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Prevent Bullies Before They Become Prisoners – 60% of Bullies Have 1 Conviction by Age 24

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A ten-year-old boy is told repeatedly that he is a “weakling” and a “girly man,” yelled at and teased in a tone of voice tinged with disgust and disdain. Is this bullying? What if it leads to a fist fight? How do you know when someone crosses the line between cruel teasing and bullying? Does emotional bullying have any “real” physical consequences? And perhaps, most importantly, if you are dealing with a true bully, what do you do about it? Let’s start by figuring out what bullying is and then move on to what the consequences are and the best ways to deal with it.

Bullying Defined

Bullying takes place when a one or more kids repeatedly harass, intimidate, hit, or ignore another youngster who is physically weaker, smaller or has a lower social status. Realize that adults can also engage in bullying, particularly what I call emotional bullying. However, today we’ll focus on young people.

Note that a single fistfight between two kids of similar size and social power is not bullying; neither is the occasional teasing.

Physical bullying is seen in both boys and girls, but it is more common among boys. Girls typically use emotional bullying more so than boys. Bullying can take a number of forms.

o Bullying can be physical (hitting, shoving, or taking money or belongings) or emotional (Causing fear by threats, insults and/or exclusion from conversations or activities).

o Boys tend to use physical intimidation (hitting or threatening to hit) as well as insults, and they often act one-on-one. Girls are more likely to bully in groups by using the silent treatment towards another girl or gossiping about her.

o Kids are often bullied through putdowns about their appearance, such as being teased about being different than other children or for the way they talk, dress, their size, their appearance and so on. Making fun of children’s religion or race occurs far less frequently. 1

Bullying begins in elementary school and is most common in middle school; it fades but not completely in high school. It usually occurs in school areas that are not well supervised by teachers or other adults, such as on playgrounds, lunch rooms, and bathrooms. Much of it takes place after school at a location known to students and unsupervised by adults. When I was in middle school, there was a Christmas tree farm where all fights took place. When I was a psych at a middle school, there was a dry creek bed nearby where fights took place. There is always a certain spot that is well known to the students where altercations occur. One way to prevent bullying is to be aware of this spot and police it regularly after school. And realize that the spot will move as soon as the adults become aware of it.

Bullying is aggressive behavior that is intended to cause harm or distress, occurs repeatedly over time, and occurs in a relationship in which there is an imbalance of power or strength. Bullying can take many forms, including physical violence, teasing and name-calling, intimidation, and social exclusion. It can be related to hostile acts perpetrated against racial and ethnic minorities, gay, lesbian, and bi-sexual youth, and persons with disabilities.

Ninety percent of 4th through 8th graders report being victims of some form of bullying at some time in their past. Boys are typically more physically aggressive (physical bullying), whereas girls rely more on social exclusion, teasing, and cliques (verbal or emotional bullying). Bullying can also take the form of cyber communication, e.g., via email (cyber bullying). It is estimated that one in four boys who bully will have a criminal record by age 30.

Who are the bullies?

Children who regularly bully their peers tend to be impulsive, easily frustrated, dominant in personality, have difficulty conforming to rules, view violence positively and are more likely to have friends who are also bullies. Boys who bully are usually physically stronger than their peers.

Moreover, several risk factors have been associated with bullying, including individual, family, peer, school, and community factors. With respect to family factors, children are more likely to bully if there is a lack of warmth and parent involvement, lack of parental supervision, and harsh corporal discipline. Some research suggests a link between bullying behavior and child maltreatment. Also, schools that lack adequate adult supervision tend to have more instances of bullying.

Psychological research has debunked several myths associated with bullying, including one that states bullies are usually the most unpopular students in school. A 2000 study by psychologist Philip Rodkin, PhD, and colleagues involving fourth-through-sixth-grade boys found that highly aggressive boys may be among the most popular and socially connected children in elementary classrooms, as viewed by their fellow students and even their teachers. Another myth is that the tough and aggressive bullies are basically anxious and insecure individuals who use bullying as a means of compensating for poor self-esteem. Using a number of different methods including projective tests and stress hormones, Olweus concludes that there is no support for such a view. Most bullies had average or better than average self-esteem.

Who is being bullied?

Children who are bullied are often cautious, sensitive, insecure, socially isolated, and have difficulty asserting themselves among their peers. Boys who are bullied tend to be physically weaker than their peers. Children who have been victims of child abuse (neglect, physical, or sexual abuse) or who have disabilities are also more likely to be bullied by their peers.

How common is bullying?

In 2002, it was reported that 17 percent of students reported having been bullied “sometimes” or more frequently during the school term. About 19 percent reported bullying others “sometimes” or more often. And six percent reported both bullying and having been bullied. However, in a 2003 study from UCLA, it was reported that almost 50% of sixth graders in two Los Angeles-area public schools report being bullied by classmates during a five-day period.

New research from the Secret Service and the U.S. Department of Education on 37 school shootings, including Columbine, found that almost three-quarters of student shooters felt bullied, threatened, attacked or injured by others. In fact, several shooters reported experiencing long-term and severe bullying and harassment from their peers.

What’s more, roughly 45% of teachers report having bullied a student in their past. This comes from a 2006 study which defined bullying “using power to punish, manipulate, or disparage a student beyond what would be a reasonable disciplinary procedure.”

The effects of bullying

Bullying exerts long-term and short-term psychological effects on both bullies and their victims. Bullying behavior has been linked to other forms of antisocial behavior, such as vandalism, shoplifting, skipping and dropping out of school, fighting, and the use of drugs and alcohol.

