill Milo (in fact, he lived to a ripe old age of 95), by the 1960s the recommendation was that squats shouldn’t go past the parallel position and that deep squats contribute to knee injuries such as ligament tears. But today deep squats are back. So why the taboo and what has changed to dispel the myths?

The deep squat taboo
In 1961, Dr. Karl Klein, a University of Texas researcher, released a paper called “The deep squat exercise as utilized in weight training for athletes and its effects on the ligaments of the knee.” Comparing 128 weight lifters that regularly performed deep squats to 360 college students who did not, Klein found that the weight lifters’ knee joints showed greater laxity and instability than those of the students. As a result, Klein recommended that full squats be discouraged citing that doing deep squats could result in a “debilitative effect on the ligamental structures of the knee.” Later that same year, the American Medical Association (AMA) backed up Klein’s claims. As a result of the backing of the AMA, these claims triggered a snowball effect causing physical fitness trainers and school superintendents to halt the practice of full squats. But that wasn’t all as soon after several branches of the military also followed suit and banned deep squats from military training exercise regimens.

But it’s natural
As mentioned earlier, full squats are part of our natural movement from infancy. In fact, the human fetus has been known to rest in the squat position within the womb. If it’s a natural movement — how can it be bad for us? Dr. Klein’s results have never been duplicated by other researchers. In fact, many have found issues with Klein’s research. Some of the participants in Klein’s study, for example, noted that the aluminum apparatus used in the test (which fit like a cast around the knee) applied too much pressure and was painful. Also, though Klein highlights the implications of maximum force on the knees, he fails to mention the “wrapping effect” or the contact area between muscles and bones. The wrapping effect minimizes shear force on the ligamentous structures of the knee, specifically to the anterior and posterior cruciate ligament.

In addition, more recent research shows that doing deep squats correctly can be quite beneficial (Williams, D.). First off, when doing deep squats, exercisers utilize full range of motion (ROM) and, secondly, they can help support joint health, help prevent deformity and dysfunction, and help reduce pain. “Deep squats are necessary to stretch the soft tissue in the lower body and to improve mobility and ROM,” according to Maksim Seredov, CSCS, RKC, FMSC. Seredov is the owner of L.I.F.T. Strength & Conditioning, LLC and is a Beachbody Master Trainer certified in both INSANITY® and P90X®. Seredov notes that other deep squat benefits include: maintaining gristle health in the hip, improvement of ankle and hip joint mobility, and increase in knee stability and sprinting and jumping performance.

Thirdly, the fact that full ROM is not accomplished in the half-squat approach means that you are not fully working all the muscles that benefit from full squats. A study presented at the 2008 Congress of the European College of Sport Science showed that subjects performing full squats for 12 weeks had a significantly greater increase in thigh muscle growth compared to those doing shallow squats.

When going deep, technique is key
As with any exercise, the key is to do it correctly. No warm-up is needed before jumping into deep squats; in fact, the deep squats can be part of your warm-up. Seredov notes that there is no one technique that will suit all; however, there are certain criteria that exercisers/athletes should follow in order to properly perform a deep squat. Note: If at any point a participant feels pain as a result of doing deep squats, they should stop immediately.

  1. Heels must remain flat on the ground and there should not be a noticeable shift to the ball of the foot. Having the entire foot on the ground is incredibly important for creation of a stable base and adequate torque from which to develop power.
  2. Feet should not rotate out during the execution of the squat; they must stay firmly planted on the ground. It is normal to demonstrate varying degrees of external rotation of the foot when squatting due to anatomical differences and training goals. The key is that this amount of rotation shouldn’t change from start to end.
  3. The knees should not move inward (valgus collapse) during the squat, as this type of movement results in approximately 70% of all knee injuries, chronic and acute.
  4. The hip crease should descend below the knee crease. All athletes should have the mobility and motor control to reach full squat depth in order to ensure long-term knee health, mobility, stability, strength, and performance.
  5. The low back and neck must remain in a neutral position during the entire squat. A combination of mobility and motor control issues can impact an athlete’s ability to maintain a neutral spine while squatting. Not maintaining proper spine positioning places unnecessary stress on the tissues of the spine.

Be careful, some people don’t know squat
Seredov points out that many squat-related injuries occur because people are misinformed and obtain information from unqualified sources, often on the Internet. “The Internet can be a curse and a blessing at the same time. Since anybody can call themselves an expert and false information is everywhere, it is difficult to distinguish real truth from [false] outdated information,” Seredov says. One of the issues among exercisers trying to do squats is inadequate dorsiflexion in the ankle joints, which may be a direct result of changing styles in athletic footwear. “Fitness shoes used to be made with a significant heel lift,” Seredov points out. “Now the shift is to minimalist, barefoot, and zero drop cross training shoes and this is why so many people squat on the balls of their feet on their toes with their heels completely off of the ground.”

