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  • The Book

    Just what is this book about?

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    My goal is inform and guide readers how to develop a healthy relationship with the so-called ‘virtual worlds’ in which we reside in today’s society. Among these worlds are wireless communications, interactive platforms, tsunamis of information, fictional simulated worlds - realities in which millions of people around the world co-exist simultaneously in their daily lives. I have included tools such as reflection, exercises / actions and resources to help you deal effectively with this ever-expanding issue.

  • The Book

    fish

    The Internet and the cyber-connected worlds can be seen as open waters more than a closed controlled pool. In a pool, a lifeguard is often nearby and the area is controlled and contained. The Internet is not like swimming in a pool at all; it is more like diving into open water. Even with net tools, “net-nannies” and similar limit setting devices, it is easy to find links and lures to other areas of the Net, allowing unsuspecting leisure swimmers to be swept up by cyber waves into unknown and sometimes risky “waters.” There are many technological portals to this world, ranging from smart phones, cyber watches, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. The sometimes calm surface of the Internet is often linked to darker sites that are often just a click away. Some people are oblivious to the potential implications and dangers that exist in some patches of cyberspace.

  • The Book

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    Like shark-infested waters, there may be cyber scammers, predators and pornography snares. Some people become so anxious about these potential dangers that they avoid using the Net, which is not realistic in the 21st century. The key to navigating the Net is not to avoid it completely but to tread carefully. It is therefore important to learn how to have a healthy relationship with cyberspace by developing healthy “strokes” to keep afloat and prevent drowning in the cyber waves. This book will give you the knowledge, skills and attitudes to do that.

  • The Book

    WHO is this book for?

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    You might wonder if this book is for you. As I wrote this book I had specific target audiences in mind:

  • The Book

    PARENTS

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    PARENTS: Raising children in the 21st century, surrounded and invaded on all sides by cyber tech, is not simple. The landscape of parenting has changed over the decades. There is still the need for concern with issues such as safety, nutrition and education. As if those concerns are not enough, today’s parents worry (as they should) about their children’s activities in the use of the newest technology. The reality is that many adults in our world have no idea how to develop their own healthy relationship with today’s high tech technology; their focus is to get whatever job or task completed without crashing their computer or zapping their mobile devices.

  • The Book

    PARENTS

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    It is our responsibility to be role models to the next generation. In reality, many adults have similar or even more serious problems managing their screen time, quick communications, and general healthy boundaries than younger users. The rampant growth of cyber technology is influencing our family and community values. Parents can help motivate their children, assist in ways to foster independence, and ensure that the family has a common understanding of particular issues they wish to tackle. The key is for parents to become aware of the current state of affairs, educate themselves on key issues, and take proactive steps to help the entire family develop a healthy way of interacting with cyber worlds.

  • The Book

    THE WHOLE FAMILY

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    THE WHOLE FAMILY: Do not think that that only the young can develop unhealthy behaviours with cyber activities. You could be a senior who has just been handed a tablet device and are being bombarded by scam ads. You could be the son or daughter of that senior who needs to help educate your parent on this! You might be the youthful grandson or granddaughter who people worry is spending too much time on the computer – and need to show your family your use is healthy and educate them all on current cyber issues, netiquette, and more. The information here can also be used by entire families to read and reflect together to work as a unit in developing your own family values in interacting with the virtual and wireless worlds.

  • The Book

    TEACHERS

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    TEACHERS: The material in this book, although aimed at families, is also presented for discussion in educational institutions. Each section deals with a specific theme with reflective exercises that can be adapted to different learner groups. Also, it may raise questions of Internet use rules for various educational settings e.g. the reason why a school does or does not allow smartphone use during recess. What policy is there for using tablets/laptops/phones during meetings? I believe this book will help illuminate these issues and help promote discussions for teachers and parents for helping create healthy guidelines for the use of technology.

  • The Book

    IN CASE YOU ARE NOT ONE OF THE ABOVE

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    IN CASE YOU ARE NOT ONE OF THE ABOVE: You do not need to be a parent or a teacher to apply many of the concepts to your own life to consider the nature and extent of your relationship between the physical and virtual worlds. We are all potentially vulnerable to many of the lures lurking in the depths of the cyber. The important thing is learning about what they are, reflecting on your own behaviours, and maintain a healthy dynamic balance in your life. This book is helpful for everyone that accesses various devices that allow connection to cyberspace.

  • The Author

    As an award-winning psychiatrist, Dr. Bruce Ballon brings more than two decades of experience in cutting edge mental health clinical treatment, innovative education, novel simulations, psychodynamic coaching, group facilitation, and creativity enhancing techniques for teaching and training to individuals and groups…

  • The Author

    As an award-winning psychiatrist, Dr. Bruce Ballon brings more than two decades of experience in cutting edge mental health clinical treatment, innovative education, novel simulations, psychodynamic coaching, group facilitation, and creativity enhancing techniques for teaching and training to individuals and groups. He is an Associate Professor for the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine and Adjunct Professor for the University of Ontario Institute of Technology Faculty of Health Sciences.

  • The Author

    Among his long list of accomplishments, Dr. Ballon is the lead developer of the Advanced Clinical and Educational Services (ACES) for Problem Gambling, Gaming and Internet Addiction at the Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. He has also has acted as a consultant regarding addiction and mental health issues for many healthcare professional organizations. He has written books for children, parents, and the general public on youth and family health issues.

  • The Author

    Dr. Ballon is a sought-after speaker for national and international meetings. His specialized interests include various forms of media and their relationship with addiction and mental health issues. He is considered an expert in the area of simulation and experiential interactive techniques. He has designed a variety of novel educational and therapy initiatives involving the use of film, television, the Internet, videogames, theatre, magic, mentalism and art.

  • The Author

    Dr. Ballon has been a consultant and advisor to a variety of media related activities including television, plays, novels and film productions to help create accurate portrayals of psychiatric and addiction elements. He also works with industries involved in interactive technology and games for understanding their impact on peoples’ lives. He has also created games dealing with mental health and addiction issues that have garnered him awards from the Games Manufacturers Association. He has also received rewards from international literary and academic associations.

  • The Author

    Dr. Ballon is an Illusionist who performs magic and mentalism, as well as a collaborator and consultant for professional magicians around the world.

  • star fish

    Excerpts

    Here you will find the table of contents and a few samples to peruse

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    Excerpts

    Table of contents
    INTRODUCTION: Dipping in the toe...
    What is this book for?
    WHERE does the work get done?
    HOW will it help?
    WHY did I write this book?
    WHEN do you start?

    PART 1
    REFLECTION ON THE WAVES: Personal connections to the cyberworld
    The reflection on the Cyber Surface
    Technology is here to stay
    Take the quiz!
    The world we live in today
    Setting guidelines
    Fear of technology advancement or real threat to society?

    Interlude: The Waters of Cyberspace

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    Excerpts

    PART 2
    WADING IN: How Important are your connections?
    Let's talk about connection
    Where do you stand with technology?
    Where did the time go?
    21st Century Dinner Pastiche
    The reality of 21st-Century communication and our new virtual landscape
    “Santa’s Cyber Health List”

    Interlude: Riding Tidal Waves!

    PART 3
    TSUNAMI! Information overload
    Overload defined
    Information is not always true
    A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing
    Where do you stand?
    What’s the big deal?
    “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to a Talk About Internet Misuse”


    Interlude: Tranquillity Under the Sea

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    Excerpts

    PART 4
    A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT: Real impact of virtual worlds
    Where are we heading?
    Finances
    Emotional Hazards
    Social and Ethical Dangers-Video Games
    Physical Danger
    Sample Family Guidelines

    Interlude: Deep Sea Dangers

    PART 5
    CAPSIZED: When is “it” a problem? Is this an… “Addiction”?
    Addiction
    Over-reliance?
    What drives “Addictive” Behaviours?
    Words and labels
    What is addiction?

    Interlude: Marine Scanning and Charting

  • star fish

    Excerpts

    Here you will find the table of contents and a few
    samples to peruse

    PART 6
    BRAIN WAVES & MIND CURRENTS: Neurobiology and Mental Health
    Waves of the grey
    Currents of the mind

    Interlude: Other Cyberswimming Safety Considerations

    PART 7
    MIRAGE AT SEA: Simulation and games
    Virtual impact
    Stereotypes and video games
    Statistically thinking
    The myth that Blowing things up is good for you
    Physical consequences of gaming "addictions"
    Video Game Ratings

     Interlude: Swimming Techniques I

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    Excerpts

    PART 8
    GATHERING SHELLS: Cyber shopping
    Is it the spending?
    The thrill of the win
    Some possible motivations

    Interlude: Swimming Techniques II

    PART 9
    CLIFF DIVING: Gambling and the cyberworld
    Internet gambling
    Alarming numbers are eye openers
    Problems compounding problems
    Are there such things as online gambling predictors?
    Example: When Gambling, Gaming, Simulation and Apps Meet!
    Where did all the youth gamblers go?

    Interlude: Chlorine & Other Disinfectants

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    Excerpts

    PART 10
    NAUTI-CAL STREAMS: Sex & pornography
    By the numbers
    Texting/Computer Lingo Cheat Sheet
    Sadly, now commonplace: Sexting
    Impact on body Image and relationships

    Interlude: Get a Cyber Swimming Buddy

    PART 11
    BEACH CYBER-SAND KICKERS: Cyber-Bullying & Cyber-Stalking
    Another potential negative aspect of connectivity
    Are you stalking me?
    Don’t fall asleep on the job – maintain awareness!
    Do you know a Cyber Bully?
    The child who changed
    It’s a new day entirely
    Stop! Read the signs
    Confronting Cyber Bullying
    STOP SPYING ON ME MOM/DAD!!!! 
    Get a Cyber Swim Buddy

    Interlude: Swimming Aids

  • star fish

    Excerpts

    Part 12
    SWIM SMART: Healthy relationships between humans & technology
    Tips and tools for self-reflection
    Basic limit setting guide
    A self-contract
    Family contracting
    Setting virtual boundaries
    Using cyber connections for getting physically healthy (sub section, not own section)
    Take the Purge! Unsubscribe! (Sub section, not own section)
    The Dynamic Balance

    Interlude: Out to Sea

    Part 13
    LIFEGUARDING: External help The ramifications of behavioural problems Involving family and/or significant others Professional help
    EPILOGUE: Back to shore
    RESOURCE LINKS
    ABOUT THE AUTHOR
    THANK YOU FOR READING!

  • star fish

    Excerpts

    From part 2

    • Gadgets, games and consoles galore: have rules for their use before they make it through the door!
    • A game where you can kill women and steal cars for a prize may not be a good choice for your family to promote peaceful lives.
    • If you are secretly buying a game for yourself instead of your kids, best to fess up and examine yourself with open lids!
    • Time to be in bed before Santa arrives -those who set no limits to get to bed will find out how quickly routine activities don’t survive.
    • Besides content and time, do not forget access - having online connections without boundaries can lead to misuse!
    • Can your children really afford the monthly fees -or are you about to enter an on-going trap, which you'll have to appease?
    • Can you really afford the things you are buying - overspending can be as problematic as gaming - so no lying (to yourself).
    • When buying a gizmo for you or your child - get what is needed and not the bells and whistles wild! Some of those features you may regret - as the access to addictive elements can pose a threat.
    • Monitor and know your son and daughter's online habits - including their use of smart phones, laptops, and the ever-growing number of tablets!
    • Take techno breaks for a day or three and see what happens with your family!
  • star fish

    Excerpts

    “Santa’s Cyber Health List” Check It Twice to Avoid Being Naughty and Perhaps Be Nice:

    Now, this list may seem amusing to you, but some of you reading it are more than likely nodding your head in agreement, recalling such behaviours or actions on your own part or the part of your kids. We've all seen it, and we've all been around it. While the list is tongue-in-cheek, it contains some very valuable advice when it comes to living in the reality of our 21st century environment….”

  • star fish

    Excerpts

    From part 2

    “Santa’s Cyber Health List” Check It Twice to Avoid Being Naughty and Perhaps Be Nice:

    “…I often watch what happens around the holiday season when parents are out shopping for their kids. Times have changed, and the games and toys kids want today are a far cry from what many of us grew up with. Some just want to get their parents’ iTunes™ password for their gift!

    I've come up with a list that I'd like to share with you. It's called:

  • REVIEWS

    “One mustn't criticize other people on grounds where he can't stand perpendicular himself.”
    - Mark Twain

     
  • REVIEWS

    As the book has just launched, keep tuned. You likely will find commentary at the sites where the book is being distributed.

     
  • CONNECT

    Where to join in on the discussion on the issues

     
  • CONNECT

    In support of the book, there are a few pages to help create discussion and supply supplementary resources over time.

    • The Swimming in Cyber FacebookTM Page is a public site to post various interesting news and developments on cyber impacts on the human condition.
    • The Swimming in Cyber LinkedInTM Page is for those who wish to discuss how to implement healthy cyber guidelines in their work environments – professional discussion group
    • The Author’s GoodreadsTM Page – here various blog posts may appear based on the feedback and requests from the readers.
    • TwitterTM – Although you can follow the author, it likely is better to post on the hashtag #swimmingincyber where a twitter feed discussion can form.

    As other social media and resources develop, their links will be posted on this and supporting websites. e.g. Youtube videos etc.

  • Sharing is caring

    If you find the Swimming with Cyber material helpful, please consider sharing it with family, friends and co-workers. Hopefully they can also discover and make use of the knowledge, skills and techniques for developing a healthy life balance between the virtual and physical worlds.