Victims of bullying experience loneliness and often suffer humiliation, insecurity, loss of self-esteem, and thoughts of suicide. Furthermore, bullying can interfere with a student’s engagement and learning in school. The impact of frequent bullying often accompanies these victims into adulthood. A study done in 2003 found that emotional bullying such as repeated name-calling has as much of a damaging impact on well-being as being beat up. Dr. Stephen Joseph, from the University of Warwick, states, “Bullying and particularly name calling can be degrading for adolescents. Posttraumatic stress is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a frightening event or ordeal in which physical harm occurred or was threatened, and research clearly suggests that it can be caused by bullying. It is important that peer victimization is taken seriously as symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety and depression are common amongst victims and have a negative impact on psychological health.”

As with smoking and drinking, youthful bullying can have serious long-term effects. Norwegian psychologist Dan Olweus, PhD, for example, reported in “Bullying at School: What We Know and What We Can Do” (Blackwell, 1993) that 60 percent of boys who bully had at least one conviction by age 24, and 40 percent had three or more convictions.

Other studies found that about 20 percent of American middle school children say they bully others sometimes. Such youngsters tend to have multiple problems: They’re more likely to fight, steal, drink, smoke, carry weapons and drop out of school than non-bullies.

That said, recent research has exploded some common myths about bullies: in particular, that they’re isolated loners with low self-esteem. In fact, many bullies are reasonably popular and tend to have “henchmen” who aid their negative behaviors.

New and innovative research

A nationally representative study of 15,686 students in grades six through 10, published last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Vol. 285, No. 16) is among the most recent to document the scope of bullying in U.S. schools. This study found that:

* Bullying occurs most frequently from sixth to eighth grade, with little variation between urban, suburban, town and rural areas.

* Males are more likely to be bullies and victims of bullying than females. Males are more likely to be physically bullied, while females are more likely to be verbally or psychologically bullied.

* Bullies and victims of bullying have difficulty adjusting to their environments, both socially and psychologically. Victims of bullying have greater difficulty making friends and are lonelier.

* Bullies are more likely to smoke and drink alcohol, and to be poorer students.

* Bully-victims–students who are both bullies and recipients of bullying–tend to experience social isolation, to do poorly in school and to engage in problem behaviors such as smoking and drinking.

In the past, bullying behavior was looked at in an either/or fashion – either you are a bully or you are a victim. However, some children report that they’re both a bully and a victim at different times.

Bully-victims experience higher levels of depression and anxiety than the bully-only group or the victim-only group. Those who fall into the bully-victim subgroup are more troubled in terms of internal problems. They carry a great deal of anger, fear and sadness within them and don’t have any tools to release it.

Studies have shown that, despite thinking they know how to identify bullies, teachers aren’t all that good at actually doing so. Administrators and teachers in schools overestimate their effectiveness in identifying and intervening in bullying situations.

This can have troubling implications. For example, to contain costs, some schools hold intervention programs in group settings. If bully-victims are in the group, they may cause problems for students who are solely victims. It’s more productive for bully-victims to be treated separately.

Mediation programs for bullies and victims are also problematic. Peer mediation may be appropriate in resolving conflict between students with equal power, but bullying is a type of victimization. Just as child abuse is a form of victimization between parties of unequal power, so too is bullying.

Solutions for bullying

Many anti-bullying programs don’t use research and are thus are likely to fail. Those that work off the myth that the root of bullying is low self-esteem may produce more confident bullies but they probably won’t have a significant effect on any bullying behavior.

What’s more, the common approach of grouping bullies together for group counseling tends to increases their bullying. You’ve just put them in a peer group of bullies who reinforce their destructive behaviors.

And conflict resolution or mediation–which assumes equal power between bullies and their victims–may retraumatize those who have been bullied. Pop treatments usually fail because they focus on only one aspect of the problem.

Bullying is a complex problem. There are multiple reasons for bullying. Successful programs take a holistic approach to preventing bullying. This means that they create new school norms for acceptable behavior, involving all facets of the school–students, parents and teachers, psychologists and more.

Global buffers to protect against bullying

Indeed, key to the success of any intervention is appropriate adult guidance and support, presenters agreed. Adults supervise their children about 40 percent less than they did 30 years ago, statistics show, and this and related phenomena have been correlated with problem behaviors. The trend, they added, occurs at a time when teens report wanting more parental attention and family time.

Research shows that parents can be effective interventionists. In a 2001 article, when parents learned to effectively communicate information on binge drinking to their pre-college teens, the young people returned from their first semester of college significantly less likely to drink than a control group.

Teaching your children emotional intelligence (EQ), or how to manage one’s emotions, results in less illicit drug use and far less physical violence. Those with lower EI had more substance abuse problems and more frequent fights.

The biggest challenge for teens is to develop the self-regulatory abilities implied by high EQ, and that adults can aid in that process. That’s why I’m always talking to you about how to identify your emotions, reminding you to breathe deeply, stressing the importance of journaling, prayer, exercise, yoga, meditation and so on. These are all ways to become more aware of your emotions, so you can in turn manage your emotions more effectively. It’s all about emotional intelligence folks.

Parents must also be involved in their children’s lives and intervene in a supportive and empathetic nature if they believe their child or another child is being bullied. To help prevent bullying, parents should enforce clear and concise behavioral guidelines and reward children for positive, inclusive behavior. Furthermore, parents should seek assistance from the school’s principal, teachers, and counselors if concerns regarding their child’s or another child’s behavior arises.

Sometimes bullying is easy to spot–a child pushing another on the playground or shoving a classmate’s face into the water fountain. Other times bullying is less overt–children spreading rumors, teasing peers or excluding a classmate from games at recess. This veiled type of bullying–known as relational or covert aggression–can be harder for parents and teachers to see and prevent. What’s more, previous research suggests that relational aggression increases and intensifies as children get older and become more emotionally and socially sophisticated.

Studies report that the rates of aggression are rising in middle school girls. “It’s always been the case that we expect rates of aggression and delinquency to increase for boys, while girls were considered somewhat protected,” said Julia Graber, a UF psychologist who did the research. “In this study, it’s clear that the differences between girls and boys are diminishing.”