Another issue people run into is motor control. Most people can lie on their back and go through the motions of a squat with no problem, but upright, with gravity in play, people find themselves off balance and falling over while attempting the same moves. Seredov notes, “The second a load is introduced, i.e. gravity or a barbell or kettlebell, most people’s kinetic chain breaks down and the movement becomes dysfunctional.” If a person’s basic motor skills and balance issues are not improved prior to taking on deep squats, trainers can expect participants to repeat bad behavior and risk injury.

As far as weight is concerned, deep squats don’t require exercisers/athletes to use weightlifting bars. Seredov says that deep squats can be performed as standalone bodyweight movements.  “If the athlete is advanced, a load can be introduced or if the athlete is a beginner to deep squats, bands like the TRX or other suspension trainers, a ballet barre, or even a doorknob can provide assistance as the athlete descends into the squat position.”

In Conclusion
Deep squats, once looked upon as dangerous knee killers, are now revered by fitness experts as a great way to maximize your workout and strengthen muscles utilizing full range of motion.  They can be done with an added bar for weight or by using your own body weight. And most importantly, remember proper technique is the key to avoiding injury. So next time you want to tackle some squats, don’t take the shortcut…go deep instead.

Author Bio: Kevin McGuire is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. He has been writing on topics of health, fitness, and nutrition for 10 years. He can be reached at

OK, I’m On LinkedIn, Now What?


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Tapping into the networking world of LinkedIn

In the world of business, connections mean everything. We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Well, with LinkedIn, it is a bit of both. The connections you make now in current jobs may help pave the way toward new, exciting opportunities and/or careers. And, when a tough situation comes along, such as loss of employment, you can be certain that your network will be who you will count on for your next job. In fact, an Adler Group survey back in February 2016 stated that 65-75% of job seekers found their next job through networking (only 10% found a job on a job board). Here are some other interesting stats to consider from LinkedIn (LI):

  • 93% Employers Have Used LI
  • 89% Hiring Managers Have Used LI to Hire
  • 94% Recruiters Used LI to Vet Candidates
  • Executives from all Fortune 500 Are on LI
  • 90 of Fortune 100 are on LI

Even books for job-seekers such as What Color is Your Parachute, by Richard Nelson Bolles, which has been in print since 1970, has dedicated a chapter to LinkedIn.

So you’ve followed the trend and you created your LinkedIn profile…now what? Here are some useful tips on how to get the most from your LinkedIn page.

Customize Your URL

When you initially create your LinkedIn profile, you end up with a long URL which consists of your name followed by a series of numbers. It’s a link only someone with a photographic memory will remember. This is easily fixable. Just move your cursor over Profile on the top left and click Edit Profile. Scroll down below your profile picture and move your cursor to the right of the URL and a little gear icon will appear. Click the gear and in the upper right you will see Your public profile URL. Click on the pen icon to the right of your URL and then you can customize your URL. Keep in mind, LinkedIn is supposed to be for business professionals, so having URLs such as isn’t the best idea. Keep it simple and professional. A simple, URL can gain you more visibility and help enhance your personal brand. Once your new URL is ready, don’t hesitate to put it at the top of your resume.

 Make Your Photo Count

People like to put a face to the name. Make sure your profile has a clear photo of you. Potential employers are seven times more likely to view a profile with a photo. And, please, don’t post that photo of you wearing that goofy hat from the party, or posing with a bunch of friends, or in front of a cluttered or busy background. Your profile photo should be you looking your best and don’t be afraid to smile. People are more drawn to a happy face. Keep clothes conservative, business casual, with no overly bright or dark colors, or shirts with sayings or team logos. Your photo should display how you want your next boss to see you. There are even some sites like where people can rank the quality of your photos. Not a great site for the thin-skinned, but a great place to find out if you’ve choose a winning shot.

Complete Your Profile

Similar to your resume, your LinkedIn profile should tell people the essential skills you have that drives you apart from other job candidates. One difference is that on LinkedIn you can write your profile in first person. But, before a potential employer even gets to your previous job experience and education, there are two other crucial areas of your profile that must shine bright; your Headline and your Summary.

