With school shootings, cyber bullying and teen suicide on the rise around our country, our youth need help. 

The “do unto others” foundation of former generations seems to be lacking in today’s youth who have no focus on core ethical values. 

Children should be learning these skills sets in school, but often times they are not.  With many schools limiting character building classes and activities due to academic pressure paired with more working  parents, who is responsible for these teachings?

Children spend more time at school and extracurricular activities than ever before.  The lack of  instruction is now becoming more apparent with schools coming under heavy scrutiny concerning the well-being and education of our children.  

“In the long run, I’m not sure that it matters if a student learns algebra, but I know that it matters if a student learns right from wrong,” says George Booz, former principal at South Carroll High School in Sykesville, Maryland, a school nationally recognized for its character education program.

“I know that it matters if a person learns that in this world we have to help each other. I don’t see how we get around that.”

Character Education is a process of teaching children the importance of core ethical values, such as tolerance, respect and compassion. 

Character Education has been shown to provide a 23% increase in social and emotional skills, an 11% improvement on achievement test scores, a 9% reduction in problem behaviors and a 52% increase in graduation rate. 

Effective programs engage children in hands-on activities where good character is emphasized throughout the school environment as well as through the curriculum. 

While studies show 93% of teachers support Character Education in schools, these teachings are most effective when they start in our homes.

Whether you are a parent, educator, friend or family member, each and every one of us who comes in contact with a child plays an important role in their development. 

It’s time to stop asking who is responsible. We are all responsible for helping to guide today’s children into compassionate, kind and confident young adults of tomorrow.

With time ticking and the need growing, The American School of Protocol® has created a new 1-Day Training Conference, Cultivating Character™ to help combat this crisis.

A Pre-K through High School series, Cultivating Character™ provides excellent benefits to anyone working closely with children.  Participants in Cultivating Character™ will receive the education and materials needed to become an influential instructor. 

For more information on Cultivating Character™ and how you can help click here

We have a huge problem on our hands.  Gun violence, mass murders, opioid crisis, and bullying.  America’s youth are in the front row of this chilling production.  

On February 14th Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida had one of the world’s deadliest school massacres. The students who survived have since decided to take their pain and transform it into something useful that may actually bring about change.

Lorenzo Prado, a Parkland High school shooting survivor said, "To let these victims' lives be taken without any change in return is an act of treason to our great country. What we must do now is enact change because that is what we do to things that fail: We change them."

Even after one and a half months since the shooting, the students continue to stay strong in their protest and demand for change.

Peggy Newfield, President of The American School of Protocol in Atlanta, Georgia believes, “We need to focus on our children and the messages we are sending them.”

Newfield applauds the student’s organization and focus. “With all the skepticism thrown towards the youth and their protesting, many adults have lost sight that youth issues are community issues and community issues are our issues” asserts Newfield.  

Newfield is a strong promoter of empowering America’s youth. She has taught etiquette to over 10,000 students in the Atlanta area.

“Our youth are crying out for answers and begging for a new message. Our children are taking a stand and we need to be supportive” said one of the parent supporters at the March of Our Lives in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, March 24. 

On Sunday, the Pope spoke up and gave a poignant message to those who want to bring about change. “It is up to you not to keep quiet, even if others keep quiet.”

Stronger gun laws, mental health, school laws, bullying, anger management - - - the list goes on of where changes need to be made. Our children need a new message. 

A message of kindness, compassion, safety, and hope for the future.

22A common understanding of etiquette has been drastically morphed over the years.  Today's younger generation is characterized by rudeness, compared to traditional standards of etiquette. Are children substituting personal interactions for screen time?

A recent article from the New York Times claims that Screen Addiction Is Taking a Toll on Children.  We know that technology is a poor substitute for personal interaction and we are only just beginning to see the effects this has on our youth.  Many people believe that technology plays a central role in the decline of good manners and the media agrees.

The integration of technology and social media into nearly each and every act of interpersonal communication, particularly among young people, is changing the common understanding of what is considerate behavior and what is inappropriate.

In a 2013 policy statement on "Children, Adolescents, and the Media," the American Academy of Pediatrics cited these shocking statistics from a Kaiser Family Foundation study in 2010: "The Average 8-to 10-year-old spends nearly 8 hours a day with a variety of media, and older children and teenagers spend more than 11 hours per day."

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The less face-time our youth have with others, the less accountable they are for their behavior.  If someone is rude or inappropriate online, they may never have to answer for their behavior in-person.

It is difficult to understand the virtual implications of inconsiderate treatment.  With this new wave of children using electronics for their education, communication and as an extracurricular activity, we have to ask ourselves, what will the repercussions be later?

33Multitasking using electronics is helping our children,  but at the same time they are losing sight of what is most important; human interaction. A study published in Computers in Human Behavior found that sixth graders who went to an outdoor camp and gave up smartphones, iPads, and television cold turkey for just five days were substantially better at reading human emotions than sixth graders from the same school who did not go to the camp and gave up the digital devices.

The more time children spend glued to the screen, the harder it becomes for them to relate and connect emotionally with others.  We need to teach children and adults that face to face interactions are just as important as virtual ones, before it is too late.

Mobile communications and social media have re-shaped the understanding and awareness of etiquette both virtually and in-person. We are going to44 have to find ways to connect with our youth and bring them out of the electronic world they are living in. During our 5-day Training, our Certified Etiquette teachers are gaining the knowledge and  tools to connect with this generation.

As ASP moves forward, our main goal is to spread awareness and create a kinder environment for all.  We will continue developing products that connect with our children and provide them with skill sets that allow them to succeed, build strong character and morals. In time, we will know the real implications that excessive screen time is having on our youth. For now we must push to instill manners, respect and kindness. Electronics will never be able to teach personal communication.