Unlike boys, girls in the study reported feeling increasing amounts of anger between sixth and seventh grades, she said. Both groups reported a decline in self-control.

The study of 1,229 students at 22 public and parochial schools in New York City found that the proportion of girls committing five or more aggressive acts in a month, such as “hitting someone” or “pushing or shoving someone on purpose” jumped from 64 percent to 81 percent between sixth and seventh grades. For boys, it rose from 69 percent to 78 percent.

“Girls’ entry into adolescence is generally thought of as a vulnerable time for depression, and studies tend to focus on girls’ emotional experiences with sadness and depressed moods,” Graber said. “What’s interesting about this study is that we see an increase in a different negative emotional experience, and that’s anger.”

Bullying among primary school age children has become recognized as an antecedent to more violent behavior in later grades. Statistics on violence in our country tell a grim story with a clear message. Some children learn how to dominate others by foul means rather than by fair, setting a pattern for how they will behave as adults (bullies). Other children are more easily dominated, suffer miserably, often in silence, and develop a victim mentality that they may be unable to over-come as adults (victims). Action is needed to end purposeful harassment, and bullying.

Signs that a child is being bullied

Children who are being bullied may be embarrassed to talk about what is going on. Parents (or other adults) may notice signs that point to bullying. Your child may:

o Have scrapes, bruises or other signs of physical injury.

o Come home from school without some belongings such as clothes, or money.

o Come home from school quite hungry, saying they lost his or her lunch.

o Develop ongoing physical problems, such as headaches or stomachaches.

o Have sleep disturbances and nightmares.

o Pretend to be sick or make other excuses to avoid school or other situations.

o Change their behavior, such as withdrawing, becoming sad, angry or aggressive.

o Cry often.

o Become more fearful when certain people or situations are mentioned.

o See a sudden drop in grades or have more difficulty learning new material.

o Talk about suicide as a way out.

How to help the child who is being bullied

The key to helping your child deal with bullying is to help him or her regain a sense of dignity and recover damaged self-esteem. To help ward off bullies, give your child these tips:

o Hold the anger (temporarily). It’s natural to want to get really angry with a bully, but that’s exactly the response the bully is aiming for. Not only will getting angry or aggressive not solve the problem, it will only make it worse. Bullies want to know they have control over your child’s emotions. Each time they get a reaction from your child, it adds fuel to the bully’s fire – getting angry just makes the bully feel more powerful. Remind your child that anyone that makes you angry has control over you. Help your child work at staying calm through deep breathing and turning their attention to more pleasant thoughts while being picked on.

o Never get physical or bully back. Emphasize that your child should never use physical force (like kicking, hitting, or pushing) to deal with a bully. Not only does that show anger, your child can never be sure what the bully will do in response. Tell your child that it’s best to hang out with others, stay safe, and get help from an adult.

o Act brave, walk away, and ignore the bully. Tell your child to look the bully in the eye and say something like, “I want you to stop right now.” Counsel your child to then walk away and ignore any further taunts. Encourage your child to “walk tall” and hold his or her head up high (using this type of body language sends a message that your child isn’t vulnerable). Bullies thrive on the reaction they get, and by walking away, or ignoring hurtful emails or instant messages, your child will be telling the bully that he or she just doesn’t care. Sooner or later, the bully will probably get bored with trying to bother your child.

o Use humor. If your child is in a situation in which he or she has to deal with a bully and can’t walk away with poise, tell him or her to use humor or give the bully a compliment to throw the bully off guard. However, tell your child not to use humor to make fun of the bully.

o Tell an adult. If your child is being bullied, emphasize that it’s very important to tell an adult. Teachers, principals, parents, and lunchroom personnel at school can all help to stop it. Studies show that schools where principals crack down on this type of behavior have less bullying.

o Talk about it. It may help your child to talk to a guidance counselor, teacher, or friend – anyone who can give your child the support he or she needs. Talking can be a good outlet for the fears and frustrations that can build when your child is being bullied.

o Use the buddy system. Enlisting the help of friends or a group may help both your child and others stand up to bullies. The bully wants to be recognized and feel powerful, after all, so a lot of bullying takes part in the presence of peers. If the bully is picking on another child, tell your child to point out to the bully that his or her behavior is unacceptable and is no way to treat another person. This can work especially well in group situations (i.e., when a member of your child’s circle of friends starts to pick on or shun another member). Tell your child to make a plan to buddy up with a friend or two on the way to school, on the bus, in the hallways, or at recess or lunch – wherever your child thinks he or she might meet the bully. Tell your child to offer to do the same for a friend who’s having trouble with a bully. When one person speaks out against a bully, it gives others license to add their support and take a stand, too. o Develop more friendships by joining social organizations, clubs, or sports programs. Encourage regular play visits with other children at your home. Being in a group with other kids may help to build your child’s self-esteem and give your child a larger group of positive peers to spend time with and turn to.

Of course, you may have to intervene in persistent cases of bullying. That can involve walking to school with your child and talking to your child’s teacher, school counselor, or principal. Safety should be everyone’s concern. If you’ve tried the previous methods and still feel the need to speak to the bullying child’s parents, it’s best to do so within the context of the school, where a school official, such as a counselor, can mediate.

If your child is the bully

Learning that your child is a bully can be shocking. But it’s important to remain calm and avoid becoming defensive, as that can make a bad situation worse. You may have a greater impact if you express disappointment – not anger – to your child.

Because bullying often stems from unhappiness or insecurity, try to find out if something is bothering your child. Children who bully aren’t likely to confess to their behavior, but you’ll need to try to get your child to talk by asking some specific, hard-hitting questions, such as:

o How do you feel about yourself?

o How do you think things are going at school and at home?

o Are you being bullied?

o Do you get along with other kids at school?

o How do you treat other children?

o What do you think about being considered a bully?

o Why do you think you’re bullying?

o What might help you to stop bullying?