Your Headline is your personal brand. List the functions and specialties that make you the valuable employee that you are. For example:

Lutz Finger

Getting Data & Insights To Work @LinkedIn Entrepreneur, Angel Investor, Quantum Physicist, Author

Now, though most won’t be able to list quantum physicist as a job title, you still have excellent qualities to highlight the best of you with awesome, searchable keywords. You should avoid using certain symbols such as “&” and “/” in your Headline, as it may affect a keyword search. The Headline will also include you current and previous employers and educational institutions you attended.

The Summary is the highlighted information that you would include in a cover letter. It usually covers four areas: Profession, Skills, Environments and Strengths.


Give a detailed description of your job title in present tense. If you are a vice president, for example, don’t just say “I am the vice president at PepsiCo.” Rather, “I am the vice president of PepsiCo’s distribution division and I lead a team 65 employees and two managers…”


Skills should include all the expertise you have in a particular area and any certifications or training you have completed.


List all types of organizations such as Fortune 500, non-profit or government agencies that you have worked for and, also, if you were part of a small group, large group or an entrepreneurial environment at any time.


What makes you unique from the other candidates with your skill set? Maybe you have a great temperament, are a problem solver or have specialty computer skills that gives you an edge. What makes you marketable?


Become a recognizable person in the feeds of your connections. Post comments in the update section that highlights your skills and write some more in-depth articles detailing subjects where you have expertise. Make sure you add a great photo to compliment your article.

Like and comment on other people’s posts and recognize their skills as well by endorsing them at the bottom of their profile. This may encourage others to return the favor and endorse you. Just make sure you list the skills you most want to see endorsements for at the top.

Under the Interests tab at the top you can pick companies you are interested in and follow them. You can also join Groups. Groups are where people gather to talk about subjects of common interest. So if you are into digital marketing, find a group on digital marketing where you can share your knowledge and learn and comment on other people’s posts as well.

Engaging with others is a great way to get noticed, gain connections and network. There are also groups dedicated to job seekers.


If you are looking for work or to change careers, consider investing in LinkedIn Premium. It cost $29.99 a month, but it just might be worth it. With the Premium package you can see a full list of who has viewed your profile. If a potential employer or recruiter has viewed your profile, it shows that there is already some interest in your skills. Premium allows you to use InMail to send messages to people even if you are not connected with them. This can be a good way to reach out to recruiters and human resource personnel. Just make sure you use the etiquette approach and don’t just ask for a job. Introduce yourself and give some information about what you do and the skills you have. You may get some feedback on current job openings and how to apply.

In addition, you can search jobs by salary and get a more detailed advanced job searches to help narrow down to exactly what you are looking for. But, one of the biggest advantages to paying for the Premium service is access to IN Learning courses. Learn WordPress, Social Media Marketing, Art Direction, Graphic Design and so much more with online course you can complete at your convenience.

Improve your profile, engage, hone your skills and whether your goal is to increase your network, change careers or find a job in your realm, you will be on the right track.


Lee Hecht Harrison – Advanced LinkedIn



Tim Kang: The Mentalist and Beyond




May/June 2015

When I first met with Tim Kang, I was greeted with a smile. A rare occurrence if you are familiar with Kang’s by-the-book, deadpan character, FBI agent Kimball Cho, on the longrunning CBS hit series The Mentalist. In person, Kang is a laid-back guy who enjoys adventure and a good laugh.

In March, the final episode of The Mentalist aired, ending a reign of seven successful seasons. Kang, 42, expresses how honored he is to have worked with such an outstanding cast and crew. “It’s a bittersweet end,” Kang says. “Obviously we’ve become a big family. I think it’s what has contributed to the success of the show. If you could see the relationships coming through as we play the parts and as we tell the story, you can tell that we genuinely like hanging out with each other. I loved going into work every day. So obviously, those kinds of things I will miss.”

Kang graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, and then went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts from the A.R.T. Institute at Harvard University. How similar is Kang in real life to his stern Cho character? There are some similarities, Kang states, but he doesn’t live there all the time. “I think that certainly any actor brings something of himself or herself to each character they play, and I think that’s true with Cho. Cho lives in that professional space most of the time, but you know, I like to laugh, I like to smile every once in awhile,” Kang chuckles.

