“Going out without my wig” and creating Natural Day

Natural Day with Sanah Jivani

Find out all about #NaturalDay and mark your calendars to join this challenge! Continue reading


How much of my personal information is public?

How much of my personal information is public?

Have you ever asked yourself that question?

As we mentioned in our previous post, October is Cyber Security Awareness month, and it’s a good moment to reflect on how your data online can be bait for others to take it and use it.

Just to make you more conscious of how things work on the internet, here’s Maaike’s list of strategies to protect your personal information.

Your future employer might not hire you

Cyber security is one of the things I’m focusing on in my study, and we came to the conclusion in one of the lectures that the real issue here is the lack of awareness of how much of your information is actually out there for the world to see.

how much of your personal information is out there for people to see?And it’s not just about cyber crime. What if it’s time for you to look for a job, and your employers or recruiters do a search on Google, and find pictures of you drunk, for example?

What would their impression of you be? It’s a fact that recruiters do online background checks of job applicants (it’s becoming more and more popular), including checkups on social media, whether you like it or not.

Your social media pages can say a lot about you. They have all sorts of cues

  • self generated: everything you yourself post on there
  • generated by others: pictures you’re tagged in, posts other people post on your Facebook wall, etc.
  • system generated cues: the amount of Facebook friends you have, how many followers on Twitter.

You may believe it or not, but all of these cues tell people something about your personality. This is called the Brunswikian Lens Model. People make judgments about you with the blink of an eye just by looking at your social media accounts.

Scared yet? I know, we also came to the conclusion that some people aren’t even bothered by these kind of stories. But if you are, here are some additional tips:

Tips for protecting your personal information

  • A Google search about you

If you have Google Chrome, open a private new window (shortcut on a Windows computer keyboard is ctrl+shift+N, Mac is Shift+N), and start searching for your name on a search engine. Mozilla Firefox also has this option.

The reason for you to work in a private browser is that in normal browsing mode, your search results will be tailored for you based on your previous actions online (the not-so-yummy cookies, remember?)

  • No Facebook on Google, please

Click for BIGGER version

Did you know that Facebook has a setting that allows your account to stay hidden in search engines? Go right now to your privacy settings, and look for the option. Here’s a screenshot of where you can find the option to disable the search engines to link to your timeline.

  • Buh-bye tweets

There are several tools available to mass delete your tweets on Twitter. Examples are tweetdelete.com and tweetdeleter.com. Some of these should even allow you to automatically delete tweets after a certain time.

  • Instagram is all about you

You can set your Instagram account on private and only people who you allow to follow you, can see your pictures.

  • Additional info to stay safe

There is a very interesting website called Kim Komando that has lots of very useful information about cyber security. You should definitely check it out, and educate yourself about this matter.

be careful with what you post online. it can  influence your future

Special thanks to Maaike for the information for this post, and to Marlene, a victim of cyber crime, who provided us with the Kom Komando Show website.

Cyber Security Awareness Month – Take care of your info

cyber security awareness october

Cyber-bullying and cyber-crime is a real issue for anyone of any age. Bullying, stalking, scams and crimes all take place in our virtual world every single day.

Personal security is compromised when our information is made overly public…

Just think about that.

If you are on social media, there are vast amounts of people you do not actually know following your posts –if your location settings are on, for instance, those people can just show up on your doorstep. Personal safety and security aside, do you really want a random Twitter follower showing up at your house unannounced? I’d personally be creeped out.

We wanted to do this post to let you guys know that there are ways to discourage any type of creepy behaviours. Social media makes it just as easy as it is difficult to keep your personal information private.

Turn off all your devices

location-services-privacy-settingsOk, I’m kidding. But I wanted to start off there. Unless you have a business you are trying to promote and that is what you are posting about, be sure that your location services are turned OFF. If you’re posting a photo of yourself, your family, your kids, you don’t really want a stranger on the internet to know exactly where you live.

  • Take some minutes of your time to check the settings on your phone to know if this service is on or off.
  • If you use social media quite frequently, you should also check the options they offer in terms of location. You might not know that they are on by default.
  • Foursquare can be a lot of fun for lots of people, but you have a risk of being followed or stalked by the wrong people.

OMG Facebook

Facebook and its ever-changing, often elusive privacy settings. Use them. Educate yourself on them. I find Facebook is where people share very personal details about their lives. Did you know that the top of every single post you do on facebook tells you exactly who can see it?

cyber-security-awareness-facebook-privacy-settingsIf there is a globe at the top of your post, anyone who finds your profile can look at that post. For instance, cover photos can never be private –they are always available to everyone- so ensure that you aren’t posting any pictures as your cover photo that you don’t want the world to have access to.

Remember, any photo that can be seen can be saved. Profile photos seem to automatically set to the globe now when you add a new one, so make sure you change that, unless you want the world to see your selfies ;)

The last thing I want to remind everyone about Facebook is that you only have control over who sees your posts on your page. If you are posting on a friend’s page or a business page, your privacy becomes subject to their privacy settings.

If you are trying not to be found online for whatever reason, this is something to keep in mind. Also, even if you have your privacy settings so others cannot see photos tagged of you, all someone has to do is go on your friend’s page to see them –so make sure you let your friends in on your desire about your pics.