To get to the bottom of why your child is hurting others, you may also want to schedule an appointment to talk to your child’s school counselor or another mental health professional (your child’s doctor should be able to refer you to someone).

If you suspect that your child is a bully, it’s important to address the problem to try to mend your child’s mean ways. After all, bullying is violence, and it often leads to more antisocial and violent behavior as the bully grows up. In fact, as many as one out of four elementary school bullies have a criminal record by the time they’re 30.

Helping your child stop bullying

Although not all bullying stems from family problems, it’s a good idea to examine the behavior and personal interactions your child witnesses at home. If your child lives with taunting or name-calling from a sibling or from you or another parent, it could be prompting aggressive or hurtful behavior outside the home. What may seem like innocent teasing at home may actually model bullying behaviors. Children who are on the receiving end of it learn that bullying can translate into control over children they perceive as weak.

Constant teasing – whether it’s at home or at school – can also affect a child’s self-esteem. Children with low self-esteem can grow to feel emotionally insecure. They can also end up blaming others for their own shortcomings. Making others feel bad (bullying) can give them a sense of power.

Of course, there will be moments that warrant constructive criticism: for example, “I counted on you to put out the trash and because you forgot, we’ll all have to put up with that stench in the garage for a week.” But take care not to let your words slip into criticizing the person rather than the behavior: “You’re so lazy. I bet you just pretend to forget your chores, so you don’t have to get your hands dirty.” Focus on how the behavior is unacceptable, rather than the person. Home should be a safe haven, where children aren’t subjected to uncomfortable, harsh criticism from family and loved ones.

In addition to maintaining a positive home atmosphere, there are a number of ways you can encourage your child to give up bullying:

o Emphasize that bullying is a serious problem. Make sure your child understands you will not tolerate bullying and that bullying others will have consequences at home. For example, if your child is cyber bullying, take away the technologies he or she is using to torment others (i.e., computer, cell phone to text message or send pictures). Or instruct your child to use the Internet to research bullying and note strategies to reduce the behavior. Other examples of disciplinary action include restricting your child’s curfew if the bullying and/or teasing occur outside of the home; taking away privileges, but allowing the opportunity to earn them back; and requiring your child to do volunteer work to help those less fortunate.

o Teach your child to treat people who are different with respect and kindness. Teach your child to embrace, not ridicule, differences (i.e., race, religion, appearance, special needs, gender, economic status). Explain that everyone has rights and feelings.

o Find out if your child’s friends are also bullying. If so, seek a group intervention through your child’s principal, school counselor, and/or teachers.

o Set limits. Stop any show of aggression immediately and help your child find nonviolent ways to react.

o Observe your child interacting with others and praise appropriate behavior. Positive reinforcement is more powerful than negative discipline.

o Talk with school staff and ask how they can help your child change his or her bad behavior. Be sure to keep in close contact with the staff.

o Set realistic goals and don’t expect an immediate change. As your child learns to modify his or her behavior, assure your child that you still love him or her – it’s the behavior you don’t like.

Be aware that bullying also takes place between adults, as well as between adults and children. Anywhere there is a power imbalance; there is the risk of bullying. Athletic coaching is a fertile ground for bullying young athletes. As more is learned about bullying and the serious consequences of it, more and more zero tolerance policies will be adopted. Until then, stay aware of subtle cues of bullying in children. The first step is awareness. With greater awareness, bullying can be nipped in the bud.

Dr. John Schinnerer

Educational Psychologist

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Top 10 Tips For Beginners And Veterans – Escape From Tarkov

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Top 10 Tips For Beginners And Veterans - Escape From Tarkov

New at the legendary Escape from Tarkov? Or have you been playing it for quite a while now? In either case, a little help never hurts.

You might be unfamiliar with specific tactics that could enhance your game and make you better. But what are those? To know more about these ways to ace your game, visit Battlelog. Escape from Tarkov hack from their team is the best way to master the game. Plus, we also have these 10 tips and tricks for EFT below that you can check out!

1.  Master Maps One-by-One

Being a trader of all crafts and master of none never benefited anyone. And if you do that with Escape from Tarkov, you’ll never improve your skill. As a beginner, try not to divert your attention to various maps unless you’ve mastered one or two.

When you start playing EFT, begin by trying maps like Customs and Interchange. These maps aren’t too tricky and familiarize you well with the game. Once you’ve mastered them, move on to improving your fighting skills. But remember, learning maps one by one is the best way to become an expert.

2.  Pro-tip: Practice Offline

You’re an EFT pro, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need practicing occasionally. In fact, the more you practice, the better you’ll become. But practicing in the online mode isn’t a wise option. Because you will keep losing health and spend your money unnecessarily.

So to practice, switch to offline mode. It’s the best way to learn how to fight Scavs well, how the maps work, and where extraction points are located. Keep polishing up your skills in the offline mode.

3.  Insurance Works in EFT too

Insurance isn’t just for your car and home anymore. In EFT, you can insure your weapons and belongings. This doesn’t mean that if the enemy loots you, you’ll get compensation for them. But it’s still advantageous because it often lets you have your weapons even after you die.

If you’re an experienced player, insuring your weapons is even better. If the enemy who loots it from you later dies, you can claim your weapons back. This way, you don’t lose those precious guns and rifles after a challenging game.

4.  Be Careful After Killing

You might be tempted to loot an enemy as soon as he dies. Even experienced players often do it. But this isn’t always a wise move.

When you kill someone, there might be some other enemy lurking around. And in your fit to loot the dead, you might not even pay attention to the enemy who’s hiding nearby. So after you kill, wait for a little to see if anyone surfaces or makes a sound. If you feel like the territory is safe, proceed to loot and move on.