Stunt Work Means Staying in Shape

Being in top shape has helped Kang tackle some of the action scenes on set. Kang performed most of his own stunts on the show and having a black belt in taekwondo comes in handy when faced with a fight scene or chasing down a bad guy. “It’s not a stunt-heavy show, but as much as I can do, I will definitely participate in,” shares Kang. “Now, if Cho’s jumping off a 15-story building, I’ll have a stunt guy do that [Kang laughs], but most stunts I participated in. There were some injuries here and there, but I managed to make it out with not too many scrapes.” Staying fit is nothing new to Kang—it’s been on the agenda since he was a kid. He started taekwondo at age 10 and began weight-training by high school to prepare for football; that’s really when he started working out and spending time in the gym. Kang recalls, “Back then it was just five sets of five reps of bench press and five sets of five of squats and just strength training those big muscles.” Now, Kang works with trainer Derius K. Pierce who got him into TRX suspension training, plyometric and body weight training, and he does a lot of cardio on his own to stay as trim as he can. “[Derius] mixes it up in every workout so my muscles are surprised and I don’t get used to any one motion or any one exercise,” Kang notes. Pierce described Kang in an interview as a person who likes learning new things and being challenged. Circuits provided by Pierce for Kang have included 3 or 4 exercises done 3x in a 20-minute period. An example workout may consist of:

  • Decline pullovers with a crunch at the height of the movement.
  • Weighted dips using the Roman chair—touching knees to the back pad.
  • Peck deck flys.
  • 10 wide step mountain climbers using 4-count reps.(1)

When he’s not working out, Kang is still physically active. You scuba diving or hitting 130 to 140 miles per hour around the track on his motorcycle, or letting loose on off -roading motocross adventures.

The Paleo Approach

When it comes to diet and nutrition, Kang says he has found great benefit from the Paleo Diet™. “I’m not super strict about gluten-free, but it’s just a good, healthy diet,” he says. Kang notes the recent “Paleo craze” is nothing new to the world of fitness. “All those guys in the ‘70s were eating a Paleo Diet—Schwarzenegger, Ferrigno, that was all Paleo they were eating,” Kang exclaims. “We just kind of repackaged it, put some flash in there and called it Paleo. I’m doing it now and I’ve gotten a lot of benefit from it. I haven’t felt better in my life.” But, Kang admits that every once in awhile he’s a guy who likes to eat junk food and splurge on fast food. “But those are cheat days,” Kang explains. “When I’m in my mode, it’s Paleo.”


In 2009, Kang’s daughter Bianca was born opening up a new and exciting chapter in his life. “It’s the most amazing thing that I ever experienced,” Kang enthuses. “It’s an amazing experience just to watch her grow. She’s such a wonderful kid—her mom and I really lucked out.” The birth of his daughter helped influence Kang’s charity work as well. For many years now, Kang has been involved with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC), a nonprofit organization that provides information to help locate missing children who run away from home or have been abducted. NCMEC also assists children who have been physically or sexually abused. “With the early success of The Mentalist I wanted to give back, and at that time my daughter was born—I thought to myself it would be my worst nightmare if anything were to happen to her,” Kang says. So, he decided to find a charity that helps children. “Our kids are our future and it’s important to ensure their safety and this is a fantastic organization and fantastic people. They’re really the salt of the Earth.” You can visit their website at

Beyond The Mentalist

After many seasons on The Mentalist, Kang for the first time in years found himself “unemployed” after the show wrapped shooting in December 2014. He’s grateful for having had the opportunity with The Mentalist, but also embraces the change. “I think we’ve run the gamut as far as the stories that can be told within this context on CBS. I think everybody is ready to do something new. That’s not to say if they asked us to come back and do another year we wouldn’t do it,” notes the San Francisco native.

Kang is now focusing on his own production company, One Shoot Films, which he hopes will open up more opportunities for young actors and writers to get noticed. He also aspires to churn out his own series. “We are in the process of fine-tuning the pilot,” Kang reveals. “It’s always one of the hardest things to do, getting a pilot made. You have to keep at it and keep those creative juices flowing. Right now we are just working on a script and throwing some ideas around.” Kang hopes to dabble in directing and writing in the future as well. One thing is for sure, you can expect to see more of Tim Kang for years to come. AF

KEVIN McGUIRE holds a BA degree in journalism and is the managing editor for American Fitness.



The Dark Side of Social Media Part I: Cyberbullying

Teenage Victim Of Online Bullying With Laptop

Teenage Victim Of Online Bullying With Laptop

In between the videos of kitty playing piano and pictures of grandma blowing out candles on her 90th birthday resides the darker side of social media; a place hiding in plain sight that is filled with gruesomeness, brutality, bullying and malicious intent. A place where privacy is non-existent, a tweet can get you killed, and terrorists lurk to attain new recruits.

