Just has to be done


Wenqian Xu
System Administrator of Cybersmarties Ltd.

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.” – Bil Keane

Many people are always worried about something. For instance, in the morning people are worried about the heavy traffic which might cause them to be late for work; During work, people are worried about other people’s opinions and trying to guess what is on someone’s mind; After work, people are worried about choosing dinner. Even before sleep, people are still worried about sleeping in the next morning which will make them late for work etc. Such a life is like a “perfect” circle, if you get lost in it, it’s very hard to shake off.

“Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.” – Swedish Proverb

I myself had such an experience just in this month. At the beginning of June, I finally finished all my essential 12 lessons to obtain a full Irish driving license. It took quite a long time, almost every weekend. Although I hold a driving license in my home country of China, I needed to get used to driving on the left because I am used to driving on the right. For one hour each week, I tried to remember all the rules of the road (like how to enter a roundabout properly etc.). So, the only thing on my mind was to pass the driving test as soon as possible just in case I forget the skills and knowledge which I learnt from my driving instructor. Upon completion of my lessons I applied to sit my full driving test. However, after two weeks I heard nothing, no emails, no calls, nothing. So here was where the worrying started. At that time, I was starting to make lots of “strange” assumptions – Is something wrong with my application? Did I choose a wrong available date for the test? etc. After work, the first thing I did when I got back home was to check the RSA website, log in to my account and check my application status. To be honest, just looking back at it now, it reminds me of a quote from Leo Buscaglia –

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”

So, what made me finally stop worrying was a talk with my boss – Diarmuid Hudner. Actually just one sentence which he usually says, simple but powerful –

“Just has to be done.”

Taking the above as an example, just thinking about passing the driving test is a thing which “just has to be done.” If something is wrong with my application, the driving test centre will eventually notify me to correct it. If I choose the wrong available date for a test, at least there are some days I can choose which would be suitable. According to the rules, when I get the test date, I still have 2 opportunities to reschedule for free. I also ask myself, is there anything I can do that I haven’t done? The answer is no. So, the only thing left is patience and leave it be.

This methodology also works in relation to everyday worries as discussed in my first paragraph. “Starting work on time” is a thing which just has to be done. Why not get up earlier or prepare everything the night before in order to save time in the morning? Furthermore, lots of research reveals that trying to read someone’s mind usually doesn’t work too well at all. So, why not communicate and ask what you want to ask? You might say it won’t be so easy in real life which I totally understand and agree with. But… at least it’s one way which can help us stop worrying and stay positive, isn’t it? And it works for me.

So, no more worries, things just have to be done. If something happens, find a solution to solve it. That’s it. Simple but powerful.

In the end, as a technical guy, it’s my first time to write something about psychology and methodology. Hope you like it and hope it helps you too. Thank you very much.

Why Education should Flourish

Patricia MaMcnamara_Facebook

Dr. Patricia Mannix McNamara
Senior Lecturer, Education Dept. University of Limerick

I can be changed by what happens to me but I refuse be reduced by it.
-Maya Anglou

Mostly we think we are mentally healthy because we do not experience mental illness. We are inclined to think that absence of mental illness means mental health by default. This way of thinking has its roots in the medical model, which has dominated our understanding of health, but this is really problematic because the absence of mental illness does not presuppose good mental health. We assume that we are experiencing physical and mental health and well being if we do not evidence symptoms of illness. How do we know? If we assume that mental health is the absence of psychological illness or distress then if we are meeting daily challenges isn’t that enough? Actually, the important measures are simpler:

· Do I experience moments of happiness daily?
· Do I feel joy?
· Do I love?
· Do I laugh often (really laugh)?
· Do I feel free to say what I really think and to act feely upon it?
· Do I have goals in life? Am I capable of meeting them?

We often confuse existence with mental health but absence of mental illness is not synonymous with mental health or wellbeing. Languishing is not enough. Passive definitions of mental health (absence of illness) do significant disservice to health gain. Some people like Corey Keyes and Maureen Gaffney argue that flourishing is what we should strive for. Flourishing they see as active living and reaching the most optimal level of human functioning. A flourishing person’s life is filled with happiness, goodness, creativity, growth, and resilience. Sound good?

The reason why this is so important is that as adults if we settle for existence rather than flourishing as our way of living, and if we accept existence as our standard of mental health then we teach our children that this is standard to live by.

Recently I was attending a conference about teaching and there was a young child present in the audience beside me. The speaker asked the audience a seemingly simple question: What makes a good teacher? The answers from the audience (of academics) were of course informed and included things like excellent pedagogy (teaching strategies); excellent subject knowledge and care for student learning. I turned to the child beside me knowing that they were best positioned to answer this question because they live with this every school day. So I asked him:

“What do you think? What do you think makes a good teacher?”

His reply was simple, only three words and quite profound:

“A happy one.”

It does not get any clearer than that!

