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US not worried about Iran at World Cup despite social media furor

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AL RAYYAN, Qatar — US defender Walker Zimmerman said he and his teammates have no problem with the pressure that comes with a must-win game.

The US men’s national team will face Iran at the Al Thumama Stadium on Tuesday, with a spot in the knockout rounds on the line. Iran is one point ahead of the Americans in the standings thanks to Team Melli’s 2-0 win over Wales, making the game a must-win for the Americans, while a draw will likely be enough for Iran to advance.

“Our goal is obviously to win the World Cup, and in order do that, we have to get to the knockout stages,” Zimmerman said. “For us, our knockout game comes one game earlier. You look around at a lot of different teams and groups and they’re all going into their third game, most of them with having to get a result. Whether that’s a tie or win, there’s going to be pressure, there’s going to be an intensity. For us, that’s a win. And we have no problem with that, starting our knockout a little bit earlier.”

 

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For all the focus on the US attack going into this World Cup, they have been rock-solid defensively through two games so far, conceding just Gareth Bale‘s penalty in the opener against Wales. But Zimmerman’s fellow center-back, Tim Ream, remains wary of Iran’s attack.

“Obviously there are a couple of very good players up front [including Mehdi] Taremi with his finishing, so he’s one to be aware of,” he said. “But this game is going to be about us and about what we need to do and what we have to do to advance and to win. Being aware of their compact shape and their counter attacking is going to be key.”

On the flip side, the US have struggled to score goals, with Tim Weah’s tally against Wales the only time they have broken through. The chances have been there, with several notable ones against England, but overall the team has lacked precision in the final third. Set pieces, long a strength for this American side, could play a factor as well.

“There have been a lot of moments in transition where we can be a little bit sharper,” Zimmerman said. “We can pick out that final pass, and hopefully create more. But set pieces is a huge strength for this team. And so, having to go back and look at the plays, watch all of them, see what we can do differently, see what areas we can hit … we want to make sure everyone is doing their job.

“It’s going to come down to the little things on set pieces and so we definitely need to work on those, and make sure that that can be a real strength of ours, because I think we have the personnel to score goals off of set pieces.”

USSF backs down following uproar over Iran flag

After posting images on social media with altered images of the Iran flag, which had removed the emblem of the Islamic Republic, the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) removed the posts and replaced them with the actual flag after considerable blowback on Sunday.

The Islamic Republic emblem, designed in 1980, is four curves with a sword between them. It represents the Islamic saying “There is no god but God” and honors the date on the Persian calendar when the Islamic Revolution took hold.

The USSF initially posted the images with the center image on the Iran flag removed, though an image on the team’s website still included an unaltered image. A USSF spokesperson said the intention in removing the emblem was to show support for protesters in Iran pushing for more equal treatment of women following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who had been detained by the country’s morality police. The ensuing protests have seen at least 450 people killed since they started as well as over 18,000 arrested, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, an advocacy group following the demonstrations.

Iran’s government reacted by accusing America of removing the name of God from their national flag. According to the official Iran news agency, Iran threatened to file a protest with the FIFA ethics committee, while a report from The Associated Press also stated that Iran was threatening legal action.

A USSF spokesperson said that the decision to alter the Iran flag was made by the federation, in conjunction with experts on Iran. The spokesperson added that neither US manager Gregg Berhalter nor the players had any prior knowledge of the decision, which was confirmed by both Ream and Zimmerman during Sunday’s availability.

Iran’s players have attempted to walk a fine line between supporting the protesters while also not running afoul of the Iranian authorities. Iran’s players didn’t sing the national anthem ahead of their opening game against England, though they did sing the anthem before the second match against Wales. Fans in support of the Iran government also harassed protesters at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium on Friday in the lead-up to the Wales game.

The USSF spokesperson said that the decision to take down the posts was an internal decision and was not due to outside pressure. The spokesman added that the USSF still supports the protesters in Iran, and the maneuver will likely add more fuel to a match already fraught with political overtones. Zimmerman emphasized that the team is focused on Tuesday but remains in support of women’s rights.

“I think it’s such a focused group on the task at hand, but at the same time we empathize, and we are firm believers in women’s rights and support them,” said Zimmerman.

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The media’s road to ruin its own credibility in war on Trump – New York Post

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The media’s road to ruin its own credibility in war on Trump  New York Post

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I'm a parent with an active social media brand: Here's what you need to check on your child's social media right now – CNN

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I’m a parent with an active social media brand: Here’s what you need to check on your child’s social media right now  CNN

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Why social media makes you feel bad

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Have you ever found yourself scrolling through social media and noticed you felt a bit down? Maybe a little envious? Why aren’t you on a yacht? Running a startup? Looking amazing 24/7?

The good news is you are not alone. Although social media has some benefits, it can also make us feel a little depressed.

Why does social media make us feel bad?

As humans we inherently compare ourselves to others to determine our self-worth. Psychologists call this social comparison theory.

We primarily make two types of comparisons: upward and downward comparisons.

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Upward comparisons occur when we compare ourselves to someone else (in real life or on social media) and feel they are better than us (an unfavourable comparison for us) in whatever domain we are assessing (such as status, beauty, abilities, success, and so on).

For example, comparing your day at work to your friend’s post from the ski fields (we’re looking at you Dave!) is likely to be an upward comparison. Another example is making appearance comparisons which can make you feel worse about yourself or your looks .

Although upward comparison can sometimes motivate you to do better, this depends on the change being achievable and on your esteem. Research suggests upward comparisons may be particularly damaging if you have low self-esteem.

In contrast, downward comparisons occur when we view ourselves more favourably than the other person – for example, by comparing yourself to someone less fortunate. Downward comparisons make us feel better about ourselves but are rare in social media because people don’t tend to post about the mundane realities of life.

 

Comparisons in social media

Social media showcases the best of people’s lives. It presents a carefully curated version of reality and presents it as fact. Sometimes, as with influencers, this is intentional but often it is unconscious bias. We are just naturally more likely to post when we are happy, on holiday or to share successes – and even then we choose the best version to share.

When we compare ourselves to what we see on social media, we typically make upward comparisons which make us feel worse. We compare ourselves on an average day to others on their best day. In fact, it’s not even their best day. It’s often a perfectly curated, photoshopped, produced, filter-applied moment. It’s not a fair comparison.

That’s not to say social media is all bad. It can help people feel supportedconnected, and get information. So don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Instead, keep your social media use in check with these tips.

 

Concrete ways you can make yourself feel better about social media

Monitor your reactions. If social media is enjoyable, you may not need to change anything – but if it’s making you exhausted, depressed or anxious, or you are losing time to mindless scrolling, it’s time for change.

Avoid comparisons. Remind yourself that comparing your reality with a selected moment on social media is an unrealistic benchmark. This is especially the case with high-profile accounts who are paid to create perfect content.

Be selective. If you must compare, search for downward comparisons (with those who are worse off) or more equal comparisons to help you feel better. This might include unfollowing celebrities, focusing on real posts by friends, or using reality focused platforms like BeReal.

Redefine success. Influencers and celebrities make luxury seem like the norm. Most people don’t live in pristine homes and sip barista-made coffee in white sheets looking perfect. Consider what real success means to you and measure yourself against that instead.

Practise gratitude. Remind yourself of things that are great in your life, and celebrate your accomplishments (big and small!). Create a “happy me” folder of your favourite life moments, pics with friends, and great pictures of yourself, and look at this if you find yourself falling into the comparison trap.

Unplug. If needed, take a break, or cut down. Avoid mindless scrolling by moving tempting apps to the last page of your phone or use in-built focus features on your device. Alternatively, use an app to temporarily block yourself from social media.

Engage in real life. Sometimes social media makes people notice what is missing in their own lives, which can encourage growth. Get out with friends, start a new hobby, embrace life away from the screen.

Get amongst nature. Nature has health and mood benefits that combat screen time.

Be the change. Avoid only sharing the picture-perfect version of your life and share (in a safe setting) your real life. You’d be surprised how this will resonate with others. This will help you and them feel better.

Seek help. If you are feeling depressed or anxious over a period of time, get support. Talk to your friends, family or a GP about how you are feeling. Alternatively contact one of the support lines like LifelineKids Helpline, or 13Yarn.

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