5.  Be a SCAV friend when playing as a SCAV

Escape from Tarkov often lets you play as a SCAV. When you do, you don’t have weapons of your own. But you also don’t carry any liabilities. So even if you die in the game, you won’t lose essential weapons.

But here’s something every pro player knows that a beginner should too. As a SCAV, you shouldn’t attack other SCAVs. But why? Isn’t that foolish? Well, not really. In fact, doing that will attract negative attention to you and make the game difficult.

6.  Complete Quests – Lots of Them

Completing quests in a shooting game might sound lame to you. But it is an excellent way to gain experience and some other perks.

In Escape from Tarkov, you can complete various quests to get rewards and gear. Of course, some quests don’t reward you as much, and the items they grant aren’t helpful. But you can always trade them or sell them to stock up on weapons. Use the Flea Market for trading such goods.

7.  Go to Dorms

This tip isn’t really for beginners. But for experienced players, it makes the game thrilling and more rewarding.

Dorms are a dangerous location because they often contain the best loot in EFT. They are also home to the SCAV boss, and many players frequent this place looking for loots. But when you’re feeling up to it, raid a dorm to get the best loot possible.

8.  Switch between passive and aggressive style

This rule works for any combat game, but for EFT, it does wonders. As a player, you should have enough instincts to know when to play passively and go aggressive.

As a rule of thumb, be as passive as possible unless you’re faced with an opponent. Move around sneakily and make as little sound as possible. But once you’re in a fight, don’t shy away from landing a few hard blows of your own.

9.  Have a CMS Kit

In Escape from Tarkov, it will be too difficult to win if your limbs are dead or wounded. You have to reach an extraction point without your feet working properly. But recently, the makers added a surgical kit called the CMS to the game.

With the CMS kit, you can get your limbs healed quickly. It is a significant investment, and whenever you plan to go for combat, keep this one handy.

10.Know Your Sounds

EFT has an excellent sound mechanism. You can hear your enemies, and they can listen to you. In fact, everything from aiming a gun to moving makes a sound. So you have to be highly conscious.

While trying to ambush or kill someone, aim at them from as far as possible. This way, there’s little chance of them hearing you. Similarly, move stealthily to make fewer sounds. And no matter what, pay attention to enemy sounds too.

Conclusion

Whether you’re an expert veteran or a newbie at the game, you will benefit aplenty from these 10 EFT tips. Comment down below which one helped you the most in your game.

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Work Breakdown Structure and Outsourcing

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Every outsourcing project should create and make a WBS available to all its outsourcing staff. What is a WBS and how can it help you manage your outsourcing project? All projects consist of small tasks and quality control procedures. A Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) breaks down all the tasks that must be performed on the project and estimates timing and resources for each task as well as the order the tasks should be done in. It pays to have a clear and effective WBS in all your outsourcing projects.

An effective Work Breakdown Structure starts with high level activities (these may be your milestones) and breaks these activities down into lower and lower levels until you’ve covered every conceivable step in the process. Before you ever begin work on a project, also confirm with your outsource staff that they understand the overview and the individual components of your WBS and give them the opportunity to ask questions. It is never helpful to assume that they have it all under control. It is preferable that if any questions or problems arise they do so before the project has even started.

An example of a WBS is if one of your milestones is submission of the first draft of chapter one of a book someone is ghostwriting for you. You would then break that down into its smaller steps, like research, outlining, and writing. These steps would then, in turn, be broken down into even smaller steps, like types of research, verification of facts, and so on.

For each low-level task, estimate time needed for completion, start and end dates, human resources required, and in what order each task should be completed. Obviously, facts can’t be verified until the research is done but you get the gist.

If you have the knowledge and background to begin a WBS during the planning stages for your project, please do so. Regardless of whether or not you’ve already started the WBS, work with your provider to nail down the details and finalize the breakdown.

A well thought out Work Breakdown Structure is of immense help to any project, small or large. It enables your freelance staff to work with confidence and it enables you to know that your outsourcers can carry out the work competently. A good Work breakdown Structure will also minimize hiccups, saving time, money and energy.

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Potential Cost Savings Associated With Legal Outsourcing

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“How much can I save?” “What is the cost of legal work done offshore?” “Please give me a quote for 100 hours per month for legal work done in India.” “What is your hourly rate?” “How much do you charge for ______?” These are the questions and requests directed my way at the beginning of conversation when someone contacts me about sending certain legal tasks offshore for completion.

Regularly I advise potential clients that the first question to be asked, either of a lawyer or someone potentially assisting in the outsourcing of a legal project, is not “how much?” Instead, at the outset, determination should be made whether those who would work on the project have the skills, training and experience to complete the assignment(s) in a quality fashion. This necessarily involves a clear delineation of the proposed undertaking and the expectations of the outsourcer. Further, what are the assurances of confidentiality? Can the time deadline for completion be met? What about conflicts of interest? These questions should be asked of every U.S. lawyer whose services might be retained. Likewise, they should be asked of every person or entity involved in outsourcing legal assignments. It should be noted that offshore lawyers are not licensed in the U.S. and do not provide “legal services” or advice. Foreign attorneys, working offshore, complete assignments under the supervision and review of qualified U.S. attorneys in generally the same manner as paralegals, summer law clerks or junior associates in the U.S. Indeed, the Code of Professional Conduct requires such supervision.