Classroom Teasing Goes Viral

I remember being a high school freshman in an all-boys Catholic school in the 80s. I was a tiny, skinny, little kid that found himself pushed to the ground at times by the usual suspects of classroom bullies. Lucky for me, I was one of the quickest kids in school too and running was a better alternative to kissing a sidewalk. Surely there were moments when I wasn’t quick enough and found my pants pull down from behind, or a “Kick Me” note on my back. Embarrassing moments for sure with all my classmates laughing or my teacher standing in front of me, but, luckily,  I was able to shake it off and move on. Unfortunately, many kids aren’t able to move past the humiliation and, as a result find themselves depressed with low self-esteem, failing grades and not many friends.

Grim statistics show that not only has occurrences of bullying increased in recent years, but in many cases today, the reach of the bully extends far beyond school yards. In our new digital world, cyberbullying is the latest way for bullies to hurt kids with maximum impact. Now bullies not only say and do hurtful things to our kids in person, but they share these insults, humiliating pictures and videos on Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, through e-mail and other social media outlets, magnifying them to immeasurable levels. Some bullies have gone so far as to creating websites dedicated to mocking other kids. It is an outlet that makes bullies feel powerful and in control. Cyberbullying targets a child’s life and social image. My incident of having my pants pulled down in front of 25 other kids would be looping on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Vine, possibly receiving thousands of views and shares. I can’t even imagine.

According to Cyberbullying Statistics:

  • Over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyberbullying.
  • More than 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyber-threats online.
  • Over 25% of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the Internet.
  • Well over half of young people do not tell their parents when cyber bullying occurs.

According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, in a survey of 2,000 middle-school children from across the nation:

  • 20% of respondents thought seriously about suicide
  • 19% reported having attempted suicide
  • Cyberbullying victims were 1.9 times more likely to attempt suicide than non-victims

Some of the Victims

  • Matthew Burdette, 14, a student in San Diego took his own life after a student filmed him in the school bathroom stall. The film was posted on Vine and Snapchat.
  • Jessica Laney, a 16-year-old from Pasco County, Florida, hanged herself after being bullied about her weight onfm.
  • After being blackmailed on Skype, Daniel Perry, a 17-year-old from Scotland, jumped to his death from a local bridge. Daniel was harassed often on hisfm page, with commenters telling him to kill himself and that he should cut his throat. He was then tricked into Skyping with someone he was told was a girl his own age and then blackmailed him with screenshots by anonymous users.
  • Viviana Aguirre, 14, of El Paso took her own life after countless bullying incidents on Facebook. Some of the messages suggested Viviana kill herself and even recommended ways she could do it.

Unfortunately, there are so many more examples of this. Now, personally, 30+ years ago when I was in high school I never heard ANY kid tell another kid they should kill themselves. This is very disturbing, not only that it’s happening, but that these calls for suicide are not just coming from individual bullies, but groups of them at once.

Warning Signs

Suspect that your child is being cyberbullied? Here are some warning signs according to Kids who are being bullied tend to:

  • Use alcohol and drugs
  • Skip school
  • Experience in-person bullying
  • Be unwilling to attend school
  • Receive poor grades
  • Have lower self-esteem
  • Have more health problems


Communication is key when it comes to cyberbullying. It’s not only important to discuss daily with kids on how their day went at school, but it is equally important to discuss what they should do if they are bullied and advise them not to bully others. Also alert the school principle if your child reports any bullying incident to you. Some parents choose to monitor their child’s activities online and require their passwords to social media sites so they can view activity. Statistics show that 65% of children go online unsupervised!

The other unfortunate aspect of cyberbullying is that it is not only targeted to kids. There are many instances of adult cyberbullying as well. According to PEW research, 40% of adults have been victims of online bullying. Some of these stats include public figures and celebrities as well. During her TED talks, former presidential intern Monica Lewinsky was quoted as saying, “The more shame, the more clicks and the more clicks the more advertising dollars. We are making money off the back of suffering.” On April 3, 2015, Kevin Bollaert was convicted and sentenced to 18 years in prison for his ‘revenge porn’ website. Bollaert posted over 10,000 nude photos of women sent in by ex-lovers and then charged the victims money to remove the photos.

You can report cyberbullying at or

http://www.endcyberbullying .com and also take these steps immediately:

  • Don’t respond to and don’t forward cyberbullying messages.
  • Keep evidence of cyberbullying. Record the dates, times, and descriptions of instances when cyberbullying has occurred. Save and print screenshots, emails, and text messages.
  • Block the person who is cyberbullying.

Stay tuned for more articles to come on cyberbullying as well as other topics from The Dark Side of Social Media.

Bio: Kevin McGuire is a freelance journalist based in Los Angeles. Look for his his latest articles and insight on how social media is impacting our world at -coming soon!