Twitter. Instagram. Tumblr. Snapchat. Etc… just remember that if it is out there, it can be accessed by people you might not want to see it. Remember when you post a photo with your location settings on, the location is embedded in the data of the photo. And it doesn’t take a pro-hacker to get that information.

There are lots of steps you can take to keep yourself safe online. We want to encourage everyone to take them.

If you’re concerned that you’re not understanding your privacy settings well, let us know. Myself at Ugly Ducklings Inc and Dana at Bullies Keep Out are kind of privacy pros… so if you want us to take a poke around your Facebook and let you know where you might be compromising your privacy, shoot us an e-mail, or leave a comment, and we will let you know.

If you want us to tell you how easy it is to find you on social media, we can do that too. If you’re being hacked or bothered on social media, Dana is an excellent source for you. So don’t hesitate to reach us. We will do everything we can to help!

– Erin

30 days of hope project

JUNE is HERE! That means that #30DaysOfHope begins now!

Ugly Ducklings, we know that through this community we have helped, support and encourage lots of people, and both our lives as well as theirs have been touched by the positivity and the advice that we post here.

Two of our dear friends from when we got this movement going, Zachery, and Amy  -who are part of the Once Upon a Fan website- came to us to get this thing going. What better way to bring each other up than with #30DaysOfHope? 

So come! Don’t miss this for the world! Remember to follow us on Twitter, @UDucklingsInc, as well as @TheZachVan, and @Amylia403

30 Days of Hope

T-shirt giveaway contest

Ugly Ducklings,

Thank you so much to every single one of you. We’ve reached 1000 followers on twitter this week and, as promised, we’re having a rockin’ giveaway to honour all of you!

We’re giving away one of our new t-shirts (ordered to your specifications)! For a chance to win, you just need to follow a few simple steps. Check out this photo for instructions!

To double your chances of winning, you may participate on twitter and facebook!

– To retweet, click here!

– To visit our Facebook page, click here!

All entries must be in by NOON EST on Sunday February 9th, 2014. Thanks in advance to all those who “like”, “share” and participate!

swan out

It’s simple to spread the word, very simple

donate a click and spread the word
Click! Click! We do it all the time. Have you even stopped for a second to consider how many clicks we do per day? Crazy, right?

What if one of those clicks you do with your mouse can make a huge difference?

Have you ever paused for a moment and consider that?

Because today you have the chance to do it.

Ever since this movement started we decided to commit ourselves to a very worthy organization called NORMAL in Schools (now Mental Fitness Inc.). And we want to support them as much as we can. After our humble fundraise of $600 to their organization, and the immense support we got from so many of you, we now want to urge you to help us with… yes, that’s right, with a CLICK.

That’s it, you say? well…

Skype with Kristen Bell, Private casting sessions, Tickets and a Backstage Tour of Conan. Yes! they’re all part of the Fall Auction.

just a click can make magic happenWe understand that they might be too expensive for you. But what about a Click?…that’s free, and it can be magical!

It’s as simple as that. A retweet, a post on  your Facebook, a photo on Pinterest!

Take this photo to any of the social networks you use and paste it with the Fall Auction link!

Or better yet: “Mental Fitness Inc.’s awesome Fall auction. Help us share with #YourMagicTouch http://twitpic.com/dh9enl | http://goo.gl/mxou7b”

Love and thanks!

– Marie,

The Tail Shaker.
The Ugly Ducklings Inc's swan

A message from Mariah…


This past week has been the worst week in my short 20 years of life.

For those of you who don’t know, on Thursday July 18th I lost my Nana to cancer.  It was the worst day of my life.  Upon hearing that she had passed, my heart sank. I felt as though part of it had been ripped out, and that my world was coming to an end.  I dreaded having to go to her funeral because it meant having to say goodbye.

On the morning of the funeral I sent out a message on Facebook and Twitter, asking for thoughts and prayers to help me get through it.  I entered the funeral home and took my seat.  I listened as the pastor talked about my Nana, and although he said a lot of encouraging and wonderful things about her, he would never know her like I did.  We headed to the cemetery to finish the service and to say our final goodbyes.  I watched as they lowered her casket into the ground and my heart sank even more.  Our last event of the day was a dinner at our church, and even though I was surrounded by family I still felt alone.

When I finally made it home I went into my room and turned on my computer. I opened up my email and saw an Ecard that some of the Ugly Ducklings had sent me.  I began to cry at reading their beautiful messages, and felt like all of my problems had disappeared.  It was in that moment I realized although I lost someone, I also gained something as well, and that is a family.  The Ugly Ducklings are my family and they have been by my side through this entire ordeal. They have offered more comfort than some of my own family and have even put a smile back on my face.

My advice to those who are going through a tough time in life is that the Ugly Ducklings will help you through it.  They are the most wonderful and caring people I have ever met, and cannot believe what they have created based off a tweet that Jennifer Morrison made. Every day I look forward to seeing what new things they are coming up with and I am proud to be a part of this life changing movement. They have helped realized that I am more than a duckling; I am a beautiful Swan, and no matter what life throws at me I will always have a family and will never be alone.  I am home.

*Mariah has recently joined the leadership of Ugly Ducklings Inc as the resource assistant. If you’d like to leave her a message of support, please do so by commenting on this post.