Cost savings achievable from outsourcing, however, seems to be the burning issue of the day. Large law firms, in particular, are looking for ways of cutting costs to maintain profitability or to even survive in challenging economic times. Dan DiPietro, client head of Law Firm Group of the Citi Private Bank, offered Storm Warnings (American Lawyer, Dec 2007) in observing “for the first time since 2001, expense growth actually outpaced that of revenue from January through June, depressing profit margins.” Sounding an ominous note, DiPietro observed that the biggest expense increases were in associate salaries and in occupancy and technology costs. His warning proved prophetic, as a number of old-line law firms closed their doors in 2008 including Heller Ehrman, Thelen LLP, and Thacher, Proffitt & Wood. Other large law firms are reducing staff and lawyers, including de-equitizing partners. Corporate clients are cutting the number of outside firms they engage, while pushing them to become more efficient. It is becoming increasingly apparent that difficult decisions are on the horizon for many law firms and their clients. Law firms want to retain their rainmakers, secure the best legal talent available and keep their profits per partner high. Clients want their overall costs for outside counsel reduced. How will these issues be addressed, particularly in a difficult economic climate? Outsourcing is one way of potentially confronting the challenges. Thus, the question, how much can I save?

Assuming the proper initial inquires have been made and adequately addressed, what are the cost savings reasonably attainable by an outsourcing U.S. law firm and its clients? Answering that question necessarily involves a comparative analysis of revenue and expenses. Suppose a large U.S. law firm wishes to consider outsourcing work that might otherwise be performed by one U.S. associate working exclusively for one of the law firm’s corporate clients. The junior associate bills 2000 hours annually at the lawyer’s hourly billable rate of $200.00, for a total annual cost to the corporate client (and income to the law firm) of $400,000. The law firm’s expenses chargeable against the income produced by its associate include the lawyer’s base salary ($160,000) and bonus (say $20,000) plus the associate’s share of overhead expenses for occupancy, support staff, benefits, marketing, recruitment, technology and other expenses. In its 2006 survey, Altman Weil, the well-regarded legal consulting firm, estimated average annual law firm expense per lawyer at $161,893. (Doubtless those expenses have increased since 2006, but, for the purposes of conservatism, we will use Altman’s 2006 number in our example.) Altman’s breakdown included promotion ($7,136), reference ($4,655), equipment ($9,299), occupancy ($25,879), staff ($55,147), paralegal ($17,911) and “other”($41,866). In the Altman survey, “other” includes malpractice insurance premiums and settlements, payments to former partners, recruiting costs, and other expenses not shown separately. Adding the associate’s share of expenses ($161,893) to the associate’s total earnings ($180,000) it is apparent that it costs the law firm a total of $341,893 to produce $400,000 in associate income. Let’s call it a $60,000 law firm profit attributable to the associate’s efforts. Put in other terms, it costs the law firm $171 per billable hour of the associate’s time to produce $60,000 of profit.

Now, assume the same 2000 hours were produced offshore at a cost of, say, $75 per hour instead of $171 per hour. (Higher end outsourced work such as legal research or writing might cost in the range of $75.00 per hour, while other kinds of work such as document review would likely be less. For purposes of our analysis, we estimate the overall offshore costs toward the higher end.) The actual cost to the law firm for 2000 offshore hours at $75 per hour would be $150,000 instead of $341,892. Further, the law firm’s client could be billed, say $240,000, for this work instead of $400,000. (Recent bar association ethics advisory opinions allow for a reasonable supervisory fee by the law firm, providing the client is advised of the off shoring and the Code of Professional Conduct, particularly Rule 1.5, is followed). The client would happily achieve a savings of 40%, while the law firm’s profit would also likely increase. Moreover, the law firm would require fewer associates at the ever-escalating salary structure (now starting at $160,000 base) for lawyers from top tier law schools. Because of overall lower costs and a fewer number of new associate hires, the firm would be able to more effectively compete for a reduced number of premier U.S. attorneys it decides to hire. Over time, partner equity and distributions would be shared with a fewer number of individuals. Thus, an outsourcing program for selected legal assignments, carefully implemented and supervised, can potentially result in greater client satisfaction and retention as well as enhanced law firm profitability.

In 2007 Mayer Brown, a 1500 lawyer Chicago based law firm, purged 45 equity partners. While denying any sort of crisis, James Holzhauer, chairman of the firm, commented on the move: “It’s necessary to manage a law firm like you manage any kind of big business and make sure you have the right staffing going forward.” Outsourcing, seen by some law firms as the enemy of law firm profits, may in fact be the opposite. Without doubt, even if some law firms are reluctant to change the traditional ways, their clients are not. In August of 2007 Bloomberg.com observed that “clients are pushing firms like Jones Day and Kirkland & Ellis to send basic legal tasks to India.” It is significant that this “push” came well before the global financial collapse of the last quarter of 2008. Regarding law firms, Holzhauer cautioned in March of 2007: “This (law business) is to a certain extent a fragile business. Our greatest asset is our people. If you’re not economically strong so that you can retain your best people and attract other strong people from elsewhere, a fragile business can have problems.”

Corporate clients are on a mission to reduce legal costs. Some of those clients would prefer to supervise the outsourced work in house, while others apparently are content with their chosen outside U.S. counsel overseeing the offshore work. Irrespective, legal outsourcing is on the table for consideration of cost control. “How much can I save?” is a question being asked by those who, a few short years ago, never imagined entertaining the concept of legal assignments being completed offshore.

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ICT Outsourcing Definitions and Types

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ICT outsourcing can be said as one of the current trends for companies around the world to do their business processes. It is estimated that ICT outsourcing starts in the early 1990s where Kodak uses external partner to handle its ICT resources. As Kodak does not have the expertise in ICT, they hire another company to help them handle the ICT resources. This phenomenon occurs because companies would like to concentrate their core business functions among other benefits. After merely 20 years, outsourcing is now needed by a lot of companies mostly at customer support and also back-office processes and this affects Malaysia as well. Currently, Malaysia is known as a main outsourcing hub for the world, where it is currently ranked third globally behind China and India in the outsourcing industry. This shows how significant outsourcing is to developing countries in Asia.

Outsourcing Definition

Outsourcing is defined as a concept of contracting out part of the organization’s business process to a third party that has the specific skills and services. The third party must have the skills needed by the organization so that the outcome of the outsourced job is as expected. Outsourcing can also be explained as the movement of one or many business functions of a company including its assets to an outside service provider who gives a defined service for an agreed duration of time and payment on a written agreement.

From these two definitions, we can see that outsourcing can be defined with the following characteristics:

1. A company transferring one or many business process to a third party.

2. A third party has the skills and services required for the business process.

3. Has an agreement or contract between the two parties on the price and expected outcome.

Types of Outsourcing

Outsourcing can be separated into two types, namely total outsourcing and selective outsourcing.

The first one is total outsourcing, where the IT budget being used to pay the external vendors is approximately 80% or more than the total. For outsourcing activities that only took less than 80% from the total IT budget, it will be called as selective outsourcing. It is named as ‘selective’ because the company will select only one or several IT functions to be outsourced to a third party.

Aside from these two main outsourcing types, there are also other types of outsourcing that are usually the sub-division from these two main types like insourcing and transitional outsourcing.

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Medical Transcription Outsourcing – The Great Advantages

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If you haven’t started outsourcing your medical transcription work, it may be time you start considering this option. This process includes taken information that is dictated and putting it into a text format so the information can be put into records for patients. You’ll actually find that there are many advantages to going with medical transcription outsourcing. Here is a look at a few of these advantages that your medical facility will appreciate.

One of the main advantages to going with medical transcription outsourcing is the time that you will save. There are many types of reports that must be done in clinics and hospitals, such as consultation notes, discharge summaries, physical reports, lab reports, and more. Having to take care of these files on your own can take a lot of time. Instead of doing this in-house, you can simply send files to a transcription company and once they are transcribed they can be sent back via the web. Outsourcing gives medical facilities the ability to focus more on core activities that are important, such as patient care.

High end security is yet another of the benefits of going with medical transcription. When you send these files to the company, they are sent securely on the web. Then they are transcribed into a format like HTML, ASCII forma, MS Word, or other formats. Then the files are going to be returned through a process that is password protected so only those who are authorized are able to access these files.

When you choose a company to take care of this for you, you can be assured that the transcriptionists working on your projects are highly skilled in the profession and they have a good understanding of the rules for producing these records. Transcriptionists that understand the terminology helps to ensure that your reports are done error free.

Of course, the cost is definitely a big advantage that you’ll enjoy when you go with medical transcription outsourcing. There are many companies that provide you with low cost outsourcing, which can save your medical facility a lot of money. Instead of trying to take care of transcription within your facility, hiring the work out can save money and ensure you get your records completed as quickly as possible.

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How to Succeed With Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)?

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As outsourcing becomes an indispensable part of corporate business strategy, especially during economic downturns, BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) has emerged as an important driver of IT Enabled Services. In very recent years, it has progressed from being considered for limited peripheral activities to encompassing very critical business activities that contribute to strategic advantage.

Though traditionally cost reduction has been the key driver for all outsourcing activities, other drivers such as speed of development, flexibility, expert skills and political maneuvering are equally important, if not more.

To succeed with Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), you must first research and determine if outsourcing should be pursued at all – an initial understanding of the expected size and nature of the deal is a must at this stage. This phase is known as the Assess phase as the involved parties try and establish senior stakeholder expectations at this stage. At the end of this phase, stakeholders should have clarity on the expected benefits, costs and risks of the potential engagement.

Next comes the Prepare phase which encompasses the vendor selection process. More often than not, organisations roll out RFPs (Request for Proposal) documents to find the right outsourcing partner. Fundamental elements of all other phases are defined and agreed upon in this Phase.

Evaluate phase is the third stage of the outsourcing lifecycle and it focuses on structured and thorough evaluation of the proposals received from vendors. At the end of this phase, you should be able to negotiate with selected vendors.

This phase paves the way for the Commit phase which is essentially the pre-contract stage. The Commit phase is by far the most resource intensive and commercially crucial phase as the deal design is finalized and the transition plan is developed in this phase.

Next comes phase 5 which is the Transition and Transform phase. In this phase, a robust transition plan is implemented. In addition, a reporting mechanism is also brought in place at this stage of the outsourcing lifecycle.

The Optimise phase, which comes next, focuses on managing the vendor relationship efficiently, tracking the vendor fees against the original proposal and monitoring contractual obligations. In principal, this phase is an ongoing one until the contract is renewed, renegotiated or exited.

When implemented properly, outsourcing contracts are likely to bestow immense benefits on organisations. No wonder that BPO is seen as a disruptive force that has huge impact on the cost-structure of nearly any industry and that is why it is not easy for organisations to ignore it. The hype around BPO may subside soon, but the business advantages that come with it are here to say as it enables many enterprises to succeed.

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Payroll Outsourcing

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Payroll outsourcing is a very common and growing practice these days. Payroll is an important business function that deals with the process of paying employees for services rendered. Payroll outsourcing can be defined as the accomplishment of a payroll task by some external agency. There are many reasons why companies outsource payroll, but the most prominent benefit lies in the fact that it often saves money. Basic payroll outsourcing services include calculating paycheck and tax obligations for each employee, printing and delivering checks, and providing management reports.

Every business owner knows that handling payroll can be a headache. Preparing payroll internally can cost valuable hours of employee time every pay period, and require expensive accounting software and training. Besides, the person handling payroll of an organization internally needs to keep up to date with changes in personnel, deadlines, and tax requirements on an ongoing basis. Payroll outsourcing is an affordable way to take away these burdens, because it is a time-saving and cost-effective alternative to internal payroll processing.

Payroll actually commences with the worker signing up with a company. A typical payroll report contains items such as gross hourly wages and gross salaries, bonus payments including stock given as a bonus, overtime pay, severance pay, per diem and travel allowance, and contributions to deferred compensation by employees.