A happy teacher is more than likely a flourishing one, whose professional life is fulfilling and who communicates mental health in their very being. This challenges us to ask are we happy? Do we experience moments of happiness daily? Do we communicate mental health in our very being?

Why settle for existing…isn’t flourishing worth striving for?

Going forward with Real Confidence


Brendan Woodage
Operations at CyberSmarties

“You are not what you eat, you are not what you wear, you are not what you do. You are You”Im Happy Now.Com

If you feared nothing, what kind of person would you become?
If you had all the confidence in the world, what kind of person would you become?

Most people believe that confidence is the overcoming of fear. Yes, if you feared nothing you would be a more confident person, but rejecting and burying fear does not gain you confidence, it gains you momentary and circumstantial bravery. Only though acceptance of fear, can you become a more confident person. Everyone wants to be more confident in one way or another and to understand real confidence you must understand some core elements that we live by here at CyberSmarties. Elements that promote positive thinking, positive behaviour, and positive lives. Elements that we teach the students using CyberSmarties via our positive social network. Over the course of my next three blogs, I will discuss these elements that we actively promote.

Real confidence is not forced.

As much as this may seem a given, real confidence is not forced. In human interaction, conversation, and in a social setting, you can’t just pump yourself up to be confident. Confidence doesn’t work this way. For example, if you were to approach a stranger that you have never spoken to before, you like most people would bury your fear deep inside of you and instil a false sense of confidence by “pumping yourself up” to get you “confident”. But, by swallowing one’s fear, then fear subconsciously gains control of your body. There is a difference between this and acknowledging the fear for the illusion it is, accepting that and moving forward with the confidence now that there is nothing actually to fear.

Real confidence comes from instilling a calm within. Having a calm within is actually a frame of mind which grows from knowing that you are perfect the way you are. At the same time it acknowledges that you have weaknesses, which need to be worked on and overcome rather than being a slave to them. It allows you to own your own emotions and have as much control as possible when entering a new interaction. It also gives you the ability to read and feel another person’s emotions when conversing, as well as the ability to connect with the other person on a deeper, subconscious level. This not only gives you more real confidence with every social interaction with people, but it gives other people more confidence in you, your character, and your abilities.

FEAR – False Evidence Appearing Real


Diarmuid Hudner
CEO of Cybersmarties Ltd.

Recently I saw the above acronym for the word “Fear”. I thought it was very apt and how unfortunately most people experience fear without seeing it for what it is. Like power which I wrote about recently, Fear is also an illusion. Everyone experiences fear at some stage of their lives and the majority of us live with some form of it on a daily basis. Fear comes in many guises; fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of success, physical fear and social fear like a fear of public speaking or how we look. Fears do appear very real to us no matter how much of an illusion they are and they can be crippling, suffocating and draining. So what causes these fears and how are they overcome? The one common denominator between them is that something can be done to overcome them. All of us have negative behavioural habits based in fear. They govern the extent to which we live a fulfilling life or reach our full potential.

Negative Behavioural Habits are routines we have picked up over time, normally linked to something that has occurred in our lives, like we spoke in public once and everyone laughed. Others are those which are pre-conditioned from our upbringing. If our parents were very cautious, risk adverse people then it is likely that we would be too as we associate any type of risk with danger. Negative habits we have learned, however difficult can be broken. Positive behavioural triggers can be implemented to cause a reflex positive response instead of a negative one. It takes work and effort but the reward is greater than to live in fear.

Confidence and self-belief in my opinion is at the root of most of these fears and it begins when we were children. We learn a lot in school, the politics of friendship, the travesty of love scorned; school can be tough. How much different do you think your life would be today if your confidence had been boosted every day? Do you think you would have made different decisions in your life, better decisions? I believe I would certainly have made different life choices if I had been a more confident child. I would not have procrastinated and let opportunities slip away, would have attempted new things more often because I would not have been afraid of rejection or failure. Luckily I was later in a position which taught me how to change these negative habits into positive ones where fear no longer was in the driving seat but it took time and effort.

I think there is an onus on parents to ensure their children are as confident and self-reliant as they can possibly be. I think that is one of the gifts a parent can pass on to their children, not their own insecurities but rather to ensure their children have very few of them. Parents can’t rely on teachers to do this, it’s time we took ownership of that. At Cybersmarties we look after their online confidence, that’s all we do; protect them, keep them safe, fill them with confidence and teach them positive behavioural habits. We’re in this together.

It is in the small details that Cyber-bullying can be prevented


Wenqian Xu
System Administrator of Cybersmarties Ltd.

Details Determine Success or Failure.

Bullying exists everywhere, not only in school but also in daily life. However, with the high rapid development of the internet and social networks, cyber-bullying is becoming more and more prevalent and one of the most emergent social issues of our time. Because of the rapid speed and low age membership of social networks, it seems like anyone can say what they wish, whenever they wish and without consequences. However, this also means because of its global context, that if cyber-bullying occurs, the results can be far worse than bullying in real life. Cyberbullying is a behavioural problem as CEO of Cybersmarties Ltd, Diarmuid Hudner has said, behaviour is always the root cause of anti-social cyber behaviour.