Today, payroll outsourcing is a vital part of an organization’s payroll and benefits functions. This will improve employee satisfaction and enable the organization to focus its assets on mission-critical areas. The market for payroll outsourcing services is competitive and there are a number of key points, such as speed, accuracy and ease of use, to consider when opting to use a payroll company.

Though payroll outsourcing may prove highly valuable for many organizations, it also has many drawbacks. It is essential that every company precisely assess its requirements to determine if outsourcing is a feasible alternative.

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Why Hire an SEO Content Outsourcing Firm?

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Every small and big company has a website today. A website has all the information about the products and services a specific company has to offer. Websites make the selection process easy for the customers. But what if the customers are not able to access or find the website? This can ruin the company’s business, bringing in losses. Exposure can really help a company sail through.

There are some major elements which can be added to a website to make it more popular, user-friendly and search engine friendly. These elements include the right animation, pictures, colors and content. Content is one of the most important elements of a website. SEO based content can bring in amazing results. A good SEO content outsourcing firm can help you earn more money. Along with this, it can:

· Help in search engine optimization of your website

The search engine optimization process depends on the website’s content to a great extent. An SEO content outsourcing firm can make your website’s content rich and interesting. Along with this, its experts put a lot of relevant content in the website to make it search engine friendly. SEO content writing also includes producing keyword rich content which helps in the link building campaigns. The usage of latest keywords related to your products and services can help search engines read your website’s content more often. This will make the search engines display your company’s website in the first few search results when a user types in a related keyword.

· Help in link building campaigns

The SEO content writing firms offer an array of services today. These services include SEO content writing as well as article writing. The latter basically helps a website get more exposure. The articles written by the experts of these companies are submitted on various article submission websites. This helps in the process of your website’s link building. Article writing services can help your website receive more traffic which can ultimately help you get more customers.

· Help people to know your company better

A good SEO content outsourcing firm can help people understand your company better. The website content and company related articles can be used to express your mission and vision. You can even use these platforms to share the background of your company. All these things may help the customers connect with your company.

SEO content writing and article writing services can help you earn people’s trust. They can bring in huge traffic, high conversion rate and many other benefits. You can use these services to set up your company’s rapport and to make it even more popular internationally. So, hire an established SEO content outsourcing company and gear up to earn the profits!

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Things to Consider When Outsourcing Support Functions of Your Organization

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Outsourcing is defined as hiring a third party provider to take care of certain non-core areas of business like technical support and customer care support. By outsourcing support functions of a company, one can save on a lot of skilled manpower that can be used to develop core areas like business development while at the same time cutting costs by outsourcing without compromising on the standards of excellence of the company. Technical support and customer care support are the two main areas where large companies or even relatively new startups outsource.

Usually, technical or IT support is outsourced to other countries to cut costs. This can prove beneficial to the company in the perspective of a long term contract. But at the same time, this requires a lot of careful planning and research. Some of the main points to be bare in mind while outsourcing these tasks are outlined briefly below.

In the extremely competitive business environment of today’s world, outsourcing supportt especially customer support is a crucial factor in determining the position of a company among its peers. While outsourcing customer support services to a service provider, one should always research the credentials and client history of the company. This gives a fair idea of the company’s standing and what you can expect from it. Also, one needs to determine whether the company holds regular accent training classes to make its employees familiar with the language they are required to speak in.

Outsourcing support of the technical kind is a very lucrative option for companies since many countries offer highly skilled technical expertise which can be utilized to further the company’s prospects in a global environment. But you should always do a thorough background search on the level of competence in technical areas of a business and the best way to do it is to visit the place personally and get a first hand account of the way things are done. Also, one can ask the service providers to complete a few projects on a trial basis and a fair judgement of the service can be done to analyze their potential.

Before outsourcing support of any business process the first factor to be considered is whether it is a viable option for the company. Sometimes, certain companies spend more on outsourcing than on the core areas of the business like business development. A detailed analysis of the company should be done and after considering the various risk factors and the benefits, a final decision should be taken in the light of the company’s future plans.

Another point to be taken into account is the commitment of the service provider in executing the projects in time. There is a difference in the time between any two countries which could lead to a lot of confusion in the setting of the deadlines. The company should have a strict policy in case of assignments submitted late or projects not done satisfactorily. If all factors are kept in mind, then the company can have a very lucrative future due to outsourcing support.

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TPF Outsourcing – What Does It Mean And Why Are More Businesses Doing It

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When was the last time that your made a major purchase or even a small purchase for that matter? Do you remember what took up most of the businesses actual man hour time when you made the purchase? If you stop to think about for a moment, it was when you were completing the transaction or paying for what you were purchasing that occupied the most amount of time of the person or business that you were dealing with.

TPF – Transaction Processing Facility

TPF stands for “transaction processing facility” and this, in simple terms means anywhere in a business where the actual money and paper work is changing hands. This, in most businesses that you visit on a daily basis would be the main focal point of their operation many times. It is the “front office” or the “check out counter”.

It All Makes perfect Sense

TPF outsourcing is the means by which a business hands the responsibilities of this mundane task to a source that is outside of the main business operation. If you stop to think about it, it makes perfect sense, because once a customer or client has made the decision to patronize an establishment, the job of the business should then shift to finding more customers or clients and also servicing the customers or clients that are active.

TPF Outsourcing for the Travel Industry

The travel industry is one area where TPF outsourcing has began to take hold in a big way for a number of reasons. One of the big reasons this is so, is because unlike other business where the customer or client leaves after they have made a purchase. In the travel industry the client has to be dealt with after the purchase is made. In simple terms TPF outsourcing in the travel industry frees up the businesses to fly the planes instead of manning the ticket counters.

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