In itself, there is nothing wrong with social networks; kids just don’t know how to use them properly. Based on this idea, we took a positive approach and developed the first educational social network for primary school kids to deal with cyber-bullying. In Cybersmarties, children can learn how to use social networks responsibly on a network that is built just for them. As I wrote in previous articles, Cybersmarties has several outstanding features in our system to help kids to avoid cyber-bullying and change their behaviour, including a Smart Content Filter System, Emotional based Reporting System, Reward System and Fully Monitored System etc. Additionally, there are also several particular details which the Cybersmarties Team has already developed or is attempting to develop specifically for kids, not only in the system, but also in other areas.

Detail 1: Constantly Weekly Blog to raise awareness of dealing with Cyberbullying

The Cybersmarties Team is a young team, but we do care very much about kids and their welfare. So, if you subscribe to our blog site, “Like” our Facebook page or follow Cybersmarties Twitter, each week one of the Cybersmarties Team writes an article to talk about how to deal with cyber-bullying from different angles and share our thoughts about topics in general which affect society. This is for you to get to know us, the people behind the machines, what motivates and saddens us, who we are as individuals, ordinary people from different cultures and backgrounds but who are united in attempting to shape our society for the better. We also have a very strong consultant team to guide us – Dr. Patricia Mannix McNamara, Senior Lecturer, Education Dept, University of Limerick; Pat Courtney, Director of Anti-Bullying Services and John Wills, Education/training Development Consultant. As the former National Anti-Bullying Coordinator of the SPHE Support Service (2009-2014), Pat Courtney has written an Educators Guidebook and Student Workbook for schools, which is based on the Cybersmarties site, integrating it with the SPHE Curriculum. Teachers can follow the curriculum using this guidebook, to educate their students how to deal with cyber-bullying and how to be safe on the Internet. The feedback has been fantastic from both teachers and students and has motivated us to continue improving and expanding.

Detail 2: Symbols and images support for special needs school

In addition to mainstream schools, Cybersmarties also provides a system for Special Needs Schools. We have a separate system called – “Super Cybersmarties” which is designed specifically for special needs schools. During the free trial period, we received lots of positive feedback and many good suggestions. We are there to help so we constantly encourage users to help us improve our site. We also respond very quickly to these good suggestions. For instance, we got a suggestion from a teacher of a special needs school in the Dublin area, who suggested to us that some of her students were finding it hard to recognize the words in the Sports, Music and other cool stuff sections. For these students, they were finding it difficult to read because they are more visually orientated. This would never have occurred to us because we are not teachers; we are social network creators and behavioural analysts. Our team received this suggestion on Friday afternoon, 15th April 2016. Because our team really wanted to help these special students and totally understood their frustrated feelings of not being able to make new friends, through hard work over the weekend, on Monday, 18th April 2016, we added a new function to include symbols and images support specifically for these kids in only 2 days, like below in Screenshot 1, which completely resolved the problem and also aided students in word association.

Image Support

Screenshot 1. Symbol and Image Support Function

Detail 3: Description Videos of Cybersmarties

Because Cybersmarties is a locked-down system, without named accounts, nobody can access our system. We have a zero-tolerance policy on this, always choosing safety over popularity. All children are authenticated through their schools. On one hand, it is the first predator-free network which protects kids. However on the other hand, it is very difficult for us to show our site to visitors. So, our team also made several descriptive videos of both inside and outside the site with different parts of our system for visitors to view. All videos can be found in Cybersmarties Home Page – http://www.cybersmarties.com, like below in Screenshot 2. During this summer, we will continue to produce a series of descriptive videos to teach children how to use Cybersmarties, how to use Cybersmarties to educate positive behaviour, how to set up their own online profile properly and how to communicate with friends more responsibly etc.

Loading Page Videos

Screenshot 2. Videos in Cybersmarties Home Page

Detail 4: Individual School Forum

In Cybersmarties, all students and teachers belong to their own School Groups. We also provide a fully individual school forum for each school. In the school forum, teachers can create new topics to send messages to their class for multiple purposes. For instance, if a teacher wants to remind their students about a sports event or practise for their First Holy Communion, they can simply create a new topic and type in locations, time, notes and other information. Then, all their students will receive notifications like below in Screenshot 3.

School Forum

Screenshot 3. School Forum and Notification

Due to limited time, in this article, I can only introduce these four particular details of Cybersmarties to deal with Cyberbullying and how to provide better services for teachers, students and schools. There are much more details in Cybersmarties waiting for you to discover and personally I guarantee that we will keep creating and improving our services all the time. Hope you like this blog